Workplace bullying – Bullying doesn’t just happen in the schoolyard

So, how to deal with bullies at work? Bullying in the workplace is a serious problem and one the Federal Government has taken steps to address with legislation. 

The long term effect that bullying can have on mental health is well known.  There are more and more workers compensation claims related to workplace bullying.   As the experts at Snedden Hall & Gallop explain, “there are a number of avenues of redress available if a worker has been bullied at work.

The Federal Government introduced anti-bullying laws with effect from 1 January 2014.  These laws give the Fair Work Commission specific powers to make orders to “stop bullying” in the workplace. These may include (according to the Commission):

  • requiring the individual or group of individuals to stop the specified behaviour
  • regular monitoring of behaviours by an employer or principal
  • compliance with an employer’s or principal’s bullying policy
  • the provision of information, additional support and training to workers
  • review of the employer’s or principal’s bullying policy.

The team at Snedden Hall & Gallop, a Canberra-based firm, explain that the laws apply to “a  broad category of ‘workers’, including employees, contractors, sub-contractors, trainees, work experience students and volunteers” and set out a process for affected workers to apply to the Fair Work Commission.  

How do deal with bullies at work? Thankfully, there are options as recent changes have set out a clear legal pathway for workplace bullying.
How to deal with bullies at work? Thankfully, there are options as recent changes have set out a clear legal pathway to address workplace bullying.

While the laws are still new, Snedden Hall & Gallop say that the laws “acknowledge and indeed reinforce, is the damaging impact of workplace bullying and the need to shine light on what is often a covert and systemic practice”.

If you have been bullied at work, or you are a manager and want to ensure that your workplace is safeguarded against possible claims of bullying, you may need legal advice.  Employment law experts, such as the team at Snedden Hall & Gallop, can advise you on the best course of action for your individual circumstances.  

Information on how to deal with bullies at work is also available from the Fair Work Commission on their website, where the formal application process is set out in detail.

Snedden Hall & Gallop is the oldest independent law firm in Canberra and have provided a wide range of legal services in the ACT for over 55 years.

This article has been derived from useful material published on the Snedden Hall & Gallop and Fair Work Commission’s website. The information therein is not intended to be legal advice and  is cited for informational purposes only. Seek your own legal advice.