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What employers need to know about bullying and the new Legislation Employer’s responsibility


New anti-bullying legislationThe Fair Work Amendment Act 2014

 From the 1 st January 2014 employees who believe they are the victim of “repeated unreasonable behaviour ” by a co-worker can, on payment of $65.50 application fee, ask the Fair Work Commission to make an order for the bullying to stop.

Even if you have anti-bullying policies in place it is advisable that regular training be undertaken to re-enforce anti-bullying practices. The Abbot government has endorsed the bullying laws so long as a worker had first tried to seek help from an “independent regulator” before going to the Fair Work Commission.

What is bullying?

The New Section of the Fair Work Act s789FD defines bullying (see section 789D of the Fair Work Amendment Act 2014.

In summary a worker is bullied at work?


 In short bullying is often characterised by a course of conduct that which includes behaviour that would put someone at risk.

Managers should consider a mediator who has the following training and experience:

To whom does the legislation apply?

 The laws will apply in certain kinds of businesses or organisations nationally. These include:

Can Managers mediate complaints?

Most managers are not trained in this field, nor are nationally accredited mediators.

Most managers have not undertaken formal conflict management training, or specialised training in listening skills, counseling or coaching.

Managers are not neutral. They have a duty of care to prevent potential hazards from occurring. As such, their job might be to impose solutions or instruct the parties. As such the impartiality and power structure of the parties is not neutral.

Managers represent the organisation and have an obligation to represent the needs of their employer.

Managers have an obligation to seek to establish facts where there have been allegations of bullying or harassment. Mediators do not seek to establish facts.

However Managers can do the following:

Managers can bring the parties together and facilitate early discussions between them in order to address the concerns raised.

Managers need to address any bad behaviour that they witness, or are told about.

M anagers need to be aware what conflict as opposed to bullying is.

The Mediator

A trained mediator will assist and guide employers to assess the risks in their particular industrial climate and assist in resolving issues in their work place.

Menzies Mediation staff is trained in the theory and practice in the identification, prevention and management of workplace bullying or disputes. The staffs is also trained in applying techniques that suit the workplace.

Menzies Mediation also conducts workplace investigations to assist businesses to re-align their dispute resolution practices to comply with the legislative requirements of dispute resolution.

Michelle is a Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) registered with the Attorney General Department, is Nationally accredited under the National Mediator Accreditation System, and is a Member of Resolution Institute (National Body for Mediators in Australia and New Zealand)

Michelle is skilled in all mediation forms, and specialises in work place disputes, workplace bullying and family mediation.


Alternative Dispute Resolution & Mediation Specialists | Cairns | Ph 0400 840 676 | ABN: 69 203 830 108

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2017 Menzies Mediation