10 April 2014 FWC restrains worker in first substantial bullying order

By Warwick Ryan, Partner and Ellen Davis Paralegal

With the introduction of the new bullying legislation this year the Fair Work Commission was given the power to make "Stop Bullying Orders". The orders are designed to protect employees who have experienced and continue to experience bullying in the workplace.

Until recently there has been little information on what type of orders the Fair Work Commission (FWC) could and would make against the individual employee or group of employees subject to the order. However, recently the FWC handed down its first decision in which it has made orders designed to stop further bullying of the Applicant. The employee subject to the order has been directed to:

  • have no contact with the co-worker alone;
  • make no comment about the co-worker's clothes or appearance;
  • refrain from sending any emails or texts to the co-worker except in emergency circumstances;
  • "complete any exercise" at the employer's premises before 8am; and
  • raise no work-related issues without first notifying the employer's chief operating officer or his subordinate.

These directions effectively take the form of restraining orders. Managing such orders within the daily flux of an office will be challenging; particularly when managers want to take leave and will not be there to police it.

This highlights the need for prevention through proper training of staff in this area to avoid the potential involvement of the FWC in your workplace.

At Swaab, we have developed a range of workplace training approaches tailored to the needs and resources of our clients:

 Workplace Training - Avoiding bullying, harassment & misconduct

For further information, please contact:

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This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

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