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Anti Bullying Training Sydney NSW – Why does your organisations need Anti Bullying Training?

  1. The make sure that you employees understand what workplace bullying is and what it is not
  2. To support the health and well being of your employees by taking steps to eliminate bullying from your workplace
  3. To support your policies, polices alone cannot stop bullying
  4. To make sure that you employees know the consequences if they engage in bullying in the workplace
  5. To show your employees that you are serious about protecting their health and well being and taking steps to eliminate bullying from your workplace
  6. You could be ordered to by the FWC, see below

Recently the The Fair Work Commission by virtue of the scope of its powers under the anti-bullying laws ordered that an employer arrange for the conduct of anti-bullying and positive communication training by an external provider within two months.
Link to case – https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/html/2017fwc4988.htm

In addition workplace bullying caused a great deal of stress not only to victims but others in the workplace.  If left unchecked it can create a toxic working environment and lead to the loss of good staff and the potential for legal action.

Smart employers ensure that their policies are backed up with regular training for all employees.  It is also important to conduct update and refresher training for staff new and old

Anti Bullying Training Sydney NSW – Training options;

Face to face. AWPTI can provide expert workplace investigators and trainer to conduct anti bullying training tailored to your business needs and we are able to work within your budget.
Details of our courses – http://awpti.com.au/employee-training/

Advantages. The training is real, the scenarios and cases studies are real, you get to hear about real cases from actual investigators

 

For more articles about Anti Bullying training and anti bullying orders
http://awpti.com.au/anti-bullying-laws-disciplinary-process/
http://awpti.com.au/recently-at-the-fwc-anti-bullying-matter/

http://awpti.com.au/anti-bullying/

For more articles about workplace bullying:
http://awpti.com.au/workplace-bullying-myth-busting/
http://awpti.com.au/workplace-bullying-2/

 

Anti Bullying Order – worker or volunteer

Anti Bullying Order – worker or volunteer – The question as to whether a person is an employee or volunteer and whether they can apply for an Anti Bullying order was exampled in the case of McDonald [2016] FWC 300 (FWC, Commissioner Hampton, 15 January 2016)

This case was considered under section 789FC of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act), that allows for an application to be made under the Act for an order to stop bullying. The applicant was a volunteer at the Cooktown School of Art Society Inc, and claimed that bullying behaviour had been directed at her over a period of five years, culminating in her exclusion from the society. The society raised jurisdictional issues in response, contending that it was not a constitutionally covered business under the Act, and that the applicant was not a worker under the Act.

The society operates a gallery which displays and sells original art works from local artists in the Cooktown area. It also assists individual artists to improve their artistic skills through learning, sharing, exhibiting and selling their art. The society is a small, community-based nonprofit association made up of individual members who join the society, and is run by a small committee. The applicant is a local artist, and helped out at the society until 15 August 2015. Her membership was cancelled on 4 September 2015.

Generally, volunteers are not considered to be workers under the Act where an incorporated association is working for community purposes and the association (and any volunteers) do not employ at least one person as an employee to work for the association. The society has no employees at its gallery. All helpers are volunteers. However, volunteers who exhibit artwork benefit from a decreased commission payable to the society.

Commissioner Hampton found that the applicant was not to be a worker. She was a volunteer within section 4 of the WHS Act

…in general terms, a volunteer is someone who enters into any service of their own free will, or who offers to perform a service or undertaking for no financial gain. The commitments shared between the parties are usually considered moral in nature, rather than legal. Payments or benefits unrelated to hours of work or the actual performance of work will not normally by themselves imply that a person is an employee. In these circumstances, any payment or benefit can more aptly be described as an ‘honorarium’ or gift…The reduced commission payments as apparently operated for Mrs McDonald would not turn what is otherwise accepted to be a volunteer relationship into that of an employment contract.

Commissioner Hampton also found that the society was not a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)

“In order for Mrs McDonald to be a volunteer who is eligible to bring a s.789FC application, Mrs McDonald must be a volunteer for a PCBU, and not a volunteer in a voluntary association. In the circumstances of this matter, this requires consideration of the statutory parameters set out earlier in this decision and in particular, whether CSAS is a group of volunteers working together for one or more community purposes where none of the volunteers, whether alone or jointly with any other volunteers, employs any person to carry out work for the volunteer association. I am satisfied that the CSAS fundamentally involves a group of volunteers working together for a community purpose. That is, the operation of the gallery and the encouragement, education and promotion of the local artists, by the local artists, for the benefit of the local community as undertaken by the CSAS, means that the Society is established for one or more community purposes. This satisfies the requirements of the PCBU exclusion in s.5(8) of the WHS Act.”

In dismissing the application Commissioner Hampton found that the reduced commission arrangements were not considered to be payments made to workers. There were no workers involved in the society. Therefore, everyone involved was a volunteer. The society was not a PCBU, so the applicant could not be a worker under the Act. The FWC had no jurisdiction to decide the matter or issue an anti bullying order

Full details of the case – http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FWC/2016/300.html

AWPTI – workplace investigation Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide
Misconduct investigations, bullying investigations, harassment investigations & sexual harassment investigations, complaint investigations, grievance investigations, discrimination investigations

www.awpti.com.au
http://awpti.com.au/investigations/

Anti bullying policy training

An anti bullying policy should be considered to “best practice” in any organisation.  The policy should outline,

  • What is unacceptable behaviour
  • What behaviours may constitute bullying.
  • What is not bullying
  • What are the responsibilities of employees at all levels in relation to acceptable behaviour and bullying?
  • The process of reported and investigating complaints of bullying
  • Possible resolutions to bullying complaints

It is becoming increasingly common for employees to assert they are being bullied when reasonable management action has taken place, such as feedback and performance counselling.

In relation to workplace behaviour, it is widely accepted that employees should treat one another with courtesy and respect. However, in many cases this is not a message that is reinforced. The workplace anti-bullying policy, along with other relevant policies, provided the opportunity to highlight the concept of respect.

Modern Australian workplaces are made up of diverse groups of people, this means that employees may have different views about what is acceptable behaviour and how to conduct themselves at work.

It is important that employers create a clear and consistent message regarding behavioural expectations by;

Clearly defining:

  • Workplace bullying
  • Unacceptable conduct
  • Procedures for reporting bullying or unacceptable conduct
  • The investigation process
  • Outcomes of substantiated complaints of bullying in the workplace
  • Confidentially and victimisation

http://awpti.com.au/hr-support/

Training

As important as having a policy, training should be conducted to reinforce the policy and allow employees to ask questions and understand that workplace bullying poses a serious threat to health and safety and that organisations have a duty of care to take all reasonable steps to prevent and/or respond to bullying.

If your organisation need help draft an anti-bullying policy or creating a facilitating training AWPTI can assist. http://awpti.com.au/training/

AWPTI – workplace investigations in Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide
Workplace investigations misconduct, bullying, harassment & sexual harassment investigations

www.awpti.com.au
http://awpti.com.au/investigations/

The author Phil O’Brien is a highly experienced and skilled workplace investigator and trainer who can take the stress out of conducting workplace investigations and provide you and your employees with up to date a relevant training in the areas of misconduct, investigations, procedural fairness, reasonable management action, performance management, bullying & harassment and other issues facing employers and workplaces.

Contact me at phil@awpti.com.au or 0409 078 322 or via http://awpti.com.au/

This is general information only. It does not replace advice from a qualified workplace investigator in your state or territory.  It is recommended that should you encounter complaints in the workplace that you seek advice from a suitability qualified and experienced workplace investigator.

anti bullying

 

 

Anti Bullying Application rejected – Reasonable Management Action.

A case of Reasonable Management Action. On 19 August 2016, the Fair Work Commission handed down a decision dismissing an order to stop bullying. This was only the seventh of its type relating the FWC’s bullying jurisdiction.

In Xiaoli Cao v Metro Assist Inc; Rita Wilkinson, the Applicant,  employed y a charity, sought orders from the FWC against her manager to stop bullying under s 789FC of the Fair Work Act 2009.

The alleged bullying conduct included overloading her, increasing her workload, requesting she perform “unreasonable” tasks, making accusations about her work ethic and demeaning her in front of her work colleagues and other allegations.

Notwithstanding steps taken following two mediation sessions, the Applicant filed a general protections claim on 12 January 2016 and made a bullying complaint to SafeWork NSW.

In exercising its jurisdiction, the FWC considered the Applicant’s evidence that her manager’s actions were not reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.

The employer gave evidence that the actions taken did not constitute bullying and that, where possible, it had actioned the Applicant’s requests to address her concerns and also established measures to rebuild the work relationship between the two parties.

The Commission found that the evidence did not support allegations of unreasonable behaviour by the manager and that the employer had executed reasonable management action and also carried out fair and transparent investigations into her allegations.

This decision demonstrates how reasonable management action done in a reasonable manner will not be considered as workplace bullying.

If you are your managers are unsure about what is and what is not reasonable management action and workplace bullying, I strongly recommend you consider the AWPTI Management Essentials training program, details can be found at http://awpti.com.au/management-training/

AWPTI – workplace investigations in Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide
Workplace investigations misconduct, bullying, harassment & sexual harassment investigations

www.awpti.com.au
http://awpti.com.au/investigations/

The full text of the decision can be found here- https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/html/2016fwc5592.htm

Reasonable Management Action

Workplace Bullying case

A Gippsland man has been jailed for six months over what has been described as an extended and systematic campaign of workplace bullying that made his victims’ lives “a living hell”.

Mr Sean Clare, from Moe, pleaded guilty to the charge of stalking in relation to the bullying of two colleagues at the Woolworths store in Moe between August 2010 and August 2013.

The 46-year-old verbally abused his then-night shift manager Ms Erica Jegers and another employee, Mr Steven Ricketts.

The Latrobe Magistrates’ Court heard Clare often undermined Ms Jegers, refusing to perform simple tasks and spread rumours she was having an affair.

He was openly hostile and aggressive towards Ms Jegers, making derogatory comments about her while she was in earshot.

On the night of May 1, 2013, Mr Clare called Ms Jegers while she was at work, telling her “if you were a bloke you would have had your head smashed in by now because nobody likes you”.

Mr Clare was sentenced to serve an immediate term of six months’ imprisonment, with a minimum of two months.

In addition a 36-year-old man was also prosecuted under Brodie’s Law and fined $1,000 without conviction.

AWPTI – workplace investigations Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide
Workplace investigations misconduct, bullying, harassment & sexual harassment investigations

www.awpti.com.au
http://awpti.com.au/investigations/

 Recently at the FWC – Anti Bullying matter

Anti Bullying order.

Purcell v Ms Mary Farah and Mercy Education Ltd t/a St Aloysius College

Read decision [2016] FWC 2308.

This application for an anti bullying order was made by a teacher who was also the OH&S representative at the school.

The applicant alleged that she had been bullied at work by the Principal of the College. The Principal was appointed in 2013 with a mandate from the Board of Mercy Education to effect change and arrest declining enrolment; however some staff were resistant to the change and preferred the status quo.

The applicant gave evidence that she became increasingly concerned about Mercy Education’s bullying policy and in May 2013 raised the issue of bullying and the need to update the policy.

The College’s Business Manager agreed to review the bullying policy by the end of the year however this did not eventuate; the applicant raised the issue again in April 2014. The Deputy Principal was listed in the bullying policy as the complaints officer however there was no Deputy Principal at the College, as the previous Deputy Principal had resigned in 2013 after the Principal had been appointed.

The bullying policy was finally revised and re-issued in 2015 after the applicant filed complaints in December 2014. The applicant identified a number of incidents occurring from late 2013, and continuing after her return from long service leave in mid-2015, which she maintained was repeated unreasonable behaviour by the Principal.

The Commission concluded that four of the incidents which the applicant complained about, taken together, amounted to repeated unreasonable behaviour. The Commission found that the conduct was likely to have caused the applicant distress and that the behaviour created a risk to the health and safety of the applicant. The Commission found that the applicant was bullied at work.

Lessons for employers:

  1. Ensure your policies are up to date and compliant, if you don’t have the time or expertise, get help – see www.awpti.com.au/hr-support/
  2. Investigate complaints about bullying in a timely and professional manner, if you are not sure what to do, call an expert – www.awpti.com.au/investigations/

The Commission considered what orders (if any) should be made, finding the relationship between the applicant and the Principal was an mutually tense the Commission held that interpersonal relationship disputes are best resolved through the efforts of the parties, and perhaps assisted by some form of .facilitation, dispute resolution intervention or mediation.

The Commission held that some form of reconciliation was much more likely to produce a lasting, positive improvement in the working relationship between the parties than any order could.

The Commission proposed that the parties engage with each other in a series of mediated or facilitated meetings with the aim of repairing their relationship, and engaging in a dialogue that would accommodate an ongoing professional working relationship, and a safe working environment. If the parties were unwilling to engage with each other, then the Commission advised that either party could request the expeditious hearing and determination of the question of whether orders should be made.

Lessons for employers and employees

  1. In some cases a dispute resolution invention might better option to deal with complaints than an investigation especially in matters of a she said, he said nature with little of no other evidence. Each matter must be assessed on it merits.
  2. Investigations tend to have winners and losers, a dispute resolution intervention has the potential to create a win win situation.
  3. A a dispute resolution intervention can also be a more cost and time effective solution.

If you have received a complaint and are not sure what to do, go to the Australian Workplace Training & Investigation home page www.awpti.com.au and request our Compliant Analysis Chart. The chart will assist you in deciding the best course of action to take when you have received a complaint.

AWPTI can also assist you with dispute resolution interventions – www.awpti.com.au/disputes/

AWPTI – workplace investigations Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide
Workplace investigations misconduct, bullying, harassment & sexual harassment investigations

www.awpti.com.au
http://awpti.com.au/investigations/

You can contact AWPTI – enquiries@awpti.com.au

This is general information only. It does not replace advice from a qualified workplace investigator in your state or territory. It is recommended that should you encounter complaints in the workplace that you seek advice from suitability qualified and experienced workplace investigators.