An employment relations lawyer has warned agencies of the need to tackle workplace bullying in light of recent legislative action.
NB Lawyers principal Jonathan Mamaril said a ruling by the Fair Work Commission highlighted the need for employers to ensure they have effective policies and procedures when there have been allegations of workplace bullying.
“It is important to follow these policies and procedures to make it clear that bullying is not tolerated in the workplace and to protect your employee’s workplace health and safety,” he said.
Mr Mamaril noted that adequate training and a suitable anti-bullying and grievance procedure policy can limit the effects of bullying within the workplace, while creating a positive working environment.
Independent Property Group human resource manager Ross Woolcock said all new hires are advised that their new workplace has a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying and harassment.
“They are provided with a copy of the company’s policies and are asked to sign off that they have read, discussed, understand and will abide by the company's policies and procedures,” he said.
“This helps to ensure that should there be any future issues, we have signed confirmation that each employee has undertaken this training and understands the company’s policy on this important issue.”
Mr Woolcock said the Canberra agency handles all complaints within a 24-hour timeframe.
The process includes formal one-on-one interviews and bringing both parties together if applicable.
Mr Woolcock said outcomes can include apologies, letters of warning, counselling and even dismissal if the bullying is an ongoing issue.
“Our staff are encouraged when they commence work to report any issues to the company via their section head or our human resource officers,” he added.
“The company also conducts an annual staff survey where all staff are invited to anonymously, or in person, advise of any concerns they may have.”