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The daunting task of finding the office bully

The daunting task of finding the office bully (Last Updated On: June 17, 2015)

Bullying means trouble for your business, although finding and proving that bullying is actually occurring is even harder. In addition, there is often a grey area when deciphering issues between people and when justifying that performance management of an employee is reasonable.

Many businesses have found bullying abruptly confronting since The Fair Work Commission (The Commission), on January 1st 2014, allowed employees to apply for an order to stop bullying. It allows any employee employed by a constitutionally covered business, who is experiencing bullying, to acknowledge the reasonable occurrence of bullying and put a stop to it.

Since this order came into play, very few people have been successful in their application. This is due to the grey area between performance management and/or a particular managing style VS what the Fair Work Commission defines as bullying – a behaviour which is repeated and unreasonable and creates risk to the health and safety of a staff member.

It is interesting to note, a pattern of incidences which have occurred over the past year and a half, with employers who performance manage employees and find themselves involved in a case with The Commission.

Is this occurring because the employer has failed to appropriately performance manage and follow the required procedures?

The Salvation Army contested an application where an employee was “unreasonably performance managed and micro managed”. A Commsec employee filed a complaint to The Commission, due to the actions taken in their performance management which was suggested it amounted to bullying. Another company changed the performance rating of a staff member who was being performance managed, which ultimately impacted the amount of the staff members bonus and resulted in an application to The Commission.

Another employee, in response to a company restructure, filed a claim to stop a fellow colleague from bullying her. That particular colleague was, according to the employee undermining her approach to work. The relationship breakdown was a result of a change in lines of reporting since the restructure.

All these examples demonstrate that many employers struggle with the grey area between performance management and bullying. If you are an employer and you are unsure of the processes involved with implementing a performance management policy, contact Employsure today on 1300 651 415.

Employsure provides employers with the advice and direction to follow so that bullying applications and cases with the Fair Work Commission can be avoided.

Sourced: HC Online

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