Businesses employing casual staff do so for a number of reasons, but as is the case with most features of workplace relations there are...
Bullying & HarassmentDecember 11, 2014
An application to stop bullying this week has gone in favour of the managing director of an electrical company. As a result of the whole incident, the allegedly bullied senior manager, has been on related sick leave since February this year and his psychiatrist gave evidence that returning to work would further exacerbate his “current symptoms of distress”. Even though the employee was in such distress The Fair Work Commission found that “reasonable performance management” had been carried out by the managing director and he was not in fact bullying the employee.
No employee names have been released and the company name remains confidential.
The employee, who sold his business the company and joined management in 2009, claimed that the managing director was demanding, controlling and critical. The managing director demanded that the employee be available for conference calls without notice and outside of work hours, changed reporting lines so that other managers reported to the director instead of him and the managing director failed to discuss results of client meetings which made him look unprepared in later meetings.
There were also a number of other incidences such as the managing director forcing the employee to fire another employee “because he was fat and a smoker”. An incidence of particular significance in the case, was the managing director humiliating the employee in the lobby of a hotel in front of colleagues, whilst “at work” after he suggested that females should be recognised with in a particular awards selection criteria. The managing director denigrated women and made several remarks which he later denied. However after the altercation the director texted the employee and requested a meeting the next morning to discuss the problem, the employee failed to attend.
Due to the long degrading relationship between the employer and employee The Fair Work Commission found that the employee’s “lack of engagement” to resolve the problems with the director resulted in “genuine concerns with his presentations to clients”, the commissioner discussed the employees behaviour to be “increasing isolation from the managing director and the business more generally”.
Bullying is common and employers need to manage employees in such a way so that there is constant communication steams to reconcile relationships within the workplace. Employee expectations whilst at work need to be clear. If there are problems with behaviour or approach to work it needs to be discussed and documented in writing.
Official warnings and disciplinary procedures are examples of how employers can differentiate between bullying and performance management. If you are having troubles with employees or relationships within your workplace call Employsure on 1300 651 415 we can support business owners who are dealing with the prevalence of bullying or having trouble identifying its predominance.
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*Information sourced via Workplace Express