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ACT - What New Anti Bullying Laws Mean to You

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Fair Work Commission has released early details on how its new anti-bullying powers will work.

The draft anti-bullying model needs victims to prove unreasonable and repeated behaviour in the workplace.

The behaviour also needs to risk the health and safety of an employee, including actions which could lead to depression, anxiety and sleeping problems.

The document lists several examples of what has been experienced in other jurisdictions, including aggressive behaviour, initiations and belittling comments.

Other examples of bullying expected to be encountered by the Commission are practical jokes, spreading rumours and placing excessive work loads on an employee.

But the guidelines also state reasonable disciplinary action by management is not considered bullying.

Anti-bullying panel head Peter Hampton says case management will be about improving conditions in the workplace, rather than rewarding compensation payments.

"That will mean that if the workers are no longer in the workplace, or the workplace has changed significantly so there's no risk of future bullying, then orders can't be made now," he said.

"Those factors will probably reduce the number of applications we would otherwise get."

But Mr Hampton says the guidelines were created with past claims in mind.

"The Commission has dealt with alleged bullying matters as part of its other jurisdictions for many years, so we're quite aware of the circumstances," he said.

"We're aware that these applications will be made in the context of ongoing employment and contract relationships, and the process that we propose to adopt will be sympathetic to that fact."

Workers will be able to start lodging claims from January 1, but Australian Defence Force personnel have been excluded.

Courtesy:  ABC News


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