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Employees may bypass employer’s bullying procedures

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HC Online | 27 Feb 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
According workplace law experts, the government’s proposed introduction of new complaint processes for workplace bullying could potentially lead to employees taking their complaints above employers’ heads.
  • serious? | 27 Feb 2013, 09:33 AM Agree 0
    This "reform" is yet another shambles by labor....All it does is feed the billable hours of lawyers and solves nothing where it counts....on the ground with the employees....Hopeless
  • Agreed | 27 Feb 2013, 02:51 PM Agree 0
    Legislation and liability for the employer, no consequences for the individuals breaking the law. If the business is not crippled by lawyer fees, wait until workers comp and the commissions are done. IR is supposed to be supporting industry growth in Australia but who wants or can afford to be in business here?
  • Govt Bullies | 27 Feb 2013, 04:06 PM Agree 0
    I hope it doesn't get as rampant as the first two comments suggest but it does seem that the Govt are heading down a track that will waste a lot of time and money that could be better spent on productive work!
  • Bernie Althofer | 27 Feb 2013, 04:44 PM Agree 0
    Over the past few years, it seems that some people seek advice from sources external to their organisation. It some cases, the organisational workplace bullying clearly states that this is an option available for those who have been bullied.

    It then becomes a decision that the individual has to make about the avenues they wish to pursue in seeking resolution.

    Employers and employees currently have a range of legislative options available for them where they can pursue allegations and incidents.

    In some cases, individuals feel 'safe' in taking action themselves, whilst in other cases, because of the diverse range of issues that may be involved, some individuals do need to seek legal advice.

    It seems that in some cases individuals have sought advice from external sources because they have perceived that the organisational systems or processes have not worked in the past for others, the alleged bully has not been penalised, or the workplace hazard or risk factors have not been addressed.

    If individuals do not see organisational systems and processes working, there is always the possibility they will go elsewhere, even if it means going above their employer.

    It will be interesting to see what is actually in the legislation and see how it might be implemented in organisations so that it can benefit all parties involved including officers and workers.
  • The Rock | 27 Feb 2013, 09:38 PM Agree 0
    Personal responsibilty is a concept that is now becoming socially unacceptable.
    The definition of work is changing to mean 'the act of maintaining a job' and involves less creation of outputs of value.
    My parents were Western European immigrants in the late 50's, and although I would not like to see a return to what was acceptable standard in treating non-anglo workers at that time, I can't help but wonder if they would be less successful, self-reliant, resilient or compassionate had they not had the experience.
    Their behaviour in the face of such adversity was the model for myself and my siblings, and we reinforce the behaviour by exposing our children to the travails of their forebears, both in story and practice.
    Legislation does not create ethical behaviour.
  • Kim | 27 Feb 2013, 09:49 PM Agree 0
    I think the problem is often a percpetion by many that a bullying accusation = substantiated bullying behaviour, and so when natural justice is subsequently applied and the accusation is actually found to be a simple case of an emplouee knee-jerking from a valid performance management process, the employee and his/her rent-a-fan club assume the Employer has "done nothing about it".

    I've also found it is sometimes a situation where a former manager has never done anything about substandard behaviour, and when the new manager comes on board, s/he begins the process of properly managing his/her staff. Of course, because nothing was done previously, the deadwood has been allowed to gradually accumulate while the disempowered champions leave, even to the point where the deadwood represents the majority of the team. Hence, when the majority of the team say "we can't all be bad - so this new manager must be a bully" it becomes pretty hard for said manager to defend themselves.

    The smartest thing for the manager to do would be to recognise they're up against the odds and find some employer to work for before his/her reputation is tarnished, but stubborn idiots like me have a work ethic of sticking it out to the end because they believe they can make a difference, and how painful it can be defending oneslef in these circumstances...
  • Harriet Stacey | 28 Feb 2013, 12:12 AM Agree 0
    I think the aim of any legislation in this area is to encourage and benefit those organisations that take proactive steps to prevent and manage bullying in their workplaces effectively. There are many companies that spend $'s on employee benefit schemes, but staff are not necessarily skilled enough to manage bullying complaints. I am hoping that the stick to be used by government will motivate companies to up skill, prevent and overall ensure that work is a safe and pleasant place - for ALL.
  • Bernie Althofer | 01 Mar 2013, 02:32 PM Agree 0
    In my mind, the introduction of legislation to be used as a big stick to get organisations and individuals to do what is morally and ethically right regarding the fair and equitable treatment of people shows some of the problems that exist in society.

    It seems that the basic principles of respect and dignity, understanding rights and responsibilities, of natural justice and procedural fairness (and the list could go on)now has to be wrapped into legislation to force compliance.

    As Harriet has indicated, there are some managers (and even workers) who don't know how to manage a bullying complaint. As a result, some people don't seek internal advice but engage legal practitioners or even consultants to take on their case.
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