This type of situation is often revealed during a formal performance management process, said Sally Woodward, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright – and if not handled correctly, it can quickly escalate.
“An increasing problem for employers is when employees, during the performance management process, allege that they have been bullied by their manager, take personal leave, and potentially make a workers compensation claim,” Woodward said.
“By not conducting a performance management process properly, [you run] the risk of being unable to defend any unfair dismissal, adverse action or discrimination claims.”
Before this scenario develops, it’s important that your employees are clear on their performance parameters – including specific workplace goals, expectations and consequences – so that any issues of bullying can be handled separately to issues of performance.
This way, legitimate complaints can be responded to appropriately, “whilst ensuring that the employer is able to continue to manage the employee's performance”, Woodward said.
“Of course, this can be difficult to manage, and, as we all know, one man's ‘bullying’ is another man's ‘robust performance management’,” she added.
“Ultimately, the managers who conduct the performance management process must be given the appropriate support and training in relation to these matters.”
During her presentation at the upcoming Employment Law for HR Manager masterclass events, held in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in November, Woodward will discuss this and other common problems encountered during the performance management process.
Woodward will draw on recent case studies and offer tips as to how performance should be managed, to reduce the risk of a successful bullying claim. Click here
for more information or to register.
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