Fair Work Amendment Act 2013
– providing the Fair Work Commission
(FWC) the power to stop bullying at work – many feared the FWC would be bombarded with submissions that had little to no basis in truth, costing time and money for the FWC and employers wrongfully accused.
The first round of statistics regarding the amount of submissions has been revealed, and it doesn’t look like that has happened yet.
In January, 44 applications were received. Six were withdrawn, with 100% of matters commenced within the 14-day period, with many commenced the day they were lodged.
However, this number will not necessarily be indicative of future statistics, given the time of year and the newness of the laws.
"January and February traditionally see a smaller number of lodgements with the Commission, particularly in relation to other individual-based rights disputes such as unfair dismissals and general protections," FWC president Justice Iain Ross said. "The time of year and the fact that this is a new jurisdiction means that the number of applications received to date is not necessarily indicative of the lodgement trends we will see in future."
Ross added that the FWC expect “some fluctuation” in the amount of applications received.
Why there has been no flood
Carlo Caponecchia, senior lecturer at the school of aviation at UNSW wrote for The Conversation
last month in regards to the new laws, and foresaw the scenario that is now unfolding. Caponecchia highlighted a number of reasons as to why there would not be a stampede of applications:
What do you think of the findings? Is it still too early to tell?
- State government employees are not covered
The whole workforce is not covered by these new provisions, as they do not apply to defence personnel and other state government employees, reducing the pool from which applications can come.
- Damages are not awarded
The FWC cannot award damages for bullying claims. Due to this, motivations to make claims (especially unfounded ones) are greatly reduced.
- The very goal of the laws
Without question, the laws exist to stop bullying from continuing in a workplace. As such, those who make complaints must be currently employed and want the bullying to stop. This has a heavy impact on the dynamics of the laws and making a submission.
In the lead up to the rollout of the