SafeWork SA flags $600k bully fines

by 19 Feb 2010

SafeWork SA executive director Michele Patterson has warned the state's businesses that bullying could result in fines of as much as $600,000.

“Employers have a legal duty to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, employees are safe from injury and risk to health while at work – which includes psychological harm from bullying," said Patterson last week.

Employees should be reminded of their duties to avoid adversely affecting a colleague’s health and safety, while employers in the state are required to investigate, document and take action when notified of bullying incidents, said Patterson.

"Failing to do so could result in a breach of the act, leaving the employer liable to penalties prescribed by section 19 of the act," she said.

SafeWork said the maximum fine for a first offence is $300,000 and $600,000 for subsequent offences.

The regulator's message followed the $355,000 fines issued to a Victorian Cafe with regards to the bullying of Brodie Panlock, which preceded her 2006 suicide.