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Taser incident shines spotlight on workplace bullying

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HC Online | 12 Aug 2010, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Harmers Workplace Lawyers warns even isolated bullying incidents can take a heavy toll, threatening viability of businesses and employee wellbeing
  • Bernie Althofer | 12 Aug 2010, 04:35 PM Agree 0
    Whilst some actions such as those highlighted in this story might be perceived by the perpetrators as nothing more than a practical joke, in reality practices such as this highlight a much bigger problem, not just workplace bullying. There is an expectation in the public and private sector that resources be used for the purposes for which they were intended. The use of Tasers as part of an initiation process does not appear to fall within the range of activities for which they have been approved. Some might argue that the use of the Taser involves an assault and others with argue that a breach of workplace health and safety. It may also be the case in situations like that, that management and supervisory practices need to be improved. Of course, the culture of the organisation should be such that initiations involving any form of violence should be immediately acted upon by management e.g. Cafe Vamp, or a previous case where an apprentice was wrapped in plastic and rolled in glue and sawdust. If employers in the public and private sector have not yet read the model Work Health and Safety Act, they should be taking steps to acquaint themselves with the finer detail. It may not be too long before employees find alternative legislative approaches to dealing with workplace bullying e.g. sexual harassment and The Trade Practices Act. In much the same way, as allegations of workplace bullying are reported, public and private sector organisations may also find that investigations are being conducted in relation to official misconduct or misconduct. The key message for employers is to take action to prevent, detect and resolve any form of workplace conflict that could lead to more serious allegations. Even following the practical steps outlined by Harmers Workplace Lawyers is beneficial.
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