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Westpac employee wins compensation over workplace bullying

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HC Online | 12 Jun 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
A Westpac employee has won compensation from the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) over workplace bullying.
  • Bernie Althofer | 13 Jun 2013, 09:19 AM Agree 0
    Workplaces are becoming more interesting and more 'at risk' as people take liberties in the way they communicate with others. It seems that whilst respect and dignity should form the basis of how we deal with others, negative workplace behaviours including adverse, personalised and highly offensive comments are being used to target some co-workers.

    Getting people to understand above and below the line behaviours is useful in creating discussions that help people come to terms with what is and what is not acceptable.

    As cases are starting to indicate, people do take offense at comments that are being made, and workplaces are being put at risk.

    At the moment, the draft Code of Practice on workplace bullying has been released for comment. Workplaces would be well advised to conduct audits to identify hazard or risk factors that contribute to below the line behaviours. These audits might well indicate that management practices and communication are contributors to the rise of workplace bullying.

    Systems and processes must allow all incidents and allegations to be investigated fairly, without bias, and promptly. Where cases are not appropriately managed, there can be fallout in the terms of reputational damage not only to those directly or indirectly involved, but also to the organisation.

    It pays organisations to set workplace standards regarding all forms of workplace behaviour (and clearly indicate what is acceptable and what is not), continue to monitor those standard, reinforce executive commitment by leading by example, and conduct periodic reviews or assessments to determine levels of understanding (particularly as workplace staffing changes), and when required, take action equitably and fairly i.e. be consistent and apply the policy or procedures consistently irrespective of who is involved - no favourites, no 'mates rates'.

    People do have to understand the action - reaction - consequence model. When people don't understand this basic model, the consequences can be devastating.
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