Bullying: Applicant v Respondent [2014] PR555329

Application to stop workplace bullying

A recent case in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) highlights how broad anti bullying legislation is, after a male employee was the subject of a number of orders, including refraining from exercising in front of a female employee whilst at work.

A female employee lodged an application for an order for her male colleague to stop bullying her. The FWC did not publish the names of the employees, the workplace or the history of the matter as the parties remain working together. However, the orders which were made by consent allude to the likely background of the matter.

The male employee was ordered:

  1. Not to exercise on the balcony in front of, or in the vicinity of, the female employee’s desk;
  2. Not to speak to the female employee in circumstances where there are no other individuals within listening range;
  3. Not to make comment about the female employee’s attire or appearance;
  4. Not to send any emails to the female employee unless the correspondence was work related and another co-worker was copied into the email;
  5. Not to send any text messages or call the female employee unless those messages are in relation to an immediate work related emergency;
  6. Not to raise any issues relating to the female’s work capabilities or job performance without notifying a co-worker beforehand.

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) permits the FWC to make any order it considers appropriate to prevent a worker from being bullied at work. This case demonstrates just how far reaching the FWC’s powers are to make appropriate orders. It also highlights how tailored orders can be to the specific circumstances of the bullying. 

 * PCC Lawyers are a team of employment practitioners based in Sydney, with many years of combined knowledge and experience in workplace law, industrial relations, workplace investigations and training.  They provide a high standard of excellence and an exceptional level of personal service to a variety of clients in the Sydney metropolitan area, Central Coast, regional NSW and interstate.

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