WORKPLACE BULLIES 'NOT TAKEN SERIOUSLY'

WORKPLACE BULLIES 'NOT TAKEN SERIOUSLY'

BULLYING in the workplace continues to be a big issue, although one Brisbane employment law firm says many business owners aren't taking it seriously.

NB Lawyers principal and director Jonathan Mamaril (pictured) is concerned that people are viewing anti-bullying legislation as a list of guidelines rather than regulations with direct and often dire consequences.

"Some business owners have long held the view that anti-bullying legislation has no real teeth and investment in legal advice is not cost effective," says Mamaril.

"Although there is still no compensatory element legislated directly for bullying in the workplace, a breach can still lead to orders for the development of internal policies, procedures and training as well as the added cost of litigation in the [Fair Work] Commission."

The issue has been inflamed following a recent case where two real estate agency workers were found to have been mistreated by a colleague, making claims of abuse to the commission that were upheld.

"The alleged behaviour included belittling conduct, swearing and yelling, daily interfering and undermining the applicants' work, physical intimidation and threats of violence as well as attempts to incite the applicants to victimise other staff members," says Mamaril.

"The commission found the real estate company to be in breach of the 2014 anti-bullying amendments to the FW Act and ordered that it reform its workplace."

Mamaril says the judgment should serve as a caution to other employers and that businesses should do everything in their power to ensure a safe environment for their workers.

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