Commencing on 1 January 2014, the Fair Work Amendment Act 2013 introduced a new sphere of protection to workers experiencing bullying in the workplace.
Research has shown that nearly 25 per cent of Australia’s population will be subject to bullying at some point in their career.
Workplace bullying can also cost Australian businesses billions of dollars in revenue every year, due to unproductivity and high levels of absenteeism. It is important that all business owners are aware of the changes brought on by the Fair Work Amendment Act 2013.
This amended Act will allow workers to directly lodge complaints to the Fair Work Commission about any bullying they have experienced in the workplace. This is an important change because it means that employers no longer need to be notified if a worker is experiencing bullying.
The amended Act also broadens the definition of ‘worker,’ and extends the scope of these changes to other employees such as volunteers, contractors and work experience students. Business owners should begin to take action now and ensure that they are prepared for the changes this Act will bring.
Owners should particularly focus on:
- reviewing all policies in regards to workplace bullying and ensuring they are up to date
- reviewing internal policies which deal with complaints in an efficient manner
- ensuring all staff have been trained on issues concerning workplace bullying