workplace bullying webinar

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Post on 02-Jul-2015




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Michael Cosgrove from Workplace Laws discusses: - Steps to prevent workplace bullying - The process of dealing with workplace bullying after it occurs - Legal frameworks, resources available for businesses and options for employees to have their workplace bullying issues dealt with effectively Cover your workplace with LawPath's Workplace Policies Bundle:


  • 1. S Workplace Bullying A Time for Action Presented by Michael Cosgrove

2. Bullying Behaviors Typically Workplace Bullying can take many forms. From the simple action of what you perceive as harmless innuendo and sarcasm, to the very obvious physical isolation, teasing and name calling. The difficulty faced by every business owner, manager, supervisor or team leader, is being able to ride the fine line between Managing an Bullying an employee. 3. Todays Webinar Todays webinar is designed to deliver, and reinforce, some basic fundamental actions that employers and employees can take to address bullying in the workplace. Split into the following three sessions: 1. Risk Management Strategys 2. Incident Control 3. Legal Frameworks 4. What is Workplace Bullying? Put simply, Workplace Bullying is: The repeated, less favorable treatment of a person by another or others in the workplace, which may be considered unreasonable and inappropriate workplace practice. 5. Cost to the organization The impact of workplace bullying is truly un-measurable. Failing to take action, primarily preventative action, against bullying can cause high absentee rates, low morale, low productivity, increased work-cover issues, discrimination claims, and possible criminal action to name but a few. 6. Risk Management Strategies Taking proactive steps in the workplace can significantly minimize the potential for bullying to occur. Employers must realize that every employee is different. Not just male/female, but culturally, morally and ethically. So what are some simple strategies? 7. Use a collective approach. Empower employees to assist others when bullying is evident, and ensure that they know that their assistance will not disadvantage them in any way. 8. Hold regular employee meetings (toolbox talks) and ensure that bullying is on the agenda all the time. Openly discuss any issues and reinforce to all employees that bullying of any kind will not be tolerated in the workplace. 9. Ensure all employees are aware of their rights, as well as their obligations, and where necessary work individually with employees to identify unacceptable practices and behaviors and how to handle different situations. 10. Develop a robust Workplace Bullying Policy. A policy must include a basic procedure for dealing with bullying incidents including points of contact for employees and managers, details of the EAP (if applicable) as well as the procedure for reporting a bullying incident. Conduct regular training sessions for both managers and employees. 11. Four step process There is a 4 step process to preventing workplace bullying: 1. Identify the Risk (of workplace bullying to the business) 2. Assess the Risk (of workplace bullying to the business) 3. Control the Risk (consult with employees and implement strategies to mitigate risk) 4. Monitor and Review (this is an ongoing step to ensure strategies are working effectively) 12. Identify the Risks 1. Observe if inappropriate behaviors are in the workplace. 2. Observe if any changes occur in employee behaviors and identify if there is any HRM intervention required. 3. Observe changes in the workplace environment. 13. Assess the Risks 1. What is the probability of workplace bullying occurring? 2. What is the businesses current process for addressing complaints? 3. What considerations have been given to the financial, moral and legal costs of bullying? 4. Do additional steps need to be taken to prevent and/or resolve workplace bullying in the business? 14. Control the Risks This is the critical step. This step itself requires a 3 stage approach. Firstly there must be consultation and commitment by all parties. Control measures must be developed, and anti- bullying strategies must then be implemented. It is imperative that this stage has full involvement with the employees as well as management (Collective action) 15. Consultation and Commitment Small to Medium businesses are time poor, and in most cases do not have readily available access to adequate HR support or advice. A simple employee survey or anonymous suggestion box can be effective in opening up communication lines. Remember no 2 bullying incidents will be 100% identical in how they occur, they can however be 100% identical in how they impact the business and its employees. 16. Develop Control Measures 1. Develop a robust Workplace Bullying Policy 2. Include a detailed complaints procedure 3. Charter of employee rights 4. Code of Conduct 5. Periodic monitoring and evaluation of the work environment to ensure policy compliance. 17. Implement anti-bullying strategies 1. Collective approach 2. Consistent and constant education 3. Contact officer 18. Monitor and Review 1. Regularly collect and evaluate information in regards to the performance of the strategies, as well as any other employee feedback. 2. Evaluate the suitability and effectiveness of the strategies and adjust accordingly. 3. Observe any changes in the work environment and consult when necessary. 19. Incident Control Before commencing with any investigation it is imperative that you be aware of the underpinning principles and an ethical investigation. These are: S Natural Justice/Procedural Fairness. S Standard of Proof S Confidentiality S Support the person making the complaint and any witnesses, but maintain complete impartiality. 20. Investigation tips and hints Investigating workplace bullying, or indeed any workplace relations issue, takes experience. It is advisable to engage a competent external Investigator should you not feel fully confident. However, should you chose to investigate the complaint yourself here is a basic investigative process, along with some tips and hints to assist you. 21. S Interview the complainant first, in a comfortable and relaxed area. Avoid high traffic areas such as lunchrooms or open offices. It is my suggestion you chose a location off site, or a remote location such as an office or boardroom away from the main work area. S It is likely that the complainant has opened up to another worker, friend or family member. Allow them the option of bringing a support person with them to the interview, however, reiterate to the support person that they must not interfere in the interview process. 22. S Prepare your questions in detail prior to the interview. A good place to start is with the basic who, what, when, where and why. S Record as much detail in writing as possible. Documenting the complaint and investigation in detail is critical should disciplinary action be required later. S Listen carefully to the complainant. Clarify any issues you have at the time. Dont wait till the end of the interview to go back over anything. 23. S When interviewing possible witnesses remember to reinforce confidentiality, and the need for honest and open communication. Make sure they understand that providing false and misleading statements could severely jeopardize the investigation. S Gather and consider ALL the evidence. Do not discount any evidence or statements as being irrelevant. Remember. Something considered not important today, might be vitally important tomorrow!!! 24. Once you have gathered all your evidence it is important to ensure that if disciplinary measures are required that the punishment must fit the crime. Remember that whilst it is important to address the incident, over-reaction and excessive disciplinary action can have a detrimental effect on workplace culture, as well as impact the business financially by way of avoidable legal action. 25. A single workplace bullying incident can have untold effects on both the employees, and the commercial future of the business as a whole. It is imperative that employers and employees are not only aware of the businesses policy and processes in dealing with workplace bullying, but they should equally be aware of their rights within the current Legal Frameworks. 26. Legal Frameworks On the 27th June 2013 the Parliament passed the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 that granted the Fair Work Commission (FWC) jurisdiction to deal with workplace bullying. For the 1st January 2014 the amendments will allow a worker who believes that they have been bullied to apply to the FWC for an order to stop the bullying The provision is not limited to employees, but extends to contractors, labour hire and other workers engaged under other workplace arrangements. 27. FWC has 14 days to commence dealing with the application and may make any orders it considers appropriate to stop the bullying, other than a payment of compensation. Before making any order the FWC must be satisfied that the worker would otherwise continue to be bullied. Breaches of any orders may lead to penalties for both individuals and companies. 28. It is interesting to note that unreasonable behaviour is not defined in the Act. Unreasonable behaviour can be simply defined as behaviour that a reasonable person, taking into account the circumstance, would see as unreasonable, including behaviour that is victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening in nature. 29. Form 72 Order to Stop Bullying Form 73 Employer Response 72.pdf 73.pdf 30. Decisions Decisions S In Application by Ms SB [2014] FWC 2104 (12 May 2014), the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has provided its first detailed insights into the types of conduct that will and wont constitute bullying under Part 6-4B of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). S The decision by Commissioner Hampton, the FWCs anti- bullying Panel Head, also explores the concept of reasonable management action in the context of alleged bullying. 31. Apart from the anti-bullying order made by consent between the parties in Applicant v Respondent, PR548852, 21 March 2014, see the two decisions in Application by McI