Human Resources: Workplace Bullying Still a Serious Issue

BullyingThe ACT Greens stated that a survey has revealed extensive bullying allegations in both the public and private sector, and a lack of reporting by victims.

135 workers in the private and public sector participated in the online- survey.Three quarters of the participants claimed to have been bullied, and most of them allege that it occurred within the last twelve months.The survey also revealed that over half of all bullying incidents were left unreported.

85% of those who reported incidents claim to have been dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the response.Majority of participants called for specialist bullying inspectors on behalf of WorkSafe ACT.

Spokesperson for the party, Amanda Bresnan says the survey signifies the need for greater victim support and prevention strategies. Bresnan stated that they are still committed to proposed legislation to deal with the problem of workplace bullying.

The legislation calls for the implementation of specialist positions and an expert advisory committee on the issue.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-17/workplace-bullying-still-real-problem/4016898?section=act

Human Resources: Tribunal Awards Compensation to Nurse

HR TrainingThe Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) have made a decision in favour of a nurse who was up against the state’s health department.

They awarded the nurse over $20,000 in compensation for her claims of discrimination. The panel found that the nurse was treated unjustly because of her inability to work night shifts due to her medical condition. The tribunal decided that it was unnecessary for nurses to be available ever hour of the day, 7-days a week.

The Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) felt that the ruling signifies the need for employers to be flexible to the needs of their employees. . Secretary for the QNU, Beth Mohle believes the judgement sends an important message to all employers.

Mohle discussed the recent decision will encourage employers to be more thoughtful in the action they take.However, in her opinion, the health board should have been able to apply a reasonable policy without the assistance of the court – especially when involving those with disabilities .

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Source:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-11/qld-health-ordered-to-pay-nurse-20k-compensation/4004898?section=qld 

Human Resources: Unions and Employers Dissatisfied with Bullying Draft Code

Work Place BullyingSafe Work Australia has made light of changes to its draft code on workplace bullying following complaints by both unions and employer groups that the code was not specific enough about what constitutes bullying.

SFA spokesperson Ingrid Kimber stated that 70 out of 331 submissions on broader OHS issues, were related to the draft bullying code.According to Kimber (in her remarks to SmartCompany), the body is considering having an expert in the field advise them on the matter.Depending on how drastic of the changes, it may be released once again for public comment.

The draft code on workplace bullying falls under the legislation of the OHS Harmonisation laws which have been approved federally in various states. Of course, Victoria, WA, Tasmania and SA did not legislate in time to meet the January 1 deadline.

According to the draft code,  workplace bullying is defined as “repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety”

The following examples constitute as bullying:

  • Abusive or offensive language,
  • Gossiping and spreading malicious rumours
  • Regularly making someone the brunt of practical jokes,
  • Unreasonably overloading a person with work or not providing enough work,
  • Deliberately changing work arrangements such as rosters and leave to inconvenience a particular worker

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has however, stated that the code fails to address workplace bullying with the same level of specificity and seriousness as any other workplace hazard or risk.

The code, according to critics, must make it clear that the bullying it targets is a “pattern of behaviour”

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry stated that there needs to be a clear difference between feeling aggrieved and what is systemic, inappropriate behaviour” since normal managerial conduct should be seen as bullying behaviour.

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Source: http://www.smartcompany.com.au/managing-people/20120105-employers-and-unions-unhappy-with-draft-bullying-code.html 

Human Resources : Fellow Workers of Harassed Employee Walk Off the Job

Human Resources trainingWorkers of an Aurora employee have walked off the job after a fellow employee was fired upon making harassment claims.

The electrical worker complained that the supervisor inappropriately touched him, shot him in the head with toy gun, and poked him.  Aurora has confirmed that the worker has been sacked. The anonymous worker had already received a suspension on base pay for approximately five months when he made a claim with the Anti-Discrimination Commission.

Dino Ottavi, an advocate for the worker, stated that it was a shocking case of victimisation. He continued by stating that Aurora had avoided natural justice by firing the worker prior to the commission inquiry.

It is alleged that Aurora has paid out atleast $60,000 of the public’s money on legal defense. The discrimination claim was received much earlier than his suspension.

The worker has a family and is at risk of losing his house.

Aurora People and Culture general manager claimed that they had commissioned an external investigation which found that only one out of 17 harassment claims had any substance. The team leader was said to have been counselled on the outcomes of the investigation into harassment claims against him. Investigations into this Human Resources issue are continuing.

http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2011/12/09/283101_tasmania-news.html

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