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Employment Law – Background

The Fair Work Commission has thrown out an anti-bullying claim brought by an aged care employee as her employer’s conduct was considered to be reasonable management action in response to her inappropriate conduct.

Employment Law – Facts

In essence:

  • the employee alleged she had been frequently bullied by her manager and supervisor since 2014
  • amongst various bullying allegations, she alleged that her manager screamed on many occasions, chased and ambushed her, spoken about her in highly derogatory terms and refused to grant leave when her daughter was having a medical procedure
  • the employee also claimed her supervisor also bullied through his handling of investigations and allegations made by and about her making her feel “scared”
  • both the supervisor and manager denied the allegations and claimed that the employee had frequently been aggressive to the manager including yelling personal insults and pointing her finger in the manager’s face, following her into her office and blocking the exit
  • the employee also challenged the procedural fairness of her employer’s quick decision in providing a “show cause” letter quickly after she had addressed issues raised in a counselling meeting
  • however, the employer argued that on each incident they had carried out reasonable management action by issuing formal warnings and counselling meetings before issuing the letter

Employment Law – Fair Work Commission Decision

The Fair Work Commission:

  • dismissed the workers application
  • acknowledged that it “may have been preferable for the employer not to finalise its conclusions in its letter to [her] on 20 January before concluding its views concerning her grievances”
  • nevertheless, concluded that the on the evidence presented the conduct of both the manager and supervisor was “at all times reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner”
  • noted that the evidenced pointed to the employee’s own conduct being inappropriate on the occasions she alleged the bullying occurred

The decision is available for you to read through the hyperlink:

Application by E.K [2017] FWC 3907 (21 August 2017)

Employment Law – Tips for Employers

Our Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team recommends employers:

  • review this Fair Work Commission decision
  • seek the assistance of an employment lawyer to understand the impacts of this Fair Work Commission decision
  • ensure that you have up to date bullying and harassment policies in place, which are in line with employment law
  • train management on how to address employee complaints in the workplace
  • ensure compliance with all employment lawyers including Fair Work Commission decisions, Awards and enterprise agreements
  • raise any employment law questions with an employment lawyer

Employment Law – More Information

Please call the leading employment lawyers in Parramatta, the Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team on 9635-7966 to speak with one of our employment lawyers.