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Surprising statistics in FWC's first anti-bullying quarterly report

29 April 2014

The Fair Work Commission has released its first quarterly anti-bullying report after the introduction of the new anti-bullying legislation in Australia.

More than 150 applications were received between 1 January and 31 March this year, yet only four applications were mediated by the Commission.

Of the eight applications finalised by a decision, only one was granted an order by the Commission on grounds of a worker being at risk of continued bullying in the workplace.

The report indicates that concerns around the Commission being unable to cope with a deluge of applications, and the issuing of a large number of orders being necessary, were unfounded.

Furthermore, the significant gap between the number of applications received (151) and the orders issued (one) shows a compelling need for Australian businesses to invest in adequate workplace bullying training to ensure employees can properly recognise bullying behaviour and appropriately respond to it.

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Interestingly, the industry that put forward the most anti-bullying applications was the clerical sector, with 23 claims originating from this industry. Retail was second with 13 applications, followed by health and welfare (11) and educational services (10).

The majority of workplace bullying allegations (133) came from direct employees, with 109 applicants naming their manager as the individual engaging in unreasonable behaviour. A single colleague was the alleged bully in 27 cases, while 20 applicants claimed a group of workers were engaged in inappropriate conduct.

If you believe there is a risk of workplace bullying in your organisation, it is prudent to consider undertaking a workplace inquiry to help determine if underlying tensions, high risk practices or inappropriate behaviours exist. A professional HR consulting team specialising in this area can examine team dynamics and offer solutions, such as workplace mediation, where effective and efficient dispute resolution is required.

iHR Australia's workplace investigations team are highly experienced consultants who have worked with organisations of all sizes across a number of industries. Our mediation specialists are sensitive and professional - ensuring your workplace conflicts are dealt with through a safe and impartial process.

Workplace mediation is more cost-effective and less time-consuming than a full-scale workplace investigation and can help resolve disputes before they lead to more serious processes, such as anti-bullying applications with the Fair Work Commission.

For more information on workplace relations & HR consulting and workplace investigation services from iHR Australia call 1300 884 687 or make an online enquiry.

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