Fair Work Commission releases “Anti-bullying Benchbook”

26 November 2013

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has now released a draft Anti-bullying Benchbook and is seeking comment from the public ahead of the changes coming into effect on 1 January 2014.

The Benchbook has been released alongside the FWC’s draft anti-bullying Case Management Model and aims to ensure that employers and workers are well informed regarding the scope of the upcoming changes prior to them taking effect.

The Benchbook contains extensive useful information and case law clarifying important points such as what is bullying, what is not bullying and what is reasonable management action.

Fair Work Commission President, Justice Iain Ross said, “The new anti-bullying jurisdiction is not an avenue to provide compensation to those who have been subjected to bullying; and nor is it about penalising employers. It is directed at preventing workers from being bullied at work.”

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Justice Ross stated that while it would take time for the jurisdiction and accompanying case law to develop, the Anti-bullying Benchbook and Case Management Model were the first steps in raising the awareness of potential parties of the Commission’s procedures and relevant legislation.

Under the new jurisdiction workplace mediation features more prominently with the final step in the case management model being a decision taken by the Panel Head on whether a matter will be referred to a Commission staff member for voluntary mediation, or directed on to a Commission Member for mediation, conciliation or arbitration.

“Where mediation or conciliation is undertaken there will be an emphasis on resolving the issues to ensure constructive and cooperative workplace relationships can resume. Monetary settlements will not be promoted or recommended by the Commission,” Justice Ross said.

Download a pdf version of the Anti-bullying Benchbook.

Feedback can be given on the Case Management Model and the Anti-bullying Benchbook via email to futuredirections@fwc.gov.au

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