Fairwork Commission's Anti-Bullying Report Findings
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) released its annual report for 2013-2014 late last week. Included for the first time since its inception in January this year, was the anti-bullying jurisdiction. The jurisdiction is designed to prevent further bullying at work from occurring and encourages parties to informally resolve the matter between themselves, with the help of the FWC.
FWC General Manager, Bernadette O’Neill said that setting up the anti-bullying jurisdiction had proved “challenging as there was no similar jurisdiction in Australia, or internationally, for us to look to for guidance on how to proceed.”
Despite this, the jurisdiction received more than 100,000 website inquiries, and more than 3,500 telephone inquiries which resulted in 343 applications being received.
The report showed that the 60 applications received per month were much lower than the predicted 70 applications per week. Due to the unique nature of the jurisdiction, it is “impossible” to predict the future trend of applications but results showed that there was “a gradual increase in applications lodged each month.”
Of the 197 applications which were finalised in the period, 93 were withdrawn prior to hearing, 63 were resolved during mediation or conference, 20 were withdrawn after mediation or conference and 21 were finalised by a FWC decision.
Of the latter, three were dismissed due to jurisdictional objections, 4 were dismissed because bullying was not found or there was no risk of bullying continuing and 13 were dismissed as the matter was not pursued (or properly pursued). Only 1 of the applications resulted in the FWC making an order to stop bullying.
The report recognised that the jurisdiction had been a success and had produced “better outcomes in terms of maintaining constructive and workable ongoing workplace relationships.”