Following an announcement by the Minister for Employment and
Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation Bill
Shorten (the Minister) last month, the Federal Government
introduced the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 (the Bill) into
Parliament on Thursday 21 March.
This was the second round of changes introduced by the Minister
relating to employment law since the start of 2013, with one of the
key changes relating to bullying widely considered to be the
Federal Government's response to the House of Representatives
Standing Committee on Education and Employment's November 2012
report, Workplace Bullying "We just want it to stop"
In relation to bullying, the Bill amends the Fair Work Act
2009 (Cth) (FW Act) to:
Allow a worker who has been bullied at work to make an
application to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop the
Define what is meant by 'bullied at work', which is
consistent with the definition of 'workplace bullying'
recommended in the Report and the proposed code of practice by Safe
Require the Fair Work Commission to start dealing with an
application by a worker for an order to stop bullying within 14
days of the application being made
Enable the Fair Work Commission to make any order it considers
appropriate (except payment of a pecuniary amount) to stop the
The Fair Work Commission will also have the power to refer the
matter to a work health and safety regulator where it considers it
Additionally, the Bill amends the civil remedy provision in the
FW Act to allow a person affected by a contravention of an order
made with respect to bullying to make an application to the Federal
Court, Federal Magistrates Court or 'eligible state or
territory court' to obtain a penalty against the person not
complying with the order. A maximum of 60 penalty units applies to
the contravention, which is currently $10,200 for individuals and
$51,000 for corporations.
Significantly, the Explanatory Memorandum notes that employers
will still have the ability to take reasonable management action in
relation to counselling for performance and taking appropriate
Further to our update on
21 January 2013 about the controversial draft legislation to
reform federal anti-discrimination Acts, it has been reported that
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus will not proceed with the proposed
legislation and it will be sent back to his department for
revision. Whilst a timeline has not been disclosed as to when the
Bill will again be before Parliament, it has been reported that the
Attorney-General maintains that the Bill has not been shelved and
the Government is 'moving forward' with it.
We will continue to monitor employment law reforms in the lead
up to the 2013 Federal Election and provide updates on the
significant changes when they are tabled.
If you would like to discuss this, or any other aspect of the
new laws, please contact one of our employment partners.
This publication is intended as a general overview and
discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be,
and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any
specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no
responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of
DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm,
operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For
further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com
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