On 19 August 2016, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down a
decision dismissing an order to stop bullying—only the
seventh of its kind concerning the FWC's bullying jurisdiction,
which came into effect on 1 January 2014. Through the firm's
Pro Bono Program, Sparke Helmore Lawyers acted for the employer (a
The Applicant, an employee of the charity, sought orders from
the FWC against her manager to stop bullying under s 789FC of the
Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). The alleged bullying conduct
included overburdening her workload, requesting she perform
"unreasonable" work tasks, making accusations about her
work ethic and belittling her in front of other team members,
amongst other allegations. Despite steps taken following two
mediation sessions, the Applicant filed a general protections claim
on 12 January 2016 and made a bullying complaint to SafeWork
In exercising its jurisdiction, the FWC considered the
Applicant's evidence that her manager's actions were not
reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.
The employer gave evidence that the actions taken did not
constitute bullying and that, where possible, it had actioned the
Applicant's requests to address her concerns and also
established measures to rebuild the work relationship between the
The Commission found that the evidence did not support
allegations of unreasonable behaviour by the manager and that the
employer had executed reasonable management action and also carried
out fair and transparent investigations into her allegations.
The decision handed down in this case illustrates that
reasonable management action will defeat a claim of alleged
bullying. "Our client was grateful for the services Sparke
Helmore provided in advising on and defending the bullying claim.
Providing legal assistance to the charity through our Pro Bono
Program means that it can use its available resources to further
its purpose, positively," said Workplace Partner,
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
This decision outlines the potential pitfalls of an employee making public comments on Facebook outside of work hours.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).