On 12 February 2013, the Employment and Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten, announced the intention of the Federal Government to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to allow victims of workplace bullying to make an application to the FWC for assistance.
Under the proposed amendments, if FWC is satisfied that a person has been subjected to workplace bullying it could make orders it considers appropriate to remedy or prevent such conduct form recurring. This may include:
- making orders requiring the employee’s employer to resolve the bullying complaint and prevent further bullying;
- making orders relating to the employee, or other employees at the workplace; and
- publishing the orders to assist in preventing further bullying at the workplace.
Further, a failure to comply with an order of the FWC will be a civil penalty and could result in fines of up to $33,000.
Also, if FWA considers that a bullying complaint should be investigated by a WHS regulator through workplace health and safety legislation, the FWC may refer the matter to state or territory OHS regulators if necessary.