Since the commencement of the anti-bullying laws at the start of 2014, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the first substantive decision by the Fair Work Commission under the new jurisdiction (we live exciting lives). Well, the wait is over! Sort of. On Friday last week, we got to see the first set of stop bullying orders.
The background facts and parties’ names were withheld, so we’re in the dark about the context of the orders and the conduct that led to the finding that the bully had indeed been a bully. But at least we now have an insight into the types of orders that the FWC is prepared to make.
And wow, are they specific. Made by consent, the orders include that the bully:
- have no contact with the applicant alone
- not make any comment about the applicant’s clothes or appearance Those orders are perhaps not that surprising, and provide a hint of the basis of the complaint.
However, the orders also prohibited the bully from sending any emails or texts to the applicant except in emergency circumstances, and not raising any work issues with the applicant without running them past the employer’s Chief Operating Officer or subordinate first.
Depending on the reporting lines between the applicant and the bully, that may make an effective working relationship pretty tricky.
But it didn’t end there. The bully must also complete any exercising at the employer’s premises before 8.00am. And in perhaps an interesting twist, the applicant is subject to an order too: that the applicant shall not arrive at work before 8.15am.
Clearly, the FWC is willing to get pretty specific when dishing out orders. You may recall from our previous bulletins that both employers and individuals can be hit with hefty fines if they don’t comply with the stop bullying orders. Let’s just hope this bully likes early morning gym sessions.