The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has started receiving bullying claims under the new bullying jurisdiction which came into effect on 1 January 2014. As reported in our November 2013 edition, the FWC is not able to impose any pecuniary penalties or make an order for the payment of compensation to an employee; instead, workers are able to apply to the FWC for a “stop bullying” order.

The FWC has confirmed that it has received a small number of bullying claims since January 1 but will not reveal the precise figures. Nonetheless, Commission President Justice Iain Ross has stated that he expects a “significant” number of anti-bullying applications will be made.

Now is the time for employers to ensure that they have an anti-bullying policy in place, the policy is complied with and is applied equally and consistently to workers of all categories. Employers should also ensure to act swiftly in relation to any bullying complaints or issues that may arise in the workplace.