The workplace bullying reforms — the big challenge for 2014

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By Harriet Eager

There have been a number of developments on the workplace bullying reforms since Minter Ellison’s May Higher Education Focus, which detailed the reforms and practical tips to meet the challenges they present.

The bullying reforms are twofold: from a WHS perspective — the Bullying Code of Practice and Worker’s Guide for harmonised regimes; and from an employment law perspective — commencing on 1 January 2014, the new right for ‘workers’ (in the WHS sense of the word) to make a bullying complaint to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) under the Fair Work  Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).

The new coalition government has indicated that it supports ‘in principle’ the new right of action in the Fair Work Act, but may seek two changes: requiring workers to seek ‘preliminary help, advice or assistance from an independent regulator’ before making a bullying complaint in the FWC; and providing for employers, managers and workers to make complaints to the FWC about bullying by union officials…

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