The Fair Work Commission has dismissed an ANZ employee's application for an anti-bullying order, finding that his dismissal by the bank after he lodged his claim meant that he had no reasonable prospects of success.
A major law firm says the FWC's first ruling on the merits of a bullying application should calm employers' fears about the new jurisdiction, claiming that the tribunal has adopted "an extremely broad" interpretation of the exemption for reasonable management action.
In its first substantive ruling on the merits of an application under the new bullying jurisdiction, the Fair Work Commission has fleshed out the concept of "reasonable management action" in rejecting a manager's claim that she had been subjected to repeated unreasonable treatment by two of her subordinates.
The Fair Work Commission received just 151 applications for orders to stop bullying in the jurisdiction's first three months of operation, with the majority from employees of large organisations alleging unreasonable behaviour by their managers, according to new tribunal statistics.
The FWC's new anti-bullying jurisdiction is likely to subject the "largely unregulated" workplace investigations industry to long-overdue scrutiny, and might give rise to questions about whether employees can lawfully refuse employer directions to cooperate, according to Maurice Blackburn principal Josh Bornstein.
The Fair Work Commission has rejected an anti-bullying application from a paid carer, ruling he was not a "worker" under the new laws, while also outlining other arrangements that would fall outside the jurisdiction.
A test case that established that the Fair Work Commission is able to consider bullying that occurred before its anti-bullying jurisdiction took effect on January 1 has now been thrown out because the employer is not a "trading" corporation.