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 Federal Court has ruled that the MUA took adverse action against five port workers when it distributed a poster calling them scabs for refusing to take part in a protected strike, finding its contents were worse than defamatory and invited the conclusion that they were "devoid of human dignity".
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.
In its first substantive order under the new bullying jurisdiction, the Fair Work Commission has directed an employee not to have any unaccompanied contact with a co-worker or make comments about their clothes or appearance.