02 August 2018
Can I, Should I?
Dealing with allegations of bulling and complaints of harassment challenges employers and managers over how to deal with these allegations. What is bullying to one person can, in fact, be tough management. Because allegations of bullying and harassment can be subjective, many employers find it difficult to know if they should investigate or not.
A persons behaviour can constitute a hazard under the Act and the Act requires that all safety risks are either eliminated so far as is reasonalby practicable, and where this is not possible, minimised so far as is reasonably practicable. So, what does this have to do with allegations of bullying and harassment. Simple really, allegations of bullying and/or harassment are allegations of a persons behaviour. Because this behaviour is alleged to have caused someone harm, or has the potential to do so, the duty falls on the employer to undertake action to eliminate or minimise the risk so far as is reasonably practicable. It is this duty that empowers the employer. So then the question becomes not 'if' but 'how'. And this is where the HR aspect kicks in.
Now that the employer has to do something, they use their HR processes or seek the right HR advice to deal with the situation. So, the HSWA empowers an employer to undertake action in cases where bullying and/or harassment are alleged. The HR processes are used to determine if the allegations are substantiated and then the remedies open to the employer.
If you are having issues like this in your workplace, contact me for advice and support on how to deal with the issue.
Number of safety concerns reported to WorkSafe form Nov 2016 to Nov 2017 – 5,389