Managing Workplace Relationships – Part 2
Providing a safe work environment – are you addressing your bullying complaints?
Following on from my previous blog where I emphasised the importance of employers managing employee relationships, a case has emerged in Queensland in which an employer who turned a blind eye to workplace bullying was found to be negligent of providing a safe work environment.
Ms Wolters had been verbally abused and threatened by another employee, Mr Bradley, and as a result suffered severe depression and was unable to return to work.
Significantly, Mr Bradley had also been accused of bullying another female employee only three months earlier. Specifically, he was accused of verbally abusing the other employee, who ultimately left the employment after suffering from severe depression.
The employer did not however investigate the incident involving Ms Wolters, or take any steps to reprimand and counsel Mr Bradley. As such, the employer was found not to have provided and maintained a safe work place for staff members. The employer was forced to pay over $364,000 in damages. (http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/qld/QCA/2013/228.html)
Do not ignore workplace bullying. You are responsible for providing a safe workplace for all your employees. If you need advice on addressing bullying behaviour and or conducting workplace investigations or managing employee relationships generally, please contact our experienced employment lawyers to discuss your options today (02) 9635 6422.