New bullying jurisdiction? I can use that!
There’s been a fairly quick take-up of the new Fair Work Commission jurisdiction to deal with applications for “stop bullying” orders that came into effect 1 January 2014. The FWC has reported that it had 44 applications filed in January: less than the 70 per month forecast, but still a tidy number for a summer holiday month. Much remains to be seen about how the FWC applies its triage role in sifting out applications with substance from those without, or which are outside the jurisdiction. The Federal Government will be watching, as Senator Abetz has indicated that he would be seeing how the triage works before deciding on whether to revise the scope of the jurisdiction.
The President of the FWC has commented that FWC will not be promoting the payment of “go away” money at the conciliation conference which is likely to be the first step in dealing with applications. The focus will be on actions to address the alleged bullying behaviour, which would be a good idea whether or not the allegation can be made out (such as training, revision and re-assertion of relevant policies, and so on.)
We’ll keep you posted as this develops over the course of 2014.