Employment Law Essay Example

  • Category:
    Law
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
  • Page:
    2
  • Words:
    1109

Employment Law

TARDY WARNING LETTER NOT BULLYING, SAYS FWC

Introduction

Bullying entails the inappropriate conduct that weakens an employee’s right to dignity in the workplace. Bullying can be physical bullying, cyber bullying or verbal bullying. Bullying intimidates people, leads to social isolation or exclusion and damages someone’s reputation. The Fair Work Act of 2009 defines bullying as the repeated and unreasonable behaviour towards an employee or a group of workers that creates a danger to the health and safety of an individual (Quigg 2016, p.38). According to Schindeler, Ransley and Reynald (2016, p.70), the Fair Work Act applies to most but not all workers. This Act deals with bullying at work and stresses that bullying must be a repeated conducts and must create risk to safety and health. Employees who believe that they have been bullied can apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop the conduct with the commission making appropriate orders to prevent the conduct. Drawing on the article, ‘Tardy warning letter not bullying, says FWC’, this essay discusses the legal issues arising from the article. The essay identifies the key legal phrases or words from every major paragraph in the article, and provides a comprehensive discussion of legal aspects and concepts

In paragraph 1, the article highlights the Fair Work Commission. According to Teicher, Holland and Gough (2013, p.89), the FWC was established under the 2009 Fair Work Act. It is a tribunal for workplace relations tasked with carrying out different functions that include making agreement, promoting good faith bargaining and providing minimum conditions safety net. FWC takes a supervisory role that ensures that bargaining takes place in good faith and that the agreement made apply to the appropriate group of workers (Gans et al.2014, p.684). With respect to bullying, employees can apply to the FWC for a stop-bullying order. The FWC ensures that hearing of every complaint relating to bullying is held within two weeks of the said complaint (Turner 2015, p.1).

With regard to the article, the employer unreasonably issued a written warning eleven months after initiating the first investigations into the alleged misbehaviour. In my opinion, the issuance of the warning letter by the employer was unreasonable and amounted to bullying. In this perspective, the FWC contravened the s789FC of the Fair Work Act 2009 by rejecting the application of the anti-buying orders. Evidently, the commission observed that it was unreasonable for the employer to issue written warning letter eleven months after initiating the first of the two contradictory investigations. With regard to the 2009 Fair Work Act, bullying entails unreasonable and repeated behaviour towards an employee (Hor 2012, p.1). It is evident that the behaviour of the employer was unreasonable, repeated given that warning letter was issued after two contradictory investigations. The Fair Work ACT 2009, s789FC allows employees who convincingly believe that they have been bullied to apply for anti-bullying orders (Feeley 2013, p.137). In this perspective, Tardy was within her rights to seek for ant-bullying orders from the Fair Work Commission. Section 789FD of the Fair Work Act provides that an employee is bullied when another people or groups of individuals behave unreasonably towards the worker and the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

Drawing on the third paragraph, the Tardy had received confirmation that no further action would be taken against her. The third and fourth paragraph confirmed that five months later, the Tardy received a second warning from her employer. Although the Fair Work Act of 2009 does not determine the specific number of incidents that are required to amount to bullying in the workplace, in my view employer’s conduct amounted to bullying because the warning letter was issued after the two investigations and after almost a year. Although there is no evidence to the risk to health and safety of the employer, psychologically she was disturbed. According to Cobb (2017, p.141), the risk to health should not only be confined in anger, but should be justified by a mere probability of danger to safety and health. The risk must not be simply conceptual but real. However, following the first investigation, the issue of bullying was dismissed and reviving it, almost a year later, had a psychological effect on the employee, hence a risk to her health.

In the fourth paragraph, it is clear that the employer, despite the Fair Work Commission rejecting Tardy’s application for anti-bullying orders, may be bully the employee again. The paragraph states that if the employee fails to demonstrate immediate and sustained improvement, further disciplinary action may be taken that includes a possible employment termination,”
show an immediate and sustained improvement in the areas for which you have been warned… further disciplinary action may result up to and possibly including the termination of your employment». The Fair Work Act 2009 requires the FWC to commence addressing bullying matters within 2 weeks. In this paragraph, the FWC contravened the Fair Work Act 2009 section 789FF that requires the commission to make orders that prevent further bullying. According to Kavanagh et al.(2016, p.241), the Fair Work Act of 2009 is intended to tackle the exploitation of vulnerable employees. It is evident that the employee subject to discussion in the article is a vulnerable one and, therefore, warranted FWC’s protection from further intimidation from her employer.

Conclusion

Everyone has a right not to be harassed or bullied at workplace. The law protects workers against bullying. Any employee who believes that he/she has been bullied may apply for an order under (s 789FF) of the 2009 Fair Work Act. Bullying can disguise fraud, expensive mistakes or malpractice as employees build their careers without consideration of ethical responsibilities or respecting the best interests of their firms. The above analysis demonstrates that the FWC contravened the Fair Work Act (2009) in relation to issuance of anti-bullying orders.

References

Cobb, E.P 2017, Workplace bullying and harassment: New developments in international law, UK, Taylor & Francis.

Feeley, K.M 2013, Workplace bullying lawyer’s guide: How to get more compensation for your client, Australia, Strategic Book Publishing.

Gans et al.2014, Principles of economic PDF, Australia, Cengage Learning.

Hor, J 2012, Managing workplace behaviour: A best practice guide, UK, CCH Australia Limited.

Kavanagh et al.2017, ‘Protecting vulnerable workers amendment to Fair Work Act’, Governance Directions, vol.69, no.2, pp.241-243.

Quigg, A.M 2016, The handbook of dealing with workplace bullying, UK, Routledge.

Schindeler, E, Ransley, J & Reynald, D.M 2016, Psychological violence in the workplace: New perspectives and shifting frameworks, UK: Taylor & Francis.

Teicher, J, Holland, P & Gough, R 2013, Australian workplace relations, UK, Cambridge University Press.

Turner, B 2015, Bullying: What are we really scared of?, Australia, Xlibris Corporation.