Bullying, Harassment, and Discrimination
Employers have an obligation to provide a safe workplace. This includes ensuring the workplace is free from bullying, harassment, and other discriminatory behaviours.
Unfortunately, many business owners fail in their obligations, and, whilst claims aren't necessarily a result of deliberate actions of the business or its owners, there are potentially serious consequences if problems are not properly managed.
Business owners often find themselves ill-equipped to deal effectively with bullying, harassment, or discrimination complaints, particularly where those complaints concern them or the business directly.
The possible consequences of harassment or bullying complaints for a business can be very serious and may lead to prosecution. It is very easy for, a 'minor incident' to evolve into a workers' compensation claim or a claim for damages, negligence, adverse action, or unfair dismissal.
Bullying and harassment complaints can also have repercussions outside of the potential for legal action being taken, including damage to a company's reputation with customers, shareholders and employees; a reduction in productivity; and a lowering of morale amongst employees.
How we can help
Preventing bullying, harassment, or discrimination claims:
Preston HR's first goal is to prevent claims being made. This includes:
- Drafting policies and procedures that help foster a workplace culture that complies with State, Territory, and Federal discrimination and anti-bullying legislation
- Advising on the implementation of workplace procedures and strategies to avoid bullying, harassment, and discrimination
- Setting up procedures to ensure that any complaint regarding bullying, harassment, and discrimination is dealt with in a manner that complies with State, Territory, and Federal discrimination and anti-bullying legislation
- Running training programs to help avoid bullying, harassment, and discrimination complaints and to achieve effective workplace consultation
At the end of the day, the most effective way to safeguard your business against bullying, harassment, and discrimination claims is to stop them from occurring in the first place.
Dealing with claims:
If a business has failed to take reasonable steps to prevent bullying or harassment or has not responded to a complaint, it may be liable for the actions of its employees. Sometimes, liability can even spread to individuals. HR managers who have failed to take the steps necessary to protect the employee from the harassment or bullying can be held accountable.
There is always a risk, no matter what systems you have in place, that a claim will be made against your business. The key to minimising the potential risk to the business from any such claims is responding appropriately.
This is why it's essential that a business facing a harassment, bullying or discrimination claim acts quickly.
Preston HR's consultants can conduct investigations into employee complaints or incidents of bullying and harassment as well as help business owners respond to complaints by advising on both counselling and/or disciplinary action.
If the initial response fails to resolve the issue, we can refer your matter to Preston Law's employment law team. They are experienced in representing employers in the Fair Work Commission, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, anti-discrimination tribunals, and other courts/tribunals.