Workplace bullying is “very much a disease of the 21st century” and the rise of technologies such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have created new challenges for understanding and dealing with it, according to FWC Vice President, Joseph Catanzariti, and clinical psychologist, Keryl Egan.
Evidence of this has been seen in the past few days in the Fair Work Commission in a bullying case pursued by a property consultant against the real estate agency she worked for. She was successful in 8 of her 18 allegations of bullying against the company.
The behaviour upheld to be bullying included action by the company’s sales administrator, which involved her likening the property consultant to a dobbing schoolgirl, blocking the door when she tried to leave a meeting, and then deleting her as a Facebook friend immediately after the same meeting.
The Fair Work Commission said that this behaviour by the sales administrator “evinces a lack of emotional maturity and is indicative of unreasonable behaviour”.
This behaviour was considered in conjunction with the sales administrator’s other actions towards the consultant, which included deliberately delaying administrative work for the property consultant’s listings, belittling and humiliating her, speaking abruptly, ignoring her, treating her differently to other staff and failing to greet her each morning. The Commission found that this behaviour, together, constituted workplace bullying.
In response to the consultant’s allegations of bullying, the company tried to argue that there was no risk of bullying behaviour occurring in the future because it had just implemented an anti-bullying policy. The Commission rejected this. It said that “A lack of understanding as to the nature of the behaviour displayed at work has the proclivity to see the behaviour repeated in future by [the sales administrator]“. The risk of bullying was not, therefore, eradicated by the recent introduction of a policy with no genuine understanding about bullying behaviour by the employees.
This matter will now be listed before the Commission for a further hearing to discuss an order against the company to stop the bullying.
The link to the full decision can be found here:
Curious to know about the hidden costs of bullying in the workplace? Join our upcoming webinar on August 23rd 2016.