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26 Nov 13
New anti-bullying jurisdiction taking shape

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The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has released two draft documents for public consultation in preparation for the commencement of new anti-bullying legislation on 1 January 2014.

Anti-bullying publications
The documents are the:

FWC’s President, the Honourable Justice Iain Ross released the Model and also confirmed Commissioner Peter Hampton as the new anti-bullying Panel Head.

About the Model
The Model proposes to inform employers and employees about the scope of the new anti-bullying jurisdiction and the remedies available through the FWC.

The Model emphasises the use of dispute resolution procedures such as mediation, conciliation and arbitration, which will be carried out by FWC staff and members.  The Model makes it clear that the new anti-bulling legislation does not promote or recommend monetary settlements as a remedy for workplace bullying.

The Model outlines the process for an anti-bullying application from lodgement, to the making of orders by the FWC.  Once an application is made, the FWC has 14 days before it MUST start dealing with an application for an order to stop bullying.  In all cases, all relevant parties to an application will be notified and given an opportunity to be heard, before any hearings are conducted. 

About the Benchbook
The Benchbook has been prepared as a draft for public consultation by the Commission to assist parties lodging or responding to anti-bullying applications under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FWA).

The Benchbook provides information on the definition of bullying under the new legislation, when it applies, how to make applications to the FWC and outcomes that can be achieved through the FWC’s intervention.

The Benchbook outlines how the FWA has given the FWC flexibility to gather information it considers appropriate in relation to an anti-bullying application, this may include contacting the employer or other parties to the application, conducting a conference or holding a formal hearing.

Employees have a right to make an anti-bulling application to the FWC from 1 January 2014.  There is no timeframe for an employee to lodge an application for an order to stop bullying.

Feedback
If you wish to make a submission or provide feedback on the Model and the Benchbook, email futuredirections@fwc.gov.au.

 

Focus covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. Focus is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.

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