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Workplace bullying in Australia : the Fair Work Act and its impact
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by B French, M Boyle, Olav Muurlink
Workplace bullying represents a significant compliance and wellbeing challenge to workplaces, and changes in Australia’s legal framework in relation to bullying will only amplify these challenges. Their implications for similar jurisdictions, such as New Zealand, where there remains no specific legislation to hold organisations to account for bullying that occurs in the workplace, are insightful. This article examines the crystallising of a single framework from state frameworks, and discusses recent case law and its implications for employers. While only a single case has been successfully prosecuted, cases that have failed to result in a ‘stop bullying’ order illuminate the potential for increased compliance pressure on employers, and the authors point to litigation that may flow through to other courts from application of the 2013 changes to the Fair Work Act. Law does not develop in a local or national vacuum, and in the absence of immediate precedent can be shaped by international influence—hence it is likely that the changes in Australia will be echoed in New Zealand, and vice versa.