Unions and employers disagree over workplace bullying rules

As ACTU calls for tough national rules on workplace bullying, employer groups say that the reform could lead to a surge in expensive claims.

The Australian reports that the Australian Council of Trade Unions is demanding for tough rules on workplace bullying to include a declaration that a single incident of unreasonable behaviour could pose risk to health and safety. Safe Work Australia has already drafted a model code of practice on bullying but the union feels that it falls short.

Employers fear that the code could be misused as workers may tend to believe that they are being bullied even if they are not because the code describes downsizing, outsourcing and restructuring as potential sources of “inappropriate” job insecurity. Telstra has raised its concern over the suggestion that restructuring is an inappropriate system of work.

The Department of Health and Ageing warned that the draft code released as part of the national harmonisation of work health and safety laws is “very employee v management.”

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