Mr Turnbull is quoted in the media recently as saying “real men don’t hit women” and has followed on with strong statements about the prevalence in Australia of family violence.  The Prime Minister has apparently announced a $100 million dollar awareness campaign.

It shocked the team at Workwise to hear that the statistics being quoted are that in Australia, there are nearly 2 domestic violence deaths a week!

By now you are probably wondering why Workwise is talking about this and what it has to do with Industrial Relations or Human Resources?!

Well, you don’t need to take a great mental leap to realise that Domestic or Family Violence can spill over into our workplaces.  Employees (or Employers) under stress usually demonstrate some form of inappropriate behaviour at the workplace, so Workwise is taking a lead from our new PM to help raise awareness.  The topic of this Workwise E-bulletin is violence, bullying, agression and harassment in the workplace.

We receive a fairly regular and constant stream of calls and emails from Members who have received complaints from employees about harassment and bullying in the workplace and neither the employer nor the employees have known what they should, or can, do about it.

These kinds of calls, while they send shivers down our collective spines, are very welcome. Let it be known that:

If you see, hear, suspect or receive a complaint (whether verbal or written), you are obligated by law to take action; and if you don’t know if you have identified bullying or harassment correctly or you don’t know what to do about it when it does happen, please, please call our office.

Most of you will have purchased a full Fondations Workplace Policy Manual from us so your first action should be to refer to the Bullying & Harassment Policy contained in the Manual. The policy will guide you through the steps to be taken.

If you haven’t purchased one and don’t have such a policy in your workplace, then  call us and we will be happy to discuss your options.  If you do have a policy but don’t know what it contains and your staff know even less about it, then it is decidedly more important that you contact us – time is ticking!

Under the Occupational Safety & Health Act 1984 – this is the Act that is relevant to all of our Western Australian workplaces – you, the employer and probably senior management too will be held accountable and liable for inaction in relation to any bullying in your workplace.

Here is a set of questions for you to ask yourself:

  • Who is it that sets the behavioural example in your workplace?
  • When was the last time YOU turned around and looked inside your workplaces to see or listen to what is actually taking place?
  • Would you know if you are observing bullying or harassment in action?
  • When was the last time you actually questioned the behaviours that you observe?

We urge you to review the language, the relationships, the communication & the culture of your workplace.  Consider the effect that bullying or harassment may be having on your workforce (remember that it may be subtle at first) and then consider the effect that it will ultimately have on you.  Google Brodie Panlock to see the effects – be warned it’s not pleasant.

Need Policies or advice on any of our e-bulletin topics?  Call Workwise on (08) 9792 4451