Workplace Bullying – an OHS, criminal or HR issue?

On 14th November 2012 IRSWA in conjunction with King & Wood Mallesons hosted a seminar on workplace bullying.

If you break your colleague’s nose, don’t be surprised if you’re charged with assault. If you break your colleague’s spirit, what then? Whilst the medical profession is now treating mental illness in the same way as it treats physical injuries, the law is still grappling with how to treat mental harm caused in the workplace. The regulatory regime is somewhat disjointed and inaccessible, with limited avenues for victims to seek real time recourse through Fair Work Australia or State-based safety and criminal laws. At the same time, an allegation of bullying or harassment by an employee, regardless of whether it has foundation, can cause significant difficulty and reputational damage for employers and alleged perpetrators. The online social media scene adds yet another dimension.

The seminar took a close look at the behaviours that constitute workplace bullying, the current legal protections, as well as the role of safety regulators, the Police and Fair Work Australia in investigating, prosecuting and resolving bullying complaints.

The slides from the seminar are available here.

Presenter:        Philip Willox, Partner – Employee Relations and Safety, King & Wood Mallesons

Philip Willox is a Perth-based Partner in King & Wood Mallesons. He is co-leader of the firm’s Employee Relations & Safety team. He advises on all aspects of employment law, industrial relations and safety law.

Philip has significant experience in managing the full ambit of strategic and contentious workplace issues for clients. He has worked across many industries assisting clients with human resources issues, IR strategy and bargaining, managing and resolving workplace disputes, workplace investigations, and the employment and safety aspects of commercial transactions and business restructures. Philip has significant experience in managing the resolution of disputes through various Courts and Industrial Tribunals. He has advised on numerous incidents involving fatalities. He assists companies to comply with their health and safety obligations and to manage the range of issues that arise following incidents.

The Society thanks King & Wood Mallesons for hosting this seminar.