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HT for Small Biz - Newsletter

Fair Work Ruling “Performance Management is not Bullying”

A senior public servant claimed that the performance management methods used by management were of a bullying and harassment nature describing that his manager had told him to “go back to where you came from” and treated him like a “slave”.

Upon discovering the facts of the case, Senior Deputy President Lea Drake said she was satisfied that neither the employee’s manager nor his colleagues bullied him, and that the department demonstrated an “ordinary exercise of management prerogative”.

The employee made drastic claims that performance management strategies were delivered as threats of termination, apprehension towards the way he completed tasks that the company lacked the ability to implement a credible and transparent system of investigating bullying.

The senior management of the company expressed that their concerns with the employee were his inability to adequately: Use the Notes system for communication and knowledge management; follow through on instructions and guidance, communicate appropriately on projects and tasks; and take responsibility for managing work projects to achieve results.

The Commissioner concluded “I am satisfied that the employee’s managers were managing the employee’s performance in an ordinary fashion. I am not equally satisfied that the employee is engaging in the reviews in a cooperative fashion”.

Bullying and harassment can be perceived to have arisen in the workplace in numerous scenarios. The importance of having sound policy implementation to avoid loop holes being exploited by disgruntled employees is evident in the features of this case.

If you require any assistance with reviewing or implementing policies surrounding bullying and harassments or performance management, please feel free to contact us on (02) 8882 9694.

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