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​Bullying order against real estate agency

Legal Case: Bullying and Harassment

Published: 15 September 2015

Moving a bully may not be enough to eliminate the risk of future bullying. In making a bullying order in August, the Fair Work Commission required an employer to train staff and implement anti-bullying policies and procedures. ​

image of angry female pointing a finger at a male work colleague 
Employees in a small real estate agency applied for a stop bullying order against their manager. They alleged that she had engaged in unreasonable conduct, including belittling and humiliating, swearing, abuse and undermining the quality of their work. She would also physically intimidate and victimise them by “slamming” objects on their desk and making threats.

The parties had complained to their employer and participated in an attempt to resolve the matter in the workplace, without success.

The manager later resigned, but accepted an equivalent position with a related business in another location. 

The employer argued that there was no longer any risk that the bullying would continue. The employees, however, still felt too intimidated to return to work. They argued that they would have to interact with the manager due to the nature of the on-going business relationship. In fact she had already been “seconded back” to the real estate agency on a short term basis. 

The Commissioner found that the workers had been bullied and there was a risk of future bullying because there was still an “unprofessional” workplace culture that risked the health and safety of workers. With the consent of all the parties he ordered that:

  • the applicants and the manager not approach each other or attend the other business premises, and
  • appropriate anti-bullying policies, procedures and training which will include confirming appropriate future behaviour and clarify reporting arrangements be established and implemented. 

CF, NW and Company A and ED [2015] FWC 5272 (5th August 2015)​

Back to Equal Time Newsletter - September 2015

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