The Federal Budget has allocated an extra $21.4 million to enable the authorities to handle complaints about workplace bullying.
In March, the Commonwealth Government announced that the Fair Work Commission would be given the power to handle complaints about bullying in the workplace.
Now the Federal Budget has allocated an extra $21.4 million to enable the Commission to discharge these new responsibilities.
The changes mean a victim of workplace bullying can apply to the Commission to deal with the complaint, and have the matter considered within 14 days.
If the Commission upholds the complaint, it will be able to make orders to remedy the situation, to fine the employer, and refer the matter to the relevant state or territory workplace health and safety authority.
"The Government's investment in addressing bullying complaints quickly and effectively through the Fair Work Commission is a step in the right direction in addressing the impact of bullying on productivity but more needs to done," said Scott Hartley, public sector lead at advisory firm Grant Thornton Australia in a press release we received.
"The risk is that process for resolution of complaints via the Commission becomes overly onerous and costly for the employer, the right balance between regulatory burden and productivity improvements needs to be achieved."
Since the cost of bullying was estimated by the Productivity Commission to be as high as $36 billion dollars, it seems very likely that the productivity savings from reduced bullying would more than offset any increased costs to employers that are the subject of complaints.
Surely the best advice for employers is that they should not bully their employees, or allow employees to get away with bullying each other. Never mind the legal issues, this is a matter of simple humanity.