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FWC Dismisses Anti-Bullying Case Due to Employee Delay Tactics

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has recently rejected an anti-bullying claim on the grounds that the employee purposely extended the case’s resolution time to secure his job. The commission also expressed skepticism over the feasibility of the alleged bullying scenario, involving a middle-aged man in a senior management role and a nonagenarian woman.

The scenario involved an operations manager who launched the anti-bullying claim against the director of Seahill Enterprises Pty Ltd, a woman in her nineties. Filed in 2020, the manager’s claim sought an apology from the director, her participation in a workplace bullying course, and an assurance that the alleged bullying would cease.

To settle the issue, Commissioner Simpson organized several conciliation meetings throughout the previous year. Despite the company’s willingness to accommodate the manager and the remedies offered by the Commission, the claim couldn’t be resolved, a situation that Commissioner Simpson labeled as “somewhat surprising”.

The operations manager’s request for extensive documentation from Seahill was subsequently denied by an FWC full bench and upheld by a full Federal Court ruling in February this year. As a result, the Commission decided to postpone the anti-bullying application.

Recently, in response to Seahill’s dismissal application under section 587 following the court’s decision, the anti-bullying claim was brought back into consideration.

Accompanying the dismissal request, Seahill presented a set of commitments from the director, promising not to bully the manager, abstain from initiating any contact, and refrain from direct management of him. She also pledged to limit her direct contact in the workplace. The director also completed a workplace bullying and harassment course led by IRIQ Law.

Furthermore, Seahill gave an assurance last year that it wouldn’t terminate the manager’s employment until the anti-bullying case was resolved.

In his evaluation, Commissioner Simpson found that the manager’s actions, including his lack of effort in seeking a final hearing post the full Federal Court’s decision, indicated a strategic plan to extend the application process to maintain his job rather than seeking a definite resolution.

Commissioner Simpson expressed doubts over the likelihood of the director, an elderly woman in her nineties, being capable of bullying the operations manager, a middle-aged man in a senior role, and potentially endangering his safety.

Given the case’s poor prospects for success, Commissioner Simpson decided to dismiss the anti-bullying application.

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