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Big Bath

In: Business and Management

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Law Society of Western Australia – Personal Injury Law Update
8 October 2013

Geoffrey R Hancy
B.Juris(Hons), LLB(Hons), B.Ec(UWA), LLM(Melb) Introduction

My paper covers:

Amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to allow the Fair Work Commission
(FWC) to deal with bullying claims;


Recent court decisions on claims for damages for psychiatric illness;


The nature of a recognisable psychiatric illness.

Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

On 28 June 2013 the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) was amended to incorporate, among other changes, express provisions addressing bullying in the workplace.


These provisions will come into operation on 1 January 2014. They are found in a new
Part 6-4 B – Workers’ Bullied at Work (sections 789FA to 789FL).


A worker is bullied at work if one or more individuals repeatedly behave unreasonably towards the worker, or a group of workers of which the worker is a member, and that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety: s789FD. Reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner is not bullying: s789FD.

Not to be copied without the express permission of the author


Criteria for and orders that can be made

If the Fair Work Commission is satisfied that :

The worker has been bullied at work; and


There is a risk the worker will continue to be bullied at work;

then it may make an order it considers appropriate (other than an order requiring payment of a pecuniary amount) to prevent the worker from being bullied at work: s789FF.

The FWC is required to take into account a number of matters including any procedure available to the worker to resolve grievances or disputes and any outcomes of that

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