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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

BULLYING AND PSYCHIATRIC INJURY;
RECENT AND PROPOSED DEVELOPMENTS IN THE LAW
Geoffrey R Hancy
B.Juris(Hons), LLB(Hons), B.Ec(UWA), LLM(Melb)

geoff@hancy.net www.hancy.net Introduction
1

My paper covers:
1.1

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

1.2

Recent court decisions on claims for damages for psychiatric illness;

1.3

The nature of a recognisable psychiatric illness.

Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
2

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

3

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).

Bullying
4

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

-2-

Criteria for and orders that can be made
5

If the Fair Work Commission is satisfied that :
5.1

The worker has been bullied at work; and

5.2

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.
6

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
procedure:...

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