Government steps in right direction on workplace bullying

12 February 2013
Moves by the Federal Government to allow victims of workplace bullying a speedy complaints process at the Fair Work Commission have been welcomed by prominent workplace lawyer Josh Bornstein of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

Mr Bornstein said it was the most important recommendation of last year's parliamentary report into workplace bullying, and would be vital in providing employees with the ability to seek to stop incidents of bullying escalating to the point where health and career are seriously damaged.

"I have seen too many employees left devastated by sociopathic workplace bullies, their careers trashed along with their health and part of the problem has been a lack of a national law that allows those affected an early response mechanism," Mr Bornstein said.

"The moves announced by the federal government today are an important starting point to address a major gap in the current system. Further, they will help many employees to preserve their mental health.

"For the thousands of employees every year that endure bullying at work, there are no effective legal remedies that can be used to proactively stop the problem.

"The Productivity Commission reported in 2010 that the issue of workplace bullying cost the economy more than $6 billion per annum. The government's proposed new law will serve to reduce the number of personal injury claims, social welfare costs and will improve workplace productivity."

Mr Bornstein has for a long time led a vocal push for a national law that enables employees to seek urgent orders stopping the bullying conduct before the real damage is done.

"Workplace bullying affects workers at all levels in all sectors - including executives. Above all, this issue is a matter of how we treat each other as human beings. Workplace bullying is illegitimate, it is toxic and I support today's moves to help stamp it out," he said.

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