Talking about harassment and workplace bullying, we stumbled on this legal case whereby the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) heard that a manager who was found to have harassed an employee by telephone calls and even had attempted to visit the employee at home filed a claim for unfair dismissal (WTF). Employees are entitled to their privacy and disregard of this entitlement can constitute grounds for dismissal.
Harassed by manager – workplace bullying and invasion of privacy
In 2004, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC)- in Queensland- heard that a manager became upset after learning that an employee had complained to senior management about her conduct as a director of the Jenny Graig Weight Loss Centre.
The AIRC heard that in-spite of very clear warnings from senior management not to contact the complainant, the (now former) Jenny Craig director had apparently telephoned the complainant 5 times and had attempted to personally visit her at home.
The manager had been dismissed by her employer (thanks God) but had the cheek to file for an unfair dismissal!
The AIRC’s commissioner [Richards] found, at the hearing, that the manager’s actions clearly amounted to harassment because the complainant [the worker] felt that her privacy had been invaded. The former manager also failed to follow reasonable and lawful orders given to her by her employer (senior management), which was in breach of the company’s policy.
The Commissioner found that the former manager breached reasonable and lawful direction given by her employer and that an employer has a duty of care to ensure that all reasonable care is taken to avoid a worker being exposed to [foreseeable] unnecessary risk or injury.
In the Commissioner’s opinion, the manager’s actions in frankly disobeying the instructions given to her by senior management, compounded by the breach of the company’s own bullying and harassment policy, was “destructive of the trust and confidence” place in her by her employer.
You can read the entire case here: Jennifer Rachel Julia Breene v Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centre Pty Ltd PR943950 (27 February 2004) – AIRC – Richards C.
[Post entered by T on behalf of WCV]