Bullying regime’s coverage unclear – our own exclusive


 You have to laugh……….

 WorkCovervictimsdiary blog had an “Exclusive” and we didn’t even know it!

You may recall we posted the article on the blog back in June 2013 –“40% of workers will have no access to new anti-bullying laws contained in Fair Work Actin which we brought to our readers attention that, after reading the new anti-bullying legislation, we discovered that if you are a state or local government employee, a private sector worker employed by sole trader, partnership or one of the many workers in the charity and community sector – and you are the subject of workplace bullying you are excluded from applying to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop the bullying.

Access to the new anti-bullying measures are strictly limited to commonwealth public sector workers and a majority of private sector workers.
Furthermore, Victorian public sector workers would be left in “no man’s land” with no recourse to the federal anti-bullying protections but no prospect of similar provision perhaps being implemented within a state industrial system as Victoria no longer has one as all industrial powers were referred to the Commonwealth.

At the time we thought it was strange that there was no mention of this fact anywhere. Not in the media, not even on the various union web sites that we checked nor did any of the public sector unions, including ones such as the Nurses Federation etc whose members this exclusion detrimentally effects, nor or even the ACTU, make any mention of this broad exclusion nor did any of them raise it in their submissions to the Federal Government when the proposed draft anti-bullying legislation was circulated for public comment.

Well, on the front page of today’s The Australian there is an article emblazoned “Exclusive” “Bullying regime’s coverage ‘unclear'”.

It brings to the attention of the Australian public that everyone including all the unions and lawyers are now suddenly in a flap and a spin because yesterday they only just discovered, 2 days after the new anti-bullying provisions came into effect, that oh my god….state government employees and many others are not covered by the new anti-bullying legislation. What? Really? You’ve all only just discovered this?!!

It turns out that a lowly blog of rag tag injured workers can read the anti-bullying legislation and discover 7 months ago what the likes of all the unions, their lawyers and the constitutional experts and the media couldn’t.

Maybe they should have all read the WorkCovervictimsdiary blog back in June 2013!  

Madame-Zena-authorWe hope Rupert Murdoch and News Limited didn’t pay too much for their “Exclusive” – they could have got it off here for free!

[By Co-Author Madame Zena]


Bullying regime’s coverage ‘unclear’

From: The Australian January 03, 2014

Pia Akerman

CONFUSION has erupted over the reach of anti-bullying legislation two days after the reforms came into effect, with unions urging an expansion of the laws as it became apparent the measures do not cover defence employees, state public servants and some small businesses.

The country’s peak union body has called on state and federal industrial relations ministers to integrate workplace bullying laws through the Council of Australian Governments, extending the grasp of new powers invested in the Fair Work Commission to cover all Australians. Since Wednesday, workers who are being bullied are able to lodge applications with the commission seeking formal orders that the bullying be stopped.

Claims are flowing in, but questions remain about which employees fit into the FWC model and who has been excluded.

ACTU assistant secretary Michael Borowick said the council would urge industrial relations ministers to undertake a mapping exercise across jurisdictions to establish which employees were covered by bullying laws at either a federal, state or territory level, and commit further to close any coverage gaps immediately.

Mr Borowick said it would be a straightforward exercise for the COAG Select Council on Workplace Relations, which has already harmonised work health and safety laws, to take the same steps with anti-bullying measures.

“You’ve got all the players in the room, and as industrial relations and work health and safety increasingly take national focus, bullying could as well,” Mr Borowick said.

“We call on (Employment Minister) senator (Eric) Abetz to co-ordinate a process through the Select Council.

“They’re well placed to examine this issue, to commission some research and then to agree on a remedy to ensure that all workers are covered by specific bullying provisions.”

The new laws, introduced under the previous government, only cover workers in constitutionally covered businesses, such as proprietary limited companies, and employees of the commonwealth and commonwealth authorities but not Defence employees.

They do not cover businesses that are sole traders or partnerships, or the state governments, which have failed to refer bullying-specific IR powers to the commonwealth.

The ACTU estimates the laws will cover 80 per cent of the national workforce and has urged states to refer the powers, a move opposed by business groups.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for the Abbott government to implement a review of the legislation within six months to ensure it is not penalising business and rewarding frivolous bullying claims.

An interactive eligibility quiz on the FWC website advises workers to check with their payroll staff, accountant or lawyer if unsure whether their employer falls into the commission’s jurisdiction.

Community and Public Sector Union federal secretary Karen Batt said all states except Victoria had a workplace tribunal that could hear bullying complaints, but Victorian public servants were stuck in a black spot because there was no appropriate state body and bullying was not included in the state’s previous referral of IR powers. She said the union had unsuccessfully tried to get the former federal government to pressure Victoria into a further referral when the legislation was being drafted.

“As a group, one of the largest employers in the country are state governments — 1.5 million workers around the country are exempt from these laws,” Ms Batt said. “We do believe there would be many people who would want to take the Victorian government to Fair Work because it’s an independent tribunal and it would be able to hold the government to account for its behaviour.”

In a sign of confusion about the issue, DLA Piper IR specialist Murray Procter said he had believed Victorian government employees would be covered.

Mr Borowick said the FWC’s ability to provide a fast-track jurisdiction, with employers only given a week to respond to bullying claims, should be accessible to all workers.

An FWC spokeswoman said a small number of claims had been lodged since application forms became available on Tuesday.


Revised May 2014

31 Responses to “Bullying regime’s coverage unclear – our own exclusive”

  1. Hey you guys does anybody know how lisa is coming along.Hope she is,was just thinking about her.xxxx to you lisa

    • Hey Tony I haven’t heard for a while now but she was doing as well as could be expected.

      Hope to here from her soon.

  2. Victorian Government introduced changes to the Crimes Act known as “Brodie’s law”. Now workplace bullies can face up to 10 years in jail. Why have they escalated the bullying regarding workers compensation then?

    • I think you mean why ‘haven’t they’ escalated workers compensation claims for bullying.

      • No Happy Jan i meant have. i mean put simply why is the bullying in the workplace getting worse and worse in light of the government trying to supposedly regulate it better and treating people worse and worse that are being bullied the government is actually the real bully in this country now. thats what i mean.

  3. Vic Injured

    “Don’t mean to sound rude” If you did not mean to then you knew that there was a possibility that you were.
    Your post made me feel the same way the assholes at work do.
    I am happy for you; that you managed within yourself to “move on” or “get over it” as you eloquently put it.
    I am not here to cause anyone more harm or make them feel even worse than what they already do. I hoped that i would get the same treatment.
    I kindly request that you refrain from replying on any of my comments or posts in future.
    I wish you well.

    • @lamdone

      Do you think maybe you are reading personal slight in @VicInjured comment when, from my reading of it, none in fact exists? I would have given the exact same advice.

      He/she is simply stating the obvious; revenge or “wanting them to pay” as you put it, never works in the end and only makes us more miserable and unhappy and prolongs our recovery. The comment means nothing more than that.

      If you choose to read slight and ill intent in to others comments or actions when none exists, that’s your choice, but you can’t demand the world to walk on egg shells around you to accommodate your misperceptions and overt sensitivities.

      To say that it made you feel the same way as the “assholes at work do”, sorry but with respect that’s just over the top. As it telling someone not to comment on any of your posts; that comes across as nothing more than a childish dummy spit.

      If you didn’t come here to feel any worse then the best thing for you to do is not to read slight and ill intent into what people say when none exists.

      Take my comment as you wish.

      • @Madame Zena

        I am not going to apologies for the way I feel. Neither of you know anything about me or my situation and what I went trough. So forgive me if I am still very angry. To want revenge is normal in this process. As mentioned I am happy for Vicinjured, that he/she is able to move on. Our situations are totally different, and who knows I might be at the same level of exceptence one day.

        But, I am not there yet and I feel what I feel.
        Perhaps before we comment we should consider how the comment will be received. You might feel different if the comment was meant for you. Starting the comment with the statement of not meaning to be rude- does not sound like ” some friendly advice”.

        If you don’t have something nice to say, then…….?

        • Hey guys

          I hate the lying thieving corrupt bastard insurers and all their creedy money sponging hangers on.

          I first went through a phase of disbelief – I couldn’t understand why they acted the way they did.

          The second phase was getting really pissed off and angry with the whole lot of them, and yes, desperately wanting revenge!

          The third phase was using their own tactics against them. Bombarding them them with well documented emails & letters. Always highlighting their tactics and asking for an explanation and always sending a copy to my lawyer.

          The fourth phase was accepting that they always behave that way. It is predictable behaviour, so I slowing started to stop getting upset by each bullshit letter or IME report arrived.

          And now, I am simply keeping an eye on the pricks. Oh, I still want revenge, but I don’t get angry, I will just get even.

        • @lamdone

          Not meaning to be rude, but some friendly advice:

          If spend your time dissecting to the nth degree every word uttered to you here on the blog and examining it for any signs of slights, ill will or illicit intentions or motivations towards you or perceived slights against you – that is exactly what you will always see.

          And you will do everyone’s head in the process!

          It’s very easy to take your perceptions as reality. But your perception does not become reality.

    • Gees its the last time I bother to try and help you, Lamdone.
      I am not going to apologies because you decided to see offence in my post that wasn’t there.
      Lamdone, if my ‘A-hole’ post sits on the same level of behaviour that you say you get at work then it makes me wonder if the ‘bullying’ you claim to have been subjected to at work is similarly trivial and innocent remarks and help of others that you have decided to twist and see offence and persecution in.
      I will leave you to your persecution complex Lamdone, I am off to do some more A-hole evil bullying of people (aka posting innocent comments).

      • Firstly it’s Iamdone. Not Lamdone

        Did I ask you to apologies?

        In your first comment you stated that everybody sees things differently. Correct???? Correct!!!

        Your opinion is yours, and just because I feel/see things in a different way does not mean that it’s wrong. That is exactly what my boss does. Just because she is the manager does not mean that she is right every time. The way that she minimize my opinions and feelings constantly. You might not have intended for the message to be reived in such a way. Once again you don’t know me and vice versa.

        You are clearly to self absorbed with yourself and your own situation.

        Let’s agree to disagree. I’m not wasting another second with you. Now I am becoming self absorbed.
        GOOD BEY

  4. We will all have to remember to be oh so nice to our claims managers now and not hurl abuse at them or be rude to them next time they aggravate us otherwise they might slap a “stop bullying order” on us!

    • Madame Zena are you actually an Injured worker? or are you a solicitor or a case manager for an insurance company?

      Why would you advise workers to be oh so nice to their claim manager refraining from hurling abuse at them or being rude to them next time they aggravate us
      otherwise they might slap being rude to them next time they aggravate us!

      That is a defeatist attitude and very poor advice.

      If a Claim manager is being rude or aggravating that is grounds to a slap a “stop bullying order” on them!!

      • Madame Zena are you actually an Injured worker? or are you a solicitor or a case manager for an insurance company?

        Why would you advise workers to be oh so nice to their claim manager refraining from hurling abuse at them or being rude to them next time they aggravate us they might slap a “stop bullying order” on us!

        That is a defeatist attitude and very poor advice.

        If a Claim manager is being rude or aggravating that is grounds to a slap a “stop bullying order” on them!!

      • Aggravating workers is a form of Bullying them, workers have the rights to slap “stop bullying orders” on employers, insurers, government employees ie worksafe, workcover tac and so on and all their affiliated channels through the compensation system.

      • @ Fred

        Ever heard of the concepts of irony and sarcasm?!

        They start with the letter ‘I’ and ‘S’ if you need to look their meaning up in the dictionary.

        • Madame Zena yes i have heard of the concepts of irony and sarcasm!

          that makes It obvious you are indeed a lawyer!

          Thankyou for answering my question.

          Our “Learned” friend 😉

  5. I first heard about this new Bullying law from Jobwatch. I contacted them in November 2013. I have endured 10 months of workplace B&H from my direct managers. They labelle it as Performance management. I contacted FWC,Worksafe and FWO. I found the information I received not helpful at all. I got the run around between the different Government organisations. Until I spoke with Jobwatch I felt like i was alone because everywhere I turned I got the same answer. “Speak to your employer” How can I if the problem is with them.
    One would think that the powers at be would have memorised the fine print of this new law.
    It feels like a “band aid effect”

    • I know everyone see things differently but to my way of thinking you would have been better off spending the 10mth finding another job. When I worked for a total A*hole of a bully 10yrs ago thats exactly what I did. I wasnt going to hang around and put up with his crap. Ultimately the only person who is responsible for our own well being, health and happiness is ourselves and sometimes we have to take the bull by the horn and take responsibility for our own well being and move on and find another job. Expecting government organisations, laws or what not to step in and fix things and hoping their going to make an A*hole change to me is madness. Expecting an A*hole is going to change is crazy, their not going to change. I know some people would say but that’s not right or fair, why should I have to leave when Ive done nothing wrong. But do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

      • I agree with you lamdone, why should WE have to be the one’s to leave. We are the victims in this. The bullies should be the ones to leave.
        lamdone have you made a workcover bullying claim? Make sure you do. Its the best way to make them pay. Watch out cause the bullies will lie to make sure that your claim gets rejected.

        • @Diane

          I submitted my claim on the 15th December. My employer submitted it on the 18th December. I’ve been to see the investigator(Seca Investigators) just before new year. I am seeing IME 13th Jan 2014. According to the form I received the IME report can take 2 weeks. BUT the decision would have to be made by the 15th Jan 2014. I am not sure how that works?

          • I saw the lying bastard IME 3 days before I got the insurers decision. Doesnt take
            much time to write a pack of lies, email to insurer, to support the insurers rejection of your claim.

    • Vic Injured

      I hear what you saying.
      I have been there for 7 years. Longer than both of these two a-holes together. I do feel that: “why should I leave?” It is not the place it is these 2 people. I am not the only one being treated this way. I am however the only one taking it further. I have been looking for another job, but unfortunately not a lot of vacancies in my field within a reasonable distance from home and childcare. They have broken me and they have to pay.

      • Don’t mean to sound rude but ‘They have broken me and they have to pay’ sound more like you are seeking revenge.
        Revenge never works. It only hurts yourself. Revenge is always counterproductive. Those who seek to punish continue to think about the perpetrator, keeping the pain and the anger very much alive in their minds, while those who “move on” or “get over it” think less about the perpetrator.
        Im so self absorbed that I’m not willing to invest the energy required into seeking meticulously planned retribution.
        But each to their own.

    • lamdone, ‘Performance management’ is code for employer sanctioned bullying. You and I are in the exact same situation. Don’t let the bastards get away with it.

    • @Landome, Jobwatch is another of those “institutions” aimed at helping workers BUT Jobwatch is actually just making a living with taxpayers’ money!
      Jobwatch was very very good some years ago then guess what the Government CUT the funding so they shut down for a period then they re-opened but now it’s call center guys only ready by scripts, — USELESS scripts!
      I believe you and others here are smart enough to understand that the Government gave Jobwatch a WARNING “you be good boy or we shut you down”!
      Same thing happens regarding UNIONS they talk S@it all the time just to show they do something but at the end of the journey is still the Government that give them money to stay ALIVE!
      Tell me guys why the Unions have no power, why they just talk and talk but nothing changes, why Workcover, Insurance companies and some “selected” Law firms have closed door meetings and make changes to the rules BUT Unions are not invited???

      Xchangingvictim January 18, 2014 at 4:35 pm