Business

Fairwork Commission to hear Toll worker’s anti-bullying case

Via Workplace Express

‘The major global transportation company, Toll Transport has failed in an attempt to have an employee’s anti-bullying application dismissed by the FWC, which disagreed with the company’s view that it was destined to fail.

The employee, Mr. Mulligan worked in Toll’s receiving and picking team applied in June 2018 for an order to stop alleged bullying by a colleague.

Toll argued the application should be dismissed because the evidence filed by the parties would lead to a conclusion that bullying had not occurred, wiping out any chance of a substantial legal case. They further claimed that there was no risk of it continuing because Mr. Mulligan and the colleague had been working in different areas of the warehouse since May of this year.

But FWC Deputy President Ian Masson said this evidence was yet to be answered by the employee, “or tested in terms of the degree of reporting line, operational and physical separation” between the workers.

He said he was not persuaded by witness statements filed by Toll that the employee’s case had no reasonable prospects of success.’

This case looks to be an interesting examination of how accusations of bullying within a company can be handled by senior management, in this case it appears that the employers say that simply because the employee and the colleague he claims was bullying him are now physically separated in different areas of the same warehouse, this means that there is practically a non-existent probability of any bullying or disruptive behaviour continuing. We know that most bullying cases are so complex and cannot always be so easily solved by a means of just putting physical space between two individuals – in one warehouse, one workplace, one individual environment, a lot goes on throughout a working day that can have a harmful effect on not only the work ethic of an employee who feels uncomfortable or indeed unsafe working in a potentially hostile setting, but can have a devastating impact on their mental health and well-being.

We will see the results of this case most likely next year.

 

Read the official case here: Trent Simon Handley Mulligan v Toll Transport Pty Ltd; Mandeep Singh [2018] FWC 5977 (27 September 2018)

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