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HR Bullying Backfires

Thursday, September 17, 2015
A recent dismissal due to workplace bullying has been overturned after the Fair Work Commission found the HR response “heavy handed,” after the sacked employee secretly recorded their phone calls. Actevate offer a range of Mental Health Training modules to assist your who are experiencing conflict in the workplace. From Managing Concerning Behaviours in the Workplace to Emotional Intelligence and Communication training; Actevate aim to train your staff in how to deal with issues to prevent bullying and other concerns in the workplace.

The “heavy handed” response of one HR manager to a recent bullying dismissal has seen the Fair Work Commissioner rule that the sacking was unfair.

The worker, who was terminated from Mollica Consultants for his “threatening” behaviour after he accused a co-worker of tampering with his motorbike, secretly recorded his phone conversation with the HR manager of his firm which proved his innocence.

The HR manager told Commissioner Leigh Johns that the worker threatened to deal with the situation in his “own way” and spoke in a “tone and manner” that led to his immediate dismissal, OHSAlert.com.au reported.

However, the worker secretly recorded his conversation with HR which revealed a different story.

"Having heard the termination call, it is apparent that the evidence provided by [the HR manager] in-person on this point during the hearing was manifestly untrue. Most of her evidence about the termination call was either a gross failure to recollect what actually happened or a recent invention," Commissioner Johns sad.

"At worst, she was entirely belligerent in her dealings with the [worker].”

Commissioner Johns found that, while the worker had harassed his colleague by making false allegations concerning the motorbike and by repeatedly calling and sending menacing text messages to the accused, the ultimate dismissal was unfair due to the HR manager’s actions.

As the HR manager, who has no formal HR qualifications, did not allow the worker to respond to Mollica’s concerns and let previous complaints which were “allowed to let slide,” affect her judgment, the dismissal was unfair.

"It is recommended that [the HR manager] engage in some professional development training to ensure the procedural mistakes she engaged in are not repeated in the future as, in this instance, it is her lack of HR skill which, in no small part, has rendered this dismissal unfair," Commissioner Johns said.

Commissioner Johns awarded the worker $1022, after a 50% deduction for his conduct, to cover the two weeks he was unemployed.

If you are experiencing conflict in your workplace, contact Actevate on 1300 663 155 to access our services.

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