Harassment by manager - bullying and invasion of privacy

Cases

Harassment by manager - bullying and invasion of privacy

A manager was found to have harassed an employee by telephone calls and attempting to visit the employee at home.

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Key point: A manager was found to have harassed an employee by telephone calls and attempting to visit the employee at home.

Employees are entitled to their privacy and disregard of this entitlement can constitute grounds for dismissal.

Details: The AIRC heard that the manager became upset after learning that an employee had complained to senior management about her conduct as centre director.

Despite clear warnings from senior management not to contact the complainant, the former centre director was alleged to have telephoned her five times and also attempted to visit her at home.

Commissioner Richards found that the former centre director's actions amounted to harassment because the woman felt her privacy was intruded upon.

The applicant also failed to observe a reasonable and lawful direction given by her employer, which was supplementary or in addition to the breach of company policy.

The applicant breached a reasonable and lawful direction by her employer. An employer has a duty of care at law to ensure that reasonable care is taken (and to do so on the basis of reasonable foresight) to avoid an employee being exposed unnecessary risks or injury.

In the Commission's view, the applicant's actions in disobeying the direction given to her, compounded by the breach of the employer's bullying and harassment policy, was destructive of the trust and confidence placed in her by her employer.

The AIRC rejected the unfair dismissal claim.

See: Jennifer Rachel Julia Breene v Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centre Pty Ltd PR943950 (27 February 2004) - AIRC - Richards C.

Related

Sample workplace harassment and bullying policy on WorkplaceInfo

Pre-emptive action only defence against harassment liability

 

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