Anti-bullying changes

By: Amie Hickland

Anti-bullying changes

Changes in jurisdiction to the Fair Work Commission next year could potentially cause problems for bus operators.

From January 1, the commission will have the jurisdiction to deal with anti-bullying claims, as well as other changes.

Some of the changes include an employer having to respond to an Anti-Bullying Order within 14 days, and employers having to consult with employees on changes to normal rostered working hours.

Australian Public Transport Industrial Association National Industrial Relations Manager Ian Macdonald says the changes could be a potential headache for operators.

He says one of the major changes will be the process in which the Anti-Bully Orders are dealt with.

"One of the biggest issues is trying to understand the difference between reasonable performance management and bullying," he says.

Another major change will mean operators will have to communicate more with employees on roster changes.

Macdonald says rosters change regularly in the industry such as when government operators change timetables or schools change their hours.

Under the changes, the company will have to work with employees to talk about any problems such as how a change in roster may impact family life.

"There will be a requirement to consult with the employees when they make any changes to the regular rosters," he says.

"In our industry, that’s quite significant.

"We regularly have to get our drivers to change what they’re doing to meet our business requirements."

The commission is anticipating more than 6,000 Anti-Bullying Order applications in 2014.

Employers will have to work with any employees who lay complaints to try and resolve the issue, and may have to reassess any anti-bullying policies.

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