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Bullying Fact Sheets 8 - 10

 

Fact Sheet No. 8

A Fair Investigation Process

If a formal complaint is to be made about a bullying incident, you need to understand

and be able to explain to the person affected and possibly the alleged perpetrator (if

they are an AMIEU member) what the investigation process will involve. You need to

ensure that this process is fair and just and can withstand scrutiny. A formal

investigation process should pay attention to the follow detail:

 

Lodging the Complaint

 

*  The complaint should be lodged with the appropriate senior manager.

*  The complaint should be in writing and specify detailed allegations, dates, time and witnesses.

 

Initial Response

 

*  The appropriate senior manager should meet with both parties separately as soon as possible.

*  Each party should be informed about the process and their rights and responsibilities.

 

Appointment of an Investigator

 

An impartial, independent person must be appointed to investigate the complaint.

The appointee may need to be an external person.

The investigator must understand their role, the rights of both parties and the right of appeal.

Both parties should have the right to be accompanied by a union representative.

 

The Investigation

 

*  The investigator should contact the alleged bully, provide them with a copy of the complaint

    and ask them to reply to the allegations in writing within a specifi ed timeframe.

 

*  The investigator must supply a copy of the alleged bully's response to the person

    making the complaint.

 

*  Both parties should then be interviewed separately by the investigator.

 

At this stage the investigator may decide to gather statements from any named witnesses.

 

*  Once all the information has been assessed the investigator will make a fi nding

    based on their assessment of whether bullying did or did not occur.

 

Findings

 

*  The outcome of the investigation will be referred back to the appropriate senior

    manager to decide on appropriate action and to advise both parties of the outcome.

 

*  If the allegation cannot be substantiated action must be taken to get the parties

   to resolve any differences and agree to work together.

 

*  If the allegation is substantiated appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.

 

*  Counselling should be provided to either both parties and/or any affected co-workers.

 

*  A follow -up should be undertaken to ensure all workplace matters have been resolved.

 

Appeals

 

*  A formal mechanism should be in place to enable the parties to appeal against the decision.

 

 

Fact Sheet No. 9

 

Key Principles for Resolving a Bullying Complaint

 

Once a complaint of bullying has been made,there are a number of key principles

that must guide the investigation and resolution process.These key principles must

be re . ected in the approach taken by the employer to deal with the matter.

 

It is important that you are familiar with and understand these principles so that you

can insist that the process is fair and reasonable.These principles are listed below:

 

Treat all Matters Seriously

Employees will only report incidents of bullying if they know that the matter will be treated seriously and not dismissed out of hand.

Do Something Promptly

Immediate action must be taken to follow-up

on a report of bullying.

Do not Victimise

the Person Reporting the Bullying

Anyone raising a complaint of bullying must not be

victimised for speaking out and raising the complaint

Support for Both Parties

All employees should be allowed to have a support

person present at all interviews or discussions.

Once a complaint has been raised,both parties

(victim and the alleged perpetrator)must be told

of the support systems available to them.

 

Impartiality

The person in charge of investigating and of resolving the complaint
needs to be impartial and
must have never been directly involved in the incident

they are investigating or attempting to resolve.
An external mediator or investigator may be needed.

Communication of the Process

The investigator needs to communicate about all

aspects of the resolution process to both parties.

Confidentiality

The investigator needs to communicate about all

aspects of the resolution process to both parties.

Documentation

A record of all interviews and meetings must be kept irrespective of

whether the matter is formally investigated or mediated.

 

A record of all interviews and meetings must be kept irrespective of whether the matter is formally

investigated or mediated.

 

The principles should be followed in all formal investigations.This includes:

 

*  Treating the person who is alleged to have committed the bullying as innocent unless the allegations are  

    proved.

*  Investigating any allegation promptly.

*  Communicating all allegations promptly to the alleged bully.

*  Giving the alleged bully a chance to explain his/her version of events.

*  Should the complaint be substantiated disciplinary action needs to reflect the seriousness of the matter.

 

Fact Sheet No.10

 

Bullying is not just "Tough Management "

 

 

When an incident of bullying involves a complaint from an employee against a

manager or supervisor the excuse that it is simply "tough management " may be

made. A WorkSafe Victoria survey ( May 2003) showed that managers are the main
perpetrators of bullying.The survey showed that 39%of victims were bullied by

senior management,32%by a supervisor and 27%by a fellow worker.

 

You need to be able to distinguish between what is "good management " and what is

bullying.The following distinctions will help you do this:

 

Good Management

Bullying

Makes clear rational decisions

Makes inconsistent, random,impulsive decisions

Takes responsibility for outcomes

Blames others for outcomes

Shares credit for ideas /achievements with others

Takes all the credit for others ideas/achievements

Acknowledges own shortcomings

Denies shortcomings, always blames others

Consistent in how decisions/ rules are applied

Inconsistent in how decisions/rules are applied

Fair,treats everyone equally

Shows favouritism or picks on people

Appreciates the input of people more knowledgeable

and experienced than themself

Withholds or selectively releases information, uses

information as a weapon

Values others

Consistently devalues others

Includes everyone

Includes and excludes people selectively

Leads by example

Dominates,sets poor example

Truthful

Untruthful,arrogant

 

(Adapted from "Prevention of Workplace Bullying " The Law Society of NSW)


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