BlandsLaw - Blog posts from disciplinary meeting
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Understanding bullying and reasonable management action - February 2019

Informing employees of underperformance can be a difficult task for employers, particularly when employees don’t handle the feedback well. It is a common scenario that disgruntled employees retaliate by making a ‘bullying’ claim against their supervisors. The good news is that employers are well within their rights to implement processes to rectify poor performance to steer workers back on track. Provided that the steps taken by the employer constitute reasonable management action that has been carried out in a reasonable manner, the worker’s bullying claim will not succeed.

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A recent Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) decision* highlights how easily employers may breach anti-discrimination legislation without necessarily intending to do so.

The complainant, a prospective employee, brought a claim against Woolworths because the online job application form required him to state his gender, date of birth and confirm his ability to lawfully work in Australia. Essentially the claim was that the requirement for job applicants to supply this information breached Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act by unnecessarily requesting information during the recruitment process which could form the basis for discrimination.

Woolworth’s arguments included that the information allowed them: to recruit for positions where employees needed to be over 18 years of age; to comply with gender reporting requirements; and avoid breaching the federal immigration legislation.

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