First Bullying Claim Fizzles Out

B.D. [2014] FWC 1019 (12 February 2014)

In its first decision under the new legislation, the Fair Work Commission has dismissed an application because the employee concerned failed to respond to simple directions and also to pay the application fee.

When an employee makes a claim under the new regime, there is a basic filing fee of $65.50 which is required to accompany the application. Further, the Commission is entitled to have the cooperation of the applicant in relation to meeting various deadlines for the provision of information and other related activities.

FWC did not dawdle around sending endless letters and making numerous phone calls to the applicant when the applicant had failed to cooperate in the most basic ways. In its decision, FWC said the applicant had been warned to cooperate and if they did not the matter would be struck out.

In this case, the original application was made on 12th January and the FWC required responses by 21st January and these requests were not met. An extension was granted to the 5th February and when that deadline passed without action, FWC moved to dismiss the matter. The formal decision was published a week later.

Employers should be satisfied that FWC has demonstrated in this matter that it will try to deal with bullying matters expeditiously and that employees must comply. Employers who are preparing policy and procedure documentation for their employees about the new anti-bullying laws should include clear advice that failure to pay the filing fee and cooperate with strict deadlines set by FWC will almost certainly result in their claims being dismissed forthwith.