If you think you are being driven too hard by your boss you may soon be able to mount a claim of bullying under drastic changes to workplace laws.
Unions NSW is pushing for an expanded list of risk factors to be incorporated in workplace bullying guidelines that will include worker overload, system changes, and exposure to violence and fatigue factors.
In its recent submission to the federal inquiry into workplace bullying, Unions NSW wants workers to be able to claim damages from psychological and mental health problems resulting from workplace bullying.
The new demands could add significantly to the estimated $36 billion that the issue already costs employers every year.
Workplace bullying is a “significant issue” agreed The Australian Industry Group recently stating that more work was needed to address the problem.
Stephen Smith, the director of national workplace relations, however disagreed with the proposed changes saying that the raft of new laws sought by the unions was not warranted.
Related Story: Telecom boss under probe over 35 workplace suicides
"Safe Work Australia is developing a national code on workplace bullying and this should go a long way towards addressing the different definitions and approaches in each state," Mr Smith said.
"The statistics . . . show that many complaints about workplace bullying turn out to not be valid -- for example if an employer disciplines a poor performing employee in a reasonable way that is not bullying even though the employee may think that it is."
After a recent story on workplace bullying where 35 employees committed suicide during one bosses tenure, readers made the following comments on Yahoo!7 Finance’s Facebook page:
• Workplace bullying needs to stop. Physically and mentally. To be made to feel less than you are by barking demands at staff members is not on! Ilona Lakatos
• People need to be aware of their rights, its one thing to leave and remove yourself from the situation, but that doesn't improve the situation for others nor does it really let you 'win' as they get away with the behaviour and remove the person who is aware that it is wrong. In Australia at least we have clear guidelines and rules, but as a management graduate with an interest in HR its clear that so many people have no idea that these services are out there for them. Sarah Kate Maslen
• In essence, I explain in the blog that there are psychological reasons why bullying-prone persons are attracted to leading positions and that the personality disturbance that brings about bullying makes them a danger not only to the employees but also because they risk to lead the company into a harmful decline spiral. The key factor appears to be deep emotional insecurity bringing about disturbed brain functioning characterized by egotism, ruthlessness, intolerance and aggressiveness. Jaan Suurkula
• Didn't a female employee at Telstra commit suicide because of the stress and bullying she received from her boss??? The best way to solve these sort of problems is for Boards NOT to encourage bullying and harrassment by their CEOs! Elizabeth Streep
To join the conversation visit the Yahoo!7 Finance Facebook page.