Public Servant bullying claim rejected

Public Servant bullying claim rejected.png

Public Servant bullying claim rejected

The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission has rejected a claim by a public servant that an investigation linked to personal property that he owned amounted to `workplace bullying’ under the current state legislation.

The employee had worked for the Logan City Council (Council) since 2008. He was also the owner of a property within the boundaries of the Council.

In July 2016, a ratepayer complained in relation to works allegedly being undertaken on the property. The HR manager advised the employee that an appropriate building permit and building approval would be required.

In 2018, an investigation commenced following further allegations that the employee had carried out works on the property without building approvals and had improperly accessed Council files in relation to the property.

The employee claimed that the investigation amounted to bullying due to individual Council employees repeatedly behaving unreasonably towards him, ignoring natural justice principles, and entering his property without his knowledge or permission.

Deputy President John Merrell rejected all claims of bullying by the employer.

As he noted,

“the action taken by (staff) during the preliminary investigation, the investigation and the disciplinary procedure was management action because it was action directing or managing (the employee) in his employment…that management action was reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable way, because given that (the employee) was an employee of the Council who was bound by the Code”.

Consequently, Deputy President Merrell was not satisfied that the employee had been bullied in the workplace and dismissed the application.

W v Logan City Council [2021] QIRC 141 29 April 2021

For queries about bullying allegations or any other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 WAL LAW, 0417 622 178 or via email to dean.cameron@workforceadvisory.com.au

Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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