The BetterHR team consistently receives enquiries from HR managers regarding allegations of bullying and harassment.
We always recommend undertaking a workplace investigation as soon as possible in order to comply with mandatory State and Territory WHS obligations to provide a safe workplace.
This has been confirmed in a recent Fair Work Commission case that tested the new Stop Sexual Harassment Orders under section 789FC of the Fair Work Act.
Commissioner Sarah McKinnon stated in regards to a former employee at Rio Tinto, that the worker “does appear to have been exposed to conduct of a sexual nature while at work for Rio Tinto that could readily be described as sexual harassment”. “To the extent that it has not done so already, Rio Tinto should properly investigate the incident recorded on CCTV footage on 11 July 2017 and take appropriate action in line with its obligations under work health and safety legislation.” Piefke  FWC 1138 (12 May 2022)
We strongly recommend updating your bullying and harassment and disciplinary procedures policies to include an investigation process.
Where the allegations are serious, we may also recommend an independent investigation be conducted to ensure procedural fairness.