Vince Scopelliti's Blog (74)

Workplace Party Pitfalls and Perils (A Christmas Story)

At a time when workers increasingly work remotely, communicate online or use hot desks, the annual staff Christmas party is a valuable opportunity to get everyone interacting face to face. 

A Christmas party is also a good way of getting staff who rarely see one another during the working week to meet, to reward staff for hard work, to celebrate the success of the past year, and to motivate employees…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on November 15, 2017 at 12:19 — No Comments

When Gender is Irrelevant: Male-On-Male Workplace Harassment

Sexual harassment and predatory behaviour can happen to anybody. When most people think about this type of conduct, it is generally in the context of male-to-female harassment or, perhaps more rarely, female-to-male harassment. However, this is simply not the case - sexual harassment can be perpetrated by anybody towards anybody. 

A recent decision of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal of NSW highlights the potential for…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on November 8, 2017 at 12:10 — No Comments

How Medical Evidence Supports an Unbiased Investigation

When claims of abuse in care come to light, strong emotions can arise for all concerned. It is not surprising that when an unexplained injury is uncovered, family members, care staff, and employers will want immediate answers. 

However, it is vital that employers maintain clear thinking and remain objective when investigating allegations of abuse in care. 

Engaging an external…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on November 1, 2017 at 11:30 — No Comments

'I Was Sent to Coventry' and Other Social Bullying Techniques

When we think of bullying, the clichés of schoolyard taunts might spring to mind. Yet as we learn more about the wide-ranging techniques of bullying, it is clear that this deeply complex phenomenon can be hard to pin down. 

For example, being ignored, or made an outcast in any situation - 'sent to Coventry' - can be highly distressing. This insidious brand of social bullying unfortunately arises in…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on October 25, 2017 at 9:50 — 1 Comment

Grooming, or an Error in Judgment?

No employer likes to think that one of their staff members might deal inappropriately with a client, or even could possibly commit a criminal act. But all employers need to be aware of the potential for professional boundaries to be crossed in these ways. This is particularly important for organisations that work directly with vulnerable members of society, including children, the elderly, and the disabled …

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on October 18, 2017 at 13:30 — No Comments

Professional Distance and Social Media

Maintaining professional distance in the workplace can be challenging at the best of times. There is a very fine line between managing interpersonal relationships, ensuring that colleagues and co-workers get along with each other, and developing such close relationships that potential conflicts of interest or social problems arise. 

This juggle has become even more difficult with the advent of social…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on October 11, 2017 at 13:00 — No Comments

Codes of Conduct and Different Professions

A Code of Conduct sets out the 'golden rules' or guidelines in which employers and industry bodies codify acceptable standards of behaviour in the workplace. 

Individual businesses can develop their own Codes of Conduct applicable to their specific interests. Many professional bodies also implement standardised Codes of Conduct covering behaviour which is perceived as being a particular risk…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on October 4, 2017 at 14:08 — No Comments

Professional Distance and Conflict of Interest at Work

During the seventies and eighties, organisations started to realise that the improper use of power and authority and undeclared and/or ineffectively managed conflicts of interest, posed a significant risk to their integrity and public trust. 

The requirement for ethical business dealings focuses the spotlight on conflicts of interests and the factors involved in creating the perception of conflicts…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on September 20, 2017 at 17:00 — No Comments

Document Examiners: When to Make Use of Them

Should the outcome of a workplace investigation be taken on review, the integrity of the evidence, amongst other aspects, will come under scrutiny. 

In cases where documentary evidence is relevant, it can be valuable to present expert evidence or obtain an opinion from a document examiner. 

But as a recent NSW case involving document examination demonstrates, it is also…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on September 14, 2017 at 11:08 — No Comments

Considering Suspending an Employee? What You Should Know

When faced with an allegation of serious misconduct made against a worker, an organisation may seek to suspend the respondent. 

But in what situations is it appropriate to take this kind of action?

THE LEGALITY OF SUSPENSION 

When taking the significant step of temporarily suspending an employee, an organisation must be able to…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on September 6, 2017 at 13:00 — No Comments

Bullying in High Stress Workplaces: Can an Investigation Help?

A disproportionately high number of allegations of bullying in emergency services and other high stress environments have led to a referral to the NSW parliament for an inquiry in May 2017, looking at the policy response to bullying, harassment, and discrimination in certain emergency services. A review is also being conducted…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 30, 2017 at 17:32 — No Comments

What Evidence Should Be in a Workplace Investigation Report?

In every workplace, there will eventually be a situation where an investigation needs to be carried out into an employee's compliant or conduct. One of the most crucial aspects of conducting workplace investigations includes preparing an investigation report which can be relied upon for any future purpose, including carrying out and implementing disciplinary action against an employee.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 23, 2017 at 14:27 — No Comments

How Can Employers Assist Workers with Acquired Brain Injury?

A decision by the Queensland Court of Appeal highlights why employers must take into account the needs of workers with an acquired brain injury, in order to avoid being considered to have discriminated against them. 

In Chivers v State of Queensland (Queensland Health), the Court of Appeal heard a case pursued by Ms Chivers, who was employed as a registered nurse with Queensland Health (QH). She…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 16, 2017 at 7:30 — No Comments

Complaints Management Under the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was introduced in mid-2013 to facilitate a support system for disabled Australians. In many ways, this has begun to streamline and simplify the process whereby many thousands of Australians under the age of 65, who have sustained a permanent and residual disability, are able to access healthcare services. But what happens when the system goes wrong and complaints need to be made…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 9, 2017 at 7:30 — No Comments

Investigating Allegations of Abuse in Aged Care Facilities

Aged care providers have been in the media spotlight in recent weeks. While some are alleged to have financially exploited the elderly others are alleged to have provided a substandard level of care. Research conducted by Curtin University in 2015 suggests that some 167,000 older Australians may be…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 2, 2017 at 13:00 — No Comments

Natural Justice - Privacy and Reliance on Covert Workplace Surveillance

In a recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC), a nurse has been reinstated following her termination in circumstances where covert video surveillance was the 'sole foundation' of allegations against her. The FWC also found that her employer's human resources department acted incorrectly and inappropriately in the circumstances surrounding her dismissal.

FACTS OF THE CASE

Ms…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 26, 2017 at 7:00 — No Comments

Performance Management to Avoid Bullying Complaints

Staff who are subject to increased employer supervision or performance management may feel that they are being personally victimised, attacked or even bullied.

It may be difficult to distinguish between reasonable performance management and bullying, especially when the worker involved is sensitive by nature, has personal stress factors, fails to acknowledge their own performance shortcomings or is emotionally…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 19, 2017 at 12:31 — 1 Comment

Protecting Whistleblowers During Workplace Investigations

Feedback from employees is crucial to employers wanting to keep their finger on the pulse of a business. It is essential for management to be aware of risky behaviours occurring within a workplace, such as bullying, circumstances giving rise to easily preventable worker's compensation claims, failure to comply with regulations, corruption, or even criminal activities such as embezzlement, theft or fraud. In…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 12, 2017 at 13:30 — No Comments

Is Your Complaints Procedure Effective?

Risk management is an important aspect of running a successful business: Whether this takes the form of ensuring compliance with corporate governance programs, reducing instances of workplace fraud or financial misconduct, or eliminating bullying or other forms of harassment. 

Having a strong and coherent whistleblower program in place can help protect your organisation's interests in all of these situations. 

An…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 6, 2017 at 14:50 — 1 Comment

How Can HR Support Staff During a Workplace Investigation?

Where a complaint has been made by one staff member against another, and a workplace investigation takes place, all kinds of emotions can be running high. 

People participating in a workplace investigation, whether as complainants, respondents or even witnesses, can suffer symptoms of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as emotional distress. 

Respondents in particular can feel abandoned and cold-shouldered, especially in cases where…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on June 28, 2017 at 17:25 — No Comments

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