Alicia McCarty's Blog (20)

What can we learn from new bullying decisions?

Workplace bullying has been under the microscope this year, and particularly so in the last month, with the Fair Work Commission handing down a number of decisions relating to stop-bullying applications or unfair dismissals.

It might seem, sometimes, that we have heard it all when it comes to bullying and how it can affect an organisation and its employees, but these decisions have raised some interesting points that you might not have considered relating to costs, workplace culture…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on December 8, 2015 at 8:26 — No Comments

Why sleep is a work issue, and how employers can manage it

An employee's sleeping habits might seem like a personal issue for them to manage, but in fact employers should start prioritising workers' 'sleep health' if they want to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.

While I can't tell you why sleep is still being overlooked as a health issue by many employers, I can give you hard evidence as to why this needs to change, as well as tips from an expert on how to do it.

US researchers…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on November 4, 2015 at 13:30 — 1 Comment

What is "reasonable" when dealing with pre-existing psychological injuries?

Managing workers with pre-existing psychological conditions can be a minefield.

Two recent cases I've written about in my role at OHS Alert provide some clarity for employers on what will - and won't - be considered "reasonable" when determining an employer's liability for exacerbating an existing injury or illness.

Context crucial for "reasonable" appearance comments

In the first case, which was heard in the Federal Court, a worker claimed her mentor's comments…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on October 15, 2015 at 11:59 — 1 Comment

How to tackle work-related cyberbullying

Do you know how to address work-related cyberbullying? Some recent Australian research gives employers tips on how they can protect workers from this problematic and complex issue.

Employers can combat the growing phenomenon by training workers to be more optimistic and resilient, as well as training them in email etiquette, the researchers say.

Employers should also introduce a…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on September 3, 2015 at 14:57 — No Comments

Workplaces can't ignore domestic violence issues

Domestic violence is increasingly being recognised as an issue to be managed in the workplace, with researchers describing it is a "significant form of workplace violence" and a Fair Work commissioner upholding a domestic violence victim's unfair dismissal claim recently.

Why it is a workplace issue

Employers urgently need to develop specific workplace interventions for both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence (DV), the researchers say, after finding in a…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on August 5, 2015 at 15:59 — No Comments

How do your workers cope with stress?

Are your workers more stressed than they used to be? What strategies do they use to cope? Could their stress lead to physical injuries or conditions?

Stress can manifest in any workplace and in any worker, and below, I discuss how workers handle workplace stress and how more workers than ever before are feeling stressed.

Encourage workers to use active coping strategies

Employers can prevent worker stress escalating and becoming chronic by training employees to…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on July 16, 2015 at 14:52 — No Comments

What DOESN'T constitute adverse action?

Federal Courts have tackled many adverse action cases recently, addressing what doesn't constitute adverse action.

A worker who was sacked while absent, an injured employee whose recruitment prospects were cut short, and another who was subjected to an abusive "dressing down" by his manager have all lost their adverse action claims.

Carefully word termination letters

Employers that don't tread carefully when disciplining sick workers can become embroiled in…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on June 10, 2015 at 16:30 — No Comments

How you can improve employee wellbeing

HR professionals are increasingly playing an important role in ensuring workers' wellbeing, as awareness grows about the impact of health on productivity and performance.

In the articles below, I outline the lessons and outcomes from three successful initiatives employers have conducted.

Start small to improve productivity and wellbeing

Many employers are filled with "dread" at the thought of tackling the widespread problem of unhealthy sedentary behaviour among…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on May 20, 2015 at 16:26 — No Comments

HR managers called out for unreasonable behaviour

HR managers have been in the spotlight recently, after a number of courts found they acted unreasonably in dealings with workers. Here are three cases that show where they went wrong.

Communicate with workers clearly, don't leave room for doubt

A manager who was sacked over a safety breach was granted an extension of time to pursue his unfair dismissal claim, after the Fair Work Commission found his HR manager gave him the false impression that his dismissal might be…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on April 9, 2015 at 16:19 — 2 Comments

How to support managers to improve workplace health and safety

How well does your organisation assist managers to reduce absences and improve workplace health and safety?

Managers play a crucial role in these areas, so it's vital they're given appropriate support. Below, I outline three cases that show what some employers are doing right - and wrong.

Equip managers to reduce absences

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service takes a number of steps to hold managers accountable for reducing absence rates, its national WHS manager…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on March 12, 2015 at 15:14 — No Comments

Do you know what constitutes workplace bullying?

Several decisions on bullying have been handed down in commissions and courts over the last couple of months, with the first anti-bullying order being revoked, and the Fair Work Commission clarifying what constitutes bullying "at work".

Here, I summarise just a few bullying-related stories that OHS Alert - the news service I write for and sister site to HR Daily - has covered recently.

In one of them, a commission…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on February 12, 2015 at 10:00 — 1 Comment

Why you can't ignore sedentary work risks and psychological health

Sedentary behaviour and psychological health are emerging as two major challenges employers must face.

OHS Alert - the news service I write for and sister site to HR Daily - writes many stories on these issues, which continue to grow in importance across most industries.

I have summarised the key lessons from some of the top stories of 2014 below.

Sacking of unwell worker tops…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on December 17, 2014 at 9:55 — No Comments

New ways to deal with workplace psychological issues

Giving employees clarity around what to expect from leaders can dramatically reduce the incidence of psychological injuries at work, an employer has found.

OHS Alert - the news service I write for and sister site to HR Daily - covers workplace psychological issues in depth, and I have summarised below the key points HR practitioners can take away from two recent articles.

Psych injuries drop under tailored…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on November 10, 2014 at 13:28 — No Comments

Should you encourage workers to take more sick leave?

In this post, find out why not taking sick leave isn't always a good thing, and how shift work can lead to obesity.

At the recent International Congress of Occupational Health, numerous researchers and practitioners talked about their research on a range of issues, including absenteeism and shift work.

I reported on their findings in OHS Alert - the workplace safety news service I write for and sister site to HR…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on October 10, 2014 at 10:09 — No Comments

When is it fair to sack lying, swearing and threatening workers?

What can we learn from three dismissal cases, involving an employee who lied about working for a competitor while certified unfit for work, another who verbally abused his manager, and a third who threatened to shoot his supervisor?

These recent Fair Work Commission decisions highlight the types of misconduct that can warrant the termination of a worker's employment.

OHS Alert, the workplace safety news service I write…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on September 8, 2014 at 11:55 — No Comments

Four cases help clarify "reasonable management action"

Four recent court decisions in favour of employers help clarify the ever-muddy concept of what constitutes reasonable management action taken in a reasonable way, and what doesn't.

Sister site to HR Daily and the workplace safety news service I write for, OHS Alert, has published many articles relating to reasonable administrative action, as this is an area that's regularly being challenged in employees'…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on July 10, 2014 at 11:18 — No Comments

What not to do when a worker complains of bullying

Two recent cases highlight what employers shouldn't do when they receive bullying complaints.

HR Daily's sister site OHS Alert, the workplace safety news service I write for, has published many articles relating to workplace bullying (and, as you will see from my last blog post, the new bullying laws).

Here I've outlined the key messages from two recent articles, indicating where the content is unlocked…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on June 10, 2014 at 12:05 — No Comments

Are your workplace bullying investigations impartial?

The Fair Work Commission will look at a number of factors when considering workplace bullying investigations as part of an anti-bullying order, including the terms of reference of the investigation and how they were determined, according to a leading employment lawyer.

OHS Alert, the workplace safety news service I write for, and a sister site to HR Daily, has published many articles relating to the new bullying laws…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on May 8, 2014 at 12:25 — 1 Comment

When does a workplace 'tug of war' warrant sacking?

Dismissals involving injured workers, a cancer diagnosis, drug and alcohol policy breaches, and even a workplace tug of war have been handed down in various courts and tribunals recently. Here we discuss the reasons why each was found unfair or justified.

OHS Alert, the workplace safety news service I write for, regularly publishes articles relating to fair and unfair dismissals. You'll recognise some of the site features as…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on April 9, 2014 at 14:17 — No Comments

Are your managers approachable and sensitive?

Managing absent or ill employees is always risky business, carrying with it the danger of unfair dismissal, adverse action and other claims.

The workplace safety news service I write for, OHS Alert, regularly publishes articles relating to these issues. You'll recognise some of the site features as being similar to those of our sister site, HR Daily.

We've summarised the key messages from some recent cases below,…

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Added by Alicia McCarty on March 11, 2014 at 14:00 — No Comments

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