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Manager’s aggressive manner found in breach of Victorian OHS Act

An operations manager at a security firm has been ordered to write a letter of gratitude to a worker who informed WorkSafe Victoria about his bullying behaviour.

He was charged at the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court in Melbourne for breaching section 25(1)(b) of the state’s Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 for failing to meet his duty as an employee to ‘take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons who may be affected by the employee’s acts or omissions at a workplace’.

The court found that the manager had engaged in a range of bullying behaviour which included:

  • speaking to employees loudly, aggressively or in an abrasive manner;
  • using language when speaking to employees that was belittling, degrading or offensive;
  • threatening employees with having to speak to the security firm’s director directly about a workplace issue;
  • threatening employees that he would make a complaint about them to the security firm’s director; and
  • making inappropriate physical contact with an employee.

As a first-time offender, the manager was able to avoid a fine, criminal record and having his name publicised by entering into a Victorian Magistrates’ Court Criminal Justice Diversion Program (diversion plan).

In the hearing, he was able to show that he had complied with the conditions of the plan by completing a course called ‘Discrimination, bullying and harassment for managers and supervisors’, donating $1,000 to Beyond Blue and writing a letter of gratitude to the informant for the opportunity to take part in the diversion plan.

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