“But why?”: Fair Work Commission publishes first reasons for making stop bullying order

BLOG_081815-3Previous Corrs In Briefs have looked at the evolution of the Fair Work Commission (FWC)’s anti-bullying jurisdiction since its commencement on 1 January 2014.[1] In this In Brief, we consider the learnings for employers arising out of the FWC’s first published reasons for making an order to stop bullying under Part 6-4B of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).


During a determinative conference in the recent case of CF and NW v Company A and ED,[2] Commissioner Hampton heard that the two applicants, employees of a small real estate business, allegedly had been the subject of belittling conduct, swearing, yelling, physical intimidation and threats of violence, at the hands of a Property Manager.

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Military children display higher rates of substance abuse and violence – study

BLOG_081815-2Being the child of an active-duty military member may present increased risks for violence, substance abuse and becoming the victim of bullying, a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics finds.

The study adds to a growing body of research on the emotional stresses and resilience of service members’ children, conducted primarily in the past 14 years of America’s multiple military engagements.

The study’s principal researcher, who focuses his research on bullying, said he became interested in studying military members’ children when he heard stories about them being harassed in schools.

“I heard stories about war, and the military, and that’s different. It’s not just bullying,” said Professor Ron Avi Astor of the University of Southern California’s social work department, a co-author of the study. “So, I started almost being ashamed as a civilian that I never saw this group, or understood them.”

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Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace (NY Times)

BLOG_081715-3(NOTE:  This article has already generated shockwaves and a strong denial by Jeff Bezos.  The allegations, if true, include possible systemic disability-based discrimination.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  – Mike Tully)

SEATTLE — On Monday mornings, fresh recruits line up for an orientation intended to catapult them into Amazon’s singular way of working.

They are told to forget the “poor habits” they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they “hit the wall” from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: “Climb the wall,” others reported. To be the best Amazonians they can be, they should be guided by the leadership principles, 14 rules inscribed on handy laminated cards. When quizzed days later, those with perfect scores earn a virtual award proclaiming, “I’m Peculiar” — the company’s proud phrase for overturning workplace conventions

At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.”

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Did the Great Recession fuel a continuing climate of fear in the workplace?

(NOTE:  Dr. Yamada’s blog is included in the list of Online Resources.  – Mike Tully)

According to economists, the Great Recession is officially over, having “ended” sometime during 2009-2010. However, its negative shock waves continue to impact world economies, labor markets, and the experience of work. Among the most costly and underreported effects is how the Great Recession has enabled some employers to stoke an ongoing climate of fear in the workplace.

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Cyber bullying: Father crusades to stop bullies after daughter’s suicide following Facebook tirade (AU)

BLOG_081715-SMichael Cleland was nervous — he had spoken to groups of people before, but he wanted this speech to make an impact, to change behaviour, to save lives.

Students at Glenroy College in Melbourne’s north thought they were in for a boring power-point presentation about cyber bullying — they had heard the warnings before, but never like this.

“Jessica was 18, she was extremely popular in school, she was loving and caring,” Michael began.

Within seconds, the students were silent and enthralled. Within minutes, several were crying.

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Meet the 15-Year-Old Tech Whiz Whose Software Is Turning the Tide Against Internet Hate (IL)

BLOG_081715Most people in most situations could probably benefit from one tiny prompt: “Are you sure you want to do that?” Fifteen-year-old techie Trisha Prabhu says that question could be the difference between life and death.

Prabhu is the inventor of ReThink, a software program that recognizes when users enter phrases often used to cyberbully into a computer—and displays a pop-up window asking the writer to reconsider. The Chicago high school student’s own studies find that a simple prompt (“Are you sure you want to send that message?”) is enough to discourage its teen users from sending nasty missives a whopping 93 percent of the time.

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Appeals court: Jury should decide Spencer school bullying suit

(Note:  It’s interesting that the court applied a negligence test, instead of the more stringent “reckless indifference” test.  Stay tuned.   – Mike Tully)

Rockport, Ind. – An Indiana Court of Appeals ruling says a judge erred by making a summary judgment in a lawsuit accusing a Southern Indiana school corporation of negligence in its handling of a student’s bullying.

The appeals court did not comment on the lawsuit’s merits. Instead, it said there were factual issues open to interpretation that should be decided by a jury.

Parents Don and Janice Johnson filed the lawsuit in May 2012 against the South Spencer School Corp. and the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club in Owensboro, Ky.

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Some protection from the cyber bullies (AU)

bg-portrait1Breaking the disturbing incidence of cyber bullying of school children is behind the launch of a new online platform called StarShell Student.

The system, which its designers Kudos Knowledge say provides real time automated filtering of social media updates, is already being trialled in a number of schools.

The consequences of cyber bullying can be very harmful to children, from reduced enjoyment at school through to more serious long-term problems.

Indigenous children are considered among the most at risk from cyber bullying.

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ACLU critical of Iowa plan to put body cameras in schools


An Iowa school district will become one of the first in the US to outfit its principals and assistant principals with body cameras to record interactions with parents and students. The American Civil Liberties Union is critical of the decision.

“I wonder if they view their students not so much as students but as overactive plaintiffs for whom they have to establish video evidence in case they are falsely accused of misconduct,” Chad Marlow, the ACLU’s advocacy and policy counsel, told RT when discussing the decision by Iowa’s Burlington Community School District to adopt body cameras.

The decision will see the district spend $1,100 on purchasing 13 cameras, to be worn by principals and assistant principals at eight schools in the district attended by 4,300 students.

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