Spotlight: Workplace Bullying & Harassment

Do you have concerns about your workplace culture? Worried that bullying or harassment is impacting the ability of your staff to do their jobs effectively? Are there signs that this may be occurring? Do not delay, act now!

Workplace bullying and harassment is a ticking time bomb and aside from personal psychological harm to your employees, the negative effects are far reaching within organisation processes.

National data collected by Safe Work Australia in 2014–15 showed that 39% of mental disorder claims were caused by harassment, bullying or exposure to violence and as a nation we had the sixth highest rate of workplace bullying when compared with 34 European countries. Relatively high levels of bullying were reported in the Electricity, gas and water supply services; Health and community services; and Government administration and defence industries and of those who reported it, approximately 32.6% experienced it at least once a week.

While the statistics are alarming, today’s busy workplaces sometimes make it difficult to identify and allocate the time and resources to detect, prevent and resolve this type of behaviour and underlying working culture.

Let us help you. At OCM, our handpicked team are highly skilled and experienced in a range of services addressing conduct and performance matters including grievance complaints such as discrimination and harassment. Our expertise covers all stages of the process from fact-finding to the formal disciplinary stage and includes the full range of misconduct investigations from allegations of bullying and harassment to helping agencies respond to fraud or matters that may require the intervention of external anti-corruption agencies such as the ICAC. In undertaking these investigations, we are very sensitive to the impact of such matters not only on complainants/victims and respondents, but also on witnesses and the organisation in general.  We have worked with many government bodies and private agencies and have exposure dealing with minority groups, Indigenous Australians, clients and staff with physical and mental disabilities as well as matters which have attracted significant media attention.

We can provide:

  • Code of conduct, ethics, and workplace investigations;
  • Forensic Investigations;
  • Fact-finding investigations;
  • Investigations into workplace sexual harassment and abuse (current and historical);
  • Mediation Services, and;
  • Identification of systemic issues and the development of practical recommendations.

The depth and breadth of experience of our practitioners include practical and working knowledge of:

  • Best practice investigation methodology;
  • Receiving and understanding instructions;
  • Dealing with parties, including whistle-blowers, complainants, guardians, advocates and lawyers;
  • Interviewing witnesses and respondents;
  • Recording and preparing statements or transcripts of interviews;
  • Document examination and analysis (including data analytics);
  • Preparation of investigation reports, and;
  • Presentations to Executive, Boards, law enforcement and other stakeholders.

Our methodology for conducting investigations and providing mediation services is based not only on better practice but has been formulated and refined over many years of experience. Our team has undertaken hundreds of investigations and possess the knowledge and experience required to address the complex and sensitive issues that workplaces encounter today. With formal training in investigation methodology and mediation, we also regularly train and present to clients at seminars on investigations and mediation methodology.

As a practical example of how OCM can help your organisation deal with allegations of bullying and harassment:

OCM was engaged by an Agency to investigate incidences of alleged bullying and harassment by an employee, that included a physical altercation and other aggressive behaviours.

The alleged conduct spanned a period of over 12 months and the physical altercation arose after a sustained period of aggressive behaviour between two employees. An employee was suspended during the course of the investigation.

OCM, together with the Agency, identified a two-phased approach for this investigation with the first part involving the review of a range of documentation and witness evidence while the second phase involved putting allegations to the affected person and seeking a response to a number of allegations.

During the investigation OCM provided regular briefings to the Agency and advice on how to respond to ongoing issues while the investigation was in process, such as further interpersonal issues amongst staff and the identification of some underlying cultural issues which drove the conduct.

The investigation concluded with OCM preparing an investigation report, which made substantiated findings against the affected person. A supplementary report was also provided looking at the drivers of the conduct amongst the work group.

OCM delivered this investigation on-time and on budget.


Click the link or images below for the full range of OCM’s Workplace Conduct and Investigations services: