Regardless of the size of your business, the risk associated with breaches in work health and safety, privacy, workplace bullying, sexual harassment and equal employment opportunity is on the rise. The internet and social media have made your workplace even more complex, as your staff are now vulnerable to online discrimination, sexual harassment and cyberbullying, outside of regular work hours. Furthermore, 70% of Australian businesses do not have a reliable workplace compliance management system in place. As a result, engagement surveys, exit interviews and lost time injury reports all point to a massive shift in absenteeism, staff turnover, lost productivity, decreased employee engagement and a dramatic rise in mental health issues. The absence of a reliable workplace compliance management system can also lead to significant claims for legal liability, lost time spent in investigations, mediation and legal proceedings, lost revenue opportunities, irreparable reputational damage and the destruction of shareholder value.
A South Australian company director has been fined $200,000 for a breach of the Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Act 1986. The incident highlighted the fact that responsibility for OHS risks and exposure cannot be sold off to others, like insurers.
Companies face being liable for sexual harassment charges by their employees even if it happens outside the workplace. After a court upheld a payout to a Melbourne woman harassed by a colleague at a pub by a colleague at a pub outside of normal work hours.
A DRAMATIC increase in the number of workplace bullying allegations has placed huge pressure on small businesses forced to defend many frivolous claims. Employers without proper advice and training, find themselves on the defensive.