Bullying at work. What does it mean? Looking at smarter ways to manage workplace complaints.

For National Mediation Conference 2016
Presentation authored by:

LARISSA ANDELMAN, mediator and barrister

SALLI BROWNING, mediator, facilitator, investigator, educator

By |September 16th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments|

HR Daily “Bullying”

“Bullying” confusion creates extra conflict

please follow THIS LINK to read the newslatter from HR Daily about Bullying

LG Focus newsletter

Are things getting worse in our workplaces?*
LG Focus February 2016 Edition


Collecting Mediation Data in the Workplace – Measuring the Promise of Mediation

Mediation is an essential strategy for today’s workplace.  It is an essential preventative and risk management measure to resolve issues before they reach critical points that lead to formal complaints, legal action and stress related workers compensation claims. It is also an effective dispute and conflict resolution tool.

To optimise the success of mediation, organisations need to know firstly how to initiate mediation and how to create the best conditions for it to succeed once it has been determined that mediation will proceed.

Mediation has been a key feature of workplace dispute resolution for a significant period of time, however there still appears to some lack of understanding about what it can achieve, how it should be conducted and how to systemise its use.  This can lead to organisations missing out on opportunities to resolve disputes in an efficient and cost effective way.

One reason for this may be, that devoting adequate resources to mediation may be difficult to justify.  Generally most people would say that the costs of conflict in the workplace are high.  Despite this, data to assess just how high are often not captured by HR metrics.

Some of the costs can be extrapolated from data such as legal costs; unplanned leave costs; staff turnover costs, stress related workers compensation claims and costs for conducting independent workplace investigations. However this is unlikely to capture the full picture. For example, this data does not take into account the excessive hours required to manage conflict between employees and the hidden costs when the conflict impacts on employees not involved in the conflict.

At times, conflict that begins between individuals can impact on work output for an entire team and even an entire Department or Branch.  This is especially [...]

An Interview with Salli Browning – ADC ADR Bulletin September 2015

1. Our media is filled with stories about rising Workers Comp and indemnity costs, bullying complaints and workplace conflict. Are things getting worse in our workplaces?

Certainly recent statistics show that bullying complaints have risen significantly to the point that it became part of legislation as of last year.  As well, Workers Compensation injury claims attributing causes to the behaviour of others at work have been steadily increasing.  This has resulted in rising costs and is causing concern to business and organisations as well as to individual employees who believe they have been impacted by the behaviour of others in the workplace.

However, I think it is still difficult to say if this is an indicator things are getting worse across the board, but it does mean that there are some things that workplaces need to address adequately as a matter of priority.  And it does reflect our changing workplaces, as well as probably reflecting a change in capturing metrics to some extent.  A lot of the workplace situations that end up as bullying statistics in complaints and claims would be more correctly assessed as being symptoms of conflict within a work relationship and addressed accordingly.

It seems to me that it is almost impossible to avoid conflict in a workplace.  Workplaces by their nature are often made up of a diverse group of people with a wide variety of needs and expectations. I think the key is to recognise the likelihood of workplace issues arising at some point and manage them as effectively and productively as possible.

So whether or not behaviour is getting worse in the workplace, I think what is getting worse is that any kind of distress or discomfort in the workplace often ends [...]

Mediation: From the Outside Looking In

Ever wondered how mediation looks from the outside? As viewed by an observer. How do community members, workplaces, business, government and other potential users, view mediation practice? Is mediation still perceived as “alternative”, or is it now seen as “the norm”, “the way of the future”, or something else?

In this edition, AIDC chats with a member of “Generation Next”, about her perceptions of mediation.
Oma Lee is a final year law student. As part of her law degree, she has studied the theory of ADR, particularly arbitration, but, as yet, has no direct experience. Mediation is a less familiar process and regarded as a ‘soft’ option.

To balance theory with practice, AIDC offered Oma an opportunity to observe a mediation with experienced Mediator Salli Browning.

Oma was pleased to accept. Afterwards, AIDC sat down with Oma to discover how closely her perceptions matched her experience. This is what she said…


Oma, what did you know about mediation, coming in?

Very little , actually. I didn’t really know how it worked. I’m still in law school so I hadn’t had much experience with mediation beforehand. All I knew were the very general procedural-type facts. I knew how it worked, but I didn’t understand it. And I always saw mediation as one of the more “soft” kinds of ADR. Coming from a legal background, and especially when you are not experienced, one tends to lean towards more “legal “solutions.

How did you perceive the role of the mediator?

I didn’t understand what a mediator did. Like many, I thought that they were just facilitators who sat in between parties and went back and forth!

And the mediation process?

To be frank, I didn’t really contemplate the value of mediation at all.

After sitting in on [...]