A Case of Unfriending in Facebook Constituted to Workplace Bullying

Who would have thought that unfriending someone from Facebook is considered a form of workplace bullying?  This was a finding that the Australia Fair Work Commission discovered in a case filed by an employee.

Real estate agent Rachel Roberts has been working for VIEW Launceston, a Tasmania-based real estate agency, since November 2012.  However, Roberts went to the Fair Work Commission claiming that she experienced being bullied at work.  The alleged bully? Roberts claimed that it was the Sales Administrator and wife of the agency’s principal, Lisa Bird.

It all started when Roberts reportedly complained to the agency principal, James Bird, on how her property listings were not getting fair representation on the agency’s front window.  After she voiced out her concern, Lisa Bird accused her of being a “naughty little school girl running to the teacher” and later on deleted Roberts as a Facebook friend.  This was one of the incidents which Roberts used to add to her case.  The Fair Work Commission reportedly found Bird’s action as “indicative of unreasonable behavior” and that it “showed a lack of emotional maturity.”

Aside from the Facebook unfriending incident, Roberts also stated other instances when she was treated unfairly by Bird.  The complainant even told the tribunal that she lost a real estate deal because of the Sales Administrator’s unreasonable behavior.   Interestingly, the company’s argument that they have already released policies, along with a manual, that covers workplace bullying was rejected by the Commission.  Instead, the employer and Roberts will hold a meeting to discuss the anti-bullying order that should be made to address the issue.

Interested to learn more about the case?  Click here to read the full article at Australia’s Financial Review.