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Canberra Institute of Technology - Bullying Investigation

Sunday, July 29, 2012

WorkSafe has found the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) has seriously failed to address bullying by senior management.

WorkSafe investigated seven cases of bullying against workers at CIT after receiving complaints from current and former staff.

Many of the staff have not returned to work and have received workers compensation.

The WorkSafe investigation found the CIT breached its responsibilities under the Territory's Health and Safety legislation and does not have a proper system in place for preventing or responding to bullying.

"Bullying should never happen anywhere," said WorksSafe ACT Commissioner Mark McCabe.

"When it does happen there should be appropriate systems in place to identify it and stop it. That's what failed in this case.

"There are human beings at the end of these processes, those human beings, those workers, are quite distressed as a result of this and that's a situation that really should have not happened."

CIT has been given six months to implement a raft of changes.

Education Minister Chris Bourke says the CIT will have to prove its implementing the changes.

"A senior IR (industrial relations) specialist has been appointed to the CIT to oversee this process of reform and bring CIT's work safe and healthy practices especially in bullying up to 21st century standards," he said.

"We need to make sure that CIT has 21st century processes in place to manage workplace bullying as well as workplace health and safety issues.

"I'm going to be getting weekly reports under the directorate I've issued."

No one has been sacked for the failures.

CIT says it will make the changes WorkSafe has directed.

CIT chief executive Adrian Marron says it is now obvious the system has not worked.

"The disappointment is that what we thought, and what people put before me thought, were procedures fit for the purpose," he said.

"We thought we were doing a reasonable thing, that hasn't been the case."

Greens MLA Amanda Bresnan says the report highlights the need for a better complaints process.

"The complaints process is crucial and you need to have that expertise there so people will come forward," he said.

Source:  ABC News


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