Facebook 'unfriending' can constitute workplace bullying

2015-09-22 Philip posted:

Australia’s workplace tribunal ruled that a woman was bullied after she was unfriended on Facebook following work dispute.

A woman in Australia who unfriended a colleague on Facebook after a dispute at work was found by a tribunal to have committed workplace bullying.

The incident occurred after Ms Roberts, a property agent, complained that her properties were not being adequately displayed in the store window. She left the office crying and later discovered she had been “unfriended” on Facebook.

Ms Roberts said she had been bullied and was left with depression and anxiety – a claim the tribunal accepted.

The case does not mean that unfriending a colleague on Facebook will automatically constitute bullying though an Employment Tribunal here in the UK could also decide that a pattern of unreasonable, hostile, belittling behaviour which features a range of different actions including berating, excluding the employee or the unfriending on Facebook could constitute workplace bullying.

The Fair Work Commission, a type of tribunal, said the decision to unfriend Ms Roberts showed a "lack of emotional maturity" and was "indicative of unreasonable behaviour."

Ms Roberts listed other claims of unfair treatment by her colleague, who was accused of failing to say hello in the morning and of delivering photocopies and print-outs to all staff but Ms Roberts. The commission has issued an order to stop the bullying.

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