“Unfriending” On Facebook Constitutes Bullying Says Fair Work Commission

“Unfriending” On Facebook Constitutes Bullying Says Fair Work Commission

The Australian Fair Work Commission has ruled in favour of a victim of bullying who was unfriended on Facebook by a colleague.

Rachael Roberts, an employee of ten years at a real estate agent the View in Tasmania, alleged that she was bullied at work by sales administrator Lisa Bird on 18 different occasions.

Roberts claimed that Bird, who is also the wife of the agency’s principal and co-director James Bird, acted aggressively towards Roberts. The result of the bullying was Roberts was unable to sleep, being depressed and highly anxious, resulting in the prescription of medication by her general practitioner and treatment from a psychologist.

Roberts told the commission that during a meeting, Mrs Bird had accused her of being disrespectful and called her a “naughty little schoolgirl running to the teacher”.

“Roberts said the conduct was humiliating and hostile and left her in a very distressed state and that she left the office crying. Roberts said that when she was sitting in her car after leaving the office it occurred to her that Mrs Bird might make a Facebook comment about the incident. Upon checking Facebook, only minutes after the incident, she found that Mrs Bird had deleted her as a Facebook friend.”

Fair Work Commission deputy president Wells, who judged this case, ruled:

“This action by Mrs Bird evinces a lack of emotional maturity and is indicative of unreasonable behaviour, the likes of which I have already made findings on.

“I am of the view that Mrs Bird took the first opportunity to draw a line under the relationship with Ms Roberts on 29 January 2015, when she removed her as a friend on Facebook as she did not like Ms Roberts and would prefer not to have to deal with her,” Ms Wells said.

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