WorkSafe investigating City of Stirling for ‘bullying behaviours’ by councillor toward staff

City of Stirling.
City of Stirling.

EXCLUSIVE

“BULLYING behaviours” by a City of Stirling councillor has prompted WorkSafe WA to investigate.

A WorkSafe improvement notice issued on April 12 – which has been provided to the Stirling Times – revealed employees were exposed to behaviours such as yelling, aggressive language and gestures and swearing as well as inappropriate and excessive emails from a councillor.

The review said the behaviours were health risks to staff, causing anxiety, depression and self-harm injuries.

“My investigation revealed a system of work for reducing the hazard (bullying behaviours) is not currently being enforced,” the WorkSafe improvement notice said.

WorkSafe WA confirmed there was an improvement notice against a councillor and the council had until August 4 to put anti-bullying measures in practice.

Despite WorkSafe requiring the notice be displayed on City notice boards, a staff member who spoke to the Stirling Times on condition of anonymity claimed it had not been presented to staff or displayed.

The staff member told the Stirling Times that councillors and the City’s lawyer were called to an emergency meeting last night to discuss the implications on the council.

Under the Local Government Act, individual councillors cannot be removed except in circumstances where the State Administrative Tribunal makes a finding of serious breach under the Act.

The serious breach provisions do not deal with occupational health and safety matters.

A City spokesman confirmed a WorkSafe improvement notice had been issued on April 12.

“Careful consideration is currently being given to identify practicable measures to further mitigate the risk of City employees being exposed to bullying behaviours as required by the improvement notice,” he said.

“This includes displaying the improvement notice in the workplace.”

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