Fair Work ruling could broaden access to anti-bullying laws

The Australian, May 24, 2017

Chairpersons could be exposed to anti-bullying claims from board directors after a new ruling by the Fair Work Commission.

The proceedings involved ­Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara which oversees 103,000sq km of land in remote South Australia where Aboriginal people have been given title.

APY chairman Trevor Adamson lodged a stop-bullying order against deputy chairman Bernard Singer and general manager Richard King, alleging they refused to deal with him, denied him minutes, prevented quorums and ­defamed him.

The duo rejected the allegations and argued the commission did not have the jurisdiction to consider the claim because Mr ­Adamson was not a “worker” as defined by the anti-bullying jurisdiction of the Fair Work Act.

But commissioner Peter Hampton found his “provisional view” was that Mr Adamson, as chairman, was a worker and was entitled to make the application.

“It seems to me that the activities undertaken by Mr Adamson in attending to the duties of chairperson of APY Inc represent work,’’ he said.

He said Mr Adamson, was not engaged by APY Inc but was elected to the executive board and then nominated as its chair. Mr Adamson last month failed to be re-elected.