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Australian Workplace Tribunal Rules Facebook Unfriending Constitutes "Bullying" 208

An anonymous reader writes: Unfriending employees on Facebook and not saying good morning could constitute workplace bullying, an Australian workplace tribunal has ruled. Australia's Fair Work Commission decided that administrator Lisa Bird had bullied real estate agent Rachael Roberts after unfriending her from Facebook. The commission's deputy president Nicole Wells said the act showed a "lack of emotional maturity" and was "indicative of unreasonable behavior."
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Australian Workplace Tribunal Rules Facebook Unfriending Constitutes "Bullying"

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  • What (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The Fuck?
    • Re:What (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:43PM (#50598917)

      The relevant quote, buried at the very end of the article:

      "The Fair Work Commission didn't find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying," Josh Bornstein, a lawyer at the firm Maurice Blackburn, told ABC News.
      "What the Fair Work Commission did find is that a pattern of unreasonable behaviour, hostile behaviour, belittling behaviour over about a two-year period, which featured a range of different behaviours including berating, excluding and so on, constituted a workplace bullying."

      More or less, unfriending someone, in and of itself, is not bullying, nor was that the ruling. The unfriending that happened in this case was merely an example of hostile or otherwise unfriendly behavior aimed at the plaintiff by the defendant. Even so, none of the examples of "belittling behavior" strike me as significant enough to involve the court system. The very notion that the courts are being called in to resolve a personal spat strikes me as utterly ridiculous.

      • Re:What (Score:5, Informative)

        by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:48PM (#50598979)
        So the key statement is, "The Fair Work Commission didn't find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying," which is the exact opposite of what the Slashdot summary says.

        At most, unfriending someone on Facebook in this particular instance was merely another action in a series of actions that as a whole constituted systemic bullying.
        • Re:What (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2015 @02:18PM (#50599375)

          Yeah. Slashdot likes to use sensationalist headlines to get clicks. And it works.

        • So the key statement is, "The Fair Work Commission didn't find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying," which is the exact opposite of what the Slashdot summary says.

          But of course. Would it make for great discussion otherwise? To be fair to Slashdot the Daily Telegraph has a very similar headline.

        • It's the exact opposite of what the source article title says to. Just standard click bait garbage.

          A number of acts all of which are not considered "workplace bullying" individually can when considered as a whole constitute "workplace bullying" is apparently the actual ruling. Which should be obvious since repetition is part of the usual bullying definition.

      • I think the proper and only concise and appropriate response to this has got to be...

        Are You Fucking Kidding Me???

      • Chronical humiliation, or harassment is a thing. It is perhaps a "crime" worth recognizing because it just makes someone's life crappy for no good reason. It makes no sense to live in such prosperity and wealth and to have a crappy sad life.

      • by jdavidb ( 449077 )

        The very notion that the courts are being called in to resolve a personal spat strikes me as utterly ridiculous.

        It's because it involves employment. We've come up with the idea that employment is not personal and should involve everybody. If you want to abort a baby that's a private decision between you and your doctor, but if money changes hands and somebody is employed we all need to stick our noses into it to make sure everything is "fair."

      • by jfengel ( 409917 )

        Hey, thanks. This feels like how I used to read Slashdot, skipping past TFA to get the real story from the comments. Especially when it was obvious that TFS was rubbish.

      • So, when does unfriending someone constituted as "unreasonable behavior"?
        It is still ridiculous.

        • So, when does unfriending someone constituted as "unreasonable behavior"?
          It is still ridiculous.

          What's the difference between shredding documents due to paranoia, and shredding only one specific document which had evidence of illegal activity that the courts were after? One of them is a normal action, the other constitutes a crime.

          As for your question, it becomes unreasonable behaviour when it is done as part of a repeated and systematic attack on a person for the sole reason of bullying and belittling. Nothing individually is unreasonable but all together it shows a pattern of behaviour and that patt

      • Even so, none of the examples of "belittling behavior" strike me as significant enough to involve the court system.

        The behaviors were only some of them and though each individual one is not significant, combined that can make working hell. They may also lead to other employees treating her similarly. For example, if the boss stops acknowledging an employee's presence others may stop as well.

        The very notion that the courts are being called in to resolve a personal spat strikes me as utterly ridiculous.

        It is not the courts. It is the Fair Work Commission [fwc.gov.au], a body set up to deal with situations like this.

        She could quit but that has unemployment benefits issues. Where I live if you quit you don't get any benefits.

      • “[Unfriending this colleague] evinces a lack of emotional maturity and is indicative of unreasonable behaviour,” the tribunal ruled.

        So unfriending someone is among the list of things which can constitute bullying, even though by itself it wouldn't be.

        Though personally, I think it's a good idea to unfriend every litigious crybaby who wants to look at my Facebook account to see if I said something she didn't like. A little Bird told me so.

      • Even so, none of the examples of "belittling behavior" strike me as significant enough to involve the court system.

        None of the examples individually are. But together they make up an example of systemic bullying which has lead an employee to be brought to tears just for going to work. Do you think that's an acceptable employer / employee relationship?

        Australia has very clearly defined workplace harassment and bullying laws that protect individual employees, and employees must prove that any case is systematic i.e. it needs to be repeated and done with specific intent against the will of a person.

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:22PM (#50598609)

    So, unfriending someone is bullying, presumably not accepting a friend request in the first place is bullying, maybe not sending someone a friend request is bullying too? We are all bullies now.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:23PM (#50598621)

    And people wonder why I quit Facebook years ago. I can't wait until the place turns into a nest of libel lawsuit discovery in the next few years - my popcorn is ready.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:32PM (#50598747)
      That just means you are socially excluding everyone. Your anti-social aggression warrants charges for terrorism.
    • This isn't a Facebook Issue. This is a whiny self-centered wimpy fragile human, who should probably be put in a mental institution's padded cell, because obviously life is too hard for them.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      It must be comforting to think that everyone is wondering why you quit Facebook and spending their time wishing you'd come back and share your quips and insights on daily trivia.

      Unfortunately, it's not true. They're not wondering. They're not even talking about you.

    • And people wonder why I quit Facebook years ago. I can't wait until the place turns into a nest of libel lawsuit discovery in the next few years - my popcorn is ready.

      That will only happen if you read the slashdot headline. The daily mail actually has this quote: "The Fair Work Commission didn't find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying" So yes Facebook is EVIL. EVIL I SAY!

      I'm wondering if I should instead be quitting Slashdot.

  • When you loose the right to choose your own friends, what does that say about a society? These people need to wake the fuck up and statt living in the real world.

    • "The Fair Work Commission didn't find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying," Josh Bornstein, a lawyer at the firm Maurice Blackburn, told ABC News.

      "What the Fair Work Commission did find is that a pattern of unreasonable behaviour, hostile behaviour, belittling behaviour over about a two-year period, which featured a range of different behaviours including berating, excluding and so on, constituted a workplace bullying."

      First off, nobody said anything to the contrary.

      Second, t

      • "The Fair Work Commission didn't find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying," Josh Bornstein, a lawyer at the firm Maurice Blackburn, told ABC News.

        "What the Fair Work Commission did find is that a pattern of unreasonable behaviour, hostile behaviour, belittling behaviour over about a two-year period, which featured a range of different behaviours including berating, excluding and so on, constituted a workplace bullying."

        First off, nobody said anything to the contrary.

        Yes they did. See the headline and opening line of this very story. It's complete and utter bollocks, and contradicted entirely by the quotes from the article you've given above, but it still said it.

        Honestly, some people. You've supposed to RTFS and not RTFA, not the other way around!

      • That's one reason why I thought that Google+'s circles was superior to the "Friends" label on Facebook. Sure, I can add my co-workers to the "Co-Workers" circle and show them only work-appropriate posts. Meanwhile, my friends can get the NSFW posts.

        Of course, Google+ messed it up with their real name policy. My primary social media network is Twitter where I can use a pseudonym and not get my account revoked for not using my real name. (And yes, I'm aware that my Slashdot account uses my real name. Thi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:26PM (#50598667)

    "The Fair Work Commission didn't find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying," Josh Bornstein, a lawyer at the firm Maurice Blackburn, told ABC News.
    "What the Fair Work Commission did find is that a pattern of unreasonable behaviour, hostile behaviour, belittling behaviour over about a two-year period, which featured a range of different behaviours including berating, excluding and so on, constituted a workplace bullying."

  • ... than just unfriending someone or not saying "good morning".

    .
    Please tell me there is more than just those items. There has to be something else going on here. There has to be....

  • Clickbait (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Article title: Facebook 'unfriending' can constitute workplace bullying, Australian tribunal finds

    Article content: Legal experts said the case did not mean that unfriending a colleague on Facebook would automatically constitute bullying.
    "The Fair Work Commission didn't find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying," Josh Bornstein, a lawyer at the firm Maurice Blackburn, told ABC News.

    "What the Fair Work Commission did find is that a pattern of unreasonable behaviour, hostile beha

  • Read the article (Score:5, Informative)

    by gameboyhippo ( 827141 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:28PM (#50598705) Journal

    The title is misleading. The unfriending was part of a range of things that the one coworker did to her coworker.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The title is misleading. The unfriending was part of a range of things that the one coworker did to her coworker.

      It's more than misleading, it is an outright lie.

  • In today's society of entitled dips*its, even disagreeing with someone is bullying.

  • click-bait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:35PM (#50598781)

    "What the Fair Work Commission did find is that a pattern of unreasonable behaviour, hostile behaviour, belittling behaviour over about a two-year period, which featured a range of different behaviours including berating, excluding and so on, constituted a workplace bullying."

    it just so happened that unfriending happened in that period.

    click-bait

  • Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot?!?
    If you can be hurt by someone not speaking to you or by unfriending, you sorta deserved to be called a pussy, don't you?
    • If you can be hurt by someone not speaking to you or by unfriending, you sorta deserved to be called a pussy, don't you?

      No.

      What isn't deserved is for that other person to be branded a bully simply because they did those things to you.

      But then, that's not what happened here. At all. The headline is pure click-bait.

  • Clearly a hoax. The correct expression would be "decobbering".

  • then i am in big DO-DO

    The very last post on FB was unfriending EVERYONE
    and telling FB to go shove a dried shucked corn cob up it's rear end

  • "The Fair Work Commission didn't find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying," Josh Bornstein, a lawyer at the firm Maurice Blackburn, told ABC News. Unfriending someone isn't workplace bullying, and shame on the poster for suggesting such a thing without even reading the article.
    • If the original article can't even write an accurate headline, what hope is there for Slashdot editors to do better? Based on past performance, I doubt they even read the articles they post.

  • As a contractor, I was assigned the cubicle with a post in the middle of it... Help! I'm being oppressed!
  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:47PM (#50598969) Homepage

    Australian Workplace Tribunal Rules Facebook Unfriending Constitutes "Bullying"

    They didn't rule that at all. Just read the last paragraph of the article:

    "The Fair Work Commission didn't find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying,"

    That is a complete contradiction of the headline and the opening of the summary.

    If Slashdot had a shred of integrity left, it would retract this story in its entirety and apologise for talking bollocks.

    • That is a complete contradiction of the headline and the opening of the summary.

      Yes this contradiction is too complete, it sounds like suspiciously specific denial, that's why it made it to headline :P

  • In my opinion, use of so-called 'social media' itself very often shows a lack of emotional maturity in the first place, and perhaps more than a little narcissism; it's all about look at me, look at me, look at me!


    Furthermore, if 'unfriending' someone could be considered bullying, then sending someone a friend request could also be considered bullying, because you're putting that person on the spot to accept the request; the reciprocal of this would also be true: failure to graciously accept any and all
  • Welcome to Australia, the land of idiots.
  • Unfriending employees on Facebook and not saying good morning could constitute workplace bullying

    Well, of course it could, but that's no reason to get the law involved.

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @02:19PM (#50599383)

    ....I'm so glad I don't have a Facebook account.

    Friend me, unfriend me, ignore me, whatever......I'm just happy to not have this drama-magnet in my life.

  • That's not all. There are people, many of whom post on Slashdot on Fridays, who really believe blocking someone on Twitter = Censorship.

  • Some people are to stupid and much tor fragile to be let out of the house. What is next? Telling people it is illegal to end a friendship online? Whoever thinks such is reasonable really needs to get a life. And yes, I will unfriend any among my social networks who I find out think that this is reasonable. Life is too short to put up with nitwits.

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