An employee working as a business relationship manager has fallen victim to workplace bullying after getting into a series of disagreements with her line manager. The manager began to undermine the employee in her dealings with clients and made comments to her personal trainer about her weight. Most importantly, the manager took a leading role in the decision to demote the employee during a restructure. 

The Employment Relations Authority upheld the employee’s personal grievance claim for unjustified disadvantage.

The ERA held that the employer breached its duty of good faith by failing to undertake a satisfactory investigation into the complaints made by the employee. The employer found that the allegations of bullying were unsubstantiated despite evidence that the employee had been subjected to offensive, humiliating and degrading behaviour.

The ERA noted that the employer showed no remorse for its breaches which were deliberate and sustained over a period of 19 days.

The ERA ordered the employer to reinstate the employee into a version of her old job and to pay a $5,000 penalty plus $7,000 compensation to the employee.