One Australian tribunal could well have changed attitudes to bullying at work, after ruling that something as simple as ‘unfriending’ a colleague on Facebook could be classed as ‘bullying’.
You might not even dislike Mandy from accounts, just the 20 pictures she posts of her kid crawling on the floor every night, but you’re probably going to have to keep following her unless you want to be dragged into the HR office.
However, before you go all out and start liking each and every one of next desk neighbour Bob’s posts about his ‘clean eating’ in case you’re seen as the bully in the office, take note that the ruling added there has to be ‘repeated incidents of unreasonable behaviour’.
The tribunal ruled that in the case of estate agent Rachael Roberts, from Launceston, Tasmania, her colleague Mrs Bird had repeatedly caused her stress and anxiety, leading to her being signed off by a psychologist.
Roberts made 18 allegations of bullying in total, of which the unfriending on Facebook was only one, and was viewed in the context of other incidents, nine of which were upheld by the tribunal.
Unfriending was also seen as showing ‘a lack of emotional maturity’ according to the tribunal, so unless you want to be seen as the one who throws their toys out of the pram, make sure you just roll your eyes at status updates, and do not click that unfriend button.