Earlier this week, the Australian Fair Work Commission ruled that a complaint about a real estate agent’s supervisor “bullying at work” should be upheld. While the list of complaints was lengthy, one of them, about being unfriended on Facebook, may make Australian coworkers think twice about how they interact online
According to the FWC’s decision, a Tasmanian woman named Rachael Roberts had received unfair and unkind treatment from supervisor Lisa Bird—along with her husband, agency owner James Bird—that went on for months. Beyond aggressive and even sexually suggestive comments and treatment, however, an incident in late January was the one that crossed a line enough for Roberts to file her complaint. On that occasion, Roberts was taken aside by Lisa Bird after she had lodged complaints about various, frequent workplace issues to the owner.
Roberts was allegedly scolded by Bird in person, including being described as “a naughty little schoolgirl running to the teacher,” and after that confrontation ended, Roberts checked her phone to see if any negative stories about the incident had been posted to Facebook. At that point, Roberts confirmed that she’d been unfriended by Lisa Bird—a fact that was corroborated by SMS messages almost immediately afterward between Roberts and James Bird.