Work poli­cies urged to re­duce risky clown­ing

The Advertiser - Careers - - Front Page -

WORK­PLACE poli­cies are needed to dis­cour­age em­ploy­ees from tak­ing part in cur­rent and fu­ture fads, with em­ploy­ers warned that plank­ing is only the ‘‘tip of the ice­berg’’ of in­ap­pro­pri­ate work­place stunts.

Lawyers and work­place authorities say a stunt, such as plank­ing, may not be in­her­ently dan­ger­ous.

How­ever, em­ploy­ers and em­ploy­ees may both be legally li­able if it goes wrong.

Some com­pa­nies al­ready have fired staff for plank­ing – ly­ing face down on un­usual sur­faces.

They po­ten­tially face legal ac­tion for un­fair dis­missal and other com­pen­sa­tion claims if staff feel they were in­ap­pro­pri­ately sacked.

Kelly & Co work­place re­la­tions lawyer Clare Rai­mondo says the dan­ger and fre­quency of stunts that em­ploy­ees per­form at the work­place will only be­come worse as they try to outdo each other on so­cial net­work­ing sites.

She says em­ploy­ers need to take steps to dis­cour­age fads, in­clud­ing zero-tol­er­ance poli­cies.

‘‘Em­ploy­ers need to put poli­cies in place now to en­sure they know how to deal with these sorts of un­usual an­tics,’’ she says.

‘‘This shouldn’t be just re­stricted to plank­ing but should also cover any trends that may take its place in the fu­ture which could also have an im­pact on work­place safety.’’

Other re­cent and emerg­ing fads in­clude ghost­ing (which in­volves a per­son fol­low­ing some­one closely while they are walk­ing), ex­treme sitting ( per­form­ing dance rou­tines with a stool then sitting on it) and ghost rid­ing (putting an au­to­matic car into gear, hop­ping out and dancing on the roof or next to the car, be­fore get­ting back in).

SafeWork SA re­minds em- ploy­ers they must pro­vide a safe work­place but em­ploy­ees also need to take rea­son­able care to pro­tect their own health and safety at work.

The group says it is up to the em­ployer how it chooses to en­force its work­place safety poli­cies.

If stunts are in breach of safe work sys­tems, the em­ployer is en­ti­tled to take dis­ci­plinary ac­tion.

Linkbridge di­rec­tor Grant Archer says em­ploy­ers need to recog­nise many acts are ‘‘cy­ber­con­duct’’. To ad­dress them ef­fec­tively, they must be han­dled as a so­cial me­dia is­sue and not through tra­di­tional means.

‘‘ Re­spond­ing solely to the craze it­self is re­spond­ing to a symp­tom and does not treat the cause,’’ he says.

‘‘ There is no doubt that breaches of safety or hy­giene need to be dealt with.

‘‘But only look­ing at the is­sue in this way will not stop the flow of fads be­cause the tech­nol­ogy con­tin­ues to de­velop and thrive.

‘‘Em­ploy­ers should take steps to get to the heart of the mat­ter by ed­u­cat­ing their staff on the risks of cy­ber­con­duct to the or­gan­i­sa­tion, to them and to their fu­ture.

‘‘It is only when the myth of the ‘cool’ is de­bunked will we start see­ing this is­sue man­aged.’’

A stunt, such as plank­ing, may not be in­her­ently dan­ger­ous but em­ployee and em­ployer may be legally li­able if it goes wrong.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.