Reasonable management direction

Reasonable management direction is not bullying if your managers are properly trained

August 17, 2016 | By Scott Stevens, Vitil

Human Resources Perth

A frustration of managers in addressing human resource job performance or behavioural issues, often arises from accusations of bullying when the performance of an individual team member is addressed. Managers have every right to manage the performance of their team through 'reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable way'. But what does this mean and more importantly, what does this look like in workplaces?

Let's define what is management action that is reasonable for a manager to take.

Some examples of management action may include:

  • Performance reviews or appraisals
  • Addressing performance or behavioural issues
  • Directing and controlling work
  • Altering an employee's jobs or role, or directing them to perform certain jobs in their role
  • Investigating allegations of misconduct
  • Denying an employee a benefit such as discretionary bonus payment.

To then assess if the management action was 'reasonable' the circumstances and context leading up to, during and following the action, needs to be assessed. While there are always times when management action could be more reasonable, in general terms assessing reasonableness may be based on:

  • An objective view of the action and not the employees view of it
  • If the action involved a deviation from company policies or procedures
  • If the action, overall, was reasonable even if some steps in the process may be viewed otherwise
  • An understanding management action does not have to be perfect.

In determining if the management action was carried out in a reasonable way, it is worth noting again that an objective view would be taken and would include:

  • Whether company policies or procedures were followed
  • Whether action or investigations were undertaken in a timely manner
  • The circumstances of the individual involved.

In assessing if the action was carried out in a reasonable way, it is recognised that there may be some degree of humiliation at times when a manager addresses human resource performance or exercises their authority in the workplace.

So by establishing clear and robust workplace policies and procedures and educating managers in following them, will ensure management is reasonable in their approach. Further training to ensure business managers understand how to approach their role, communicate jobs effectively and provide clear unbiased feedback, will ensure misunderstandings do not take place. This will reduce the chance of bullying claims and deliver more engaged human resource teams and individuals, who appreciate their manager's direction can improve their performance.

Vitil Human Resources

Vitil's Consultants are HR professionals in Australia who have experience of a vast array of different situations. We who offer flexible, reliable and affordable outsourced human resource support, where your team is the key focus. By outsourcing HR to a Perth based expert in HR, our experienced recruitment management professionals can objectively assess your environment and your human capital needs, to further develop your business performance.

Contact us for more information.

Back to news headlines