In recent times the term ‘corporate governance’, and the increasingly popular ‘good corporate governance’, appear to be regular topics of discussion both in the media and the general population.
These terms are routinely used when considering the actions of a wide range of companies from very small local companies through to global giants such as McDonalds and Nike.
However, it is not always clear what these terms actually mean or what steps a company or its board of directors need to take to ensure they are able to demonstrate that they are exercising good corporate governance.
Boardrooms are often the place of heated debate over a range of matters affecting the operations of an organisation. Vigorous discussion that airs all possibilities can sometimes be beneficial (and necessary) when making critical decisions which will ultimately determine the future direction of a corporation.
It is not unusual for egos to be tested and tempers tried when board members, equally passionate about the best interests of an undertaking, engage in tactics, strategies and politics to put across their point of view.
But, if strategic ‘play’ is perceived as bullying, does a member of an executive committee have recourse to make an application under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act)?
The question arose in Trevor Yawirki Adamson  FWC 1976 and the answer is ‘yes’. The Fair Work Commission took a broad view of the term ‘worker’ to allow a board member to bring an application for a stop bullying order.
The case sends a clear message to corporations that certain antics in the boardroom could potentially be perceived as bullying, leading to actionable claims.