Dulux seeks law firm’s help over employee bullying claims [Herald Sun, by John Dagge, 01/09/2014]

DULUXGROUP has hired a legal firm to investigate allegations of long-term workplace bullying in one of its key business units.

Australia’s largest paint maker has hired M+K Lawyers to investigate complaints from several employees that they were bullied by a senior manager based at the company’s Melbourne headquarters.

The claims, lodged at separate times, extend back some three years and the external investigation was ordered after the issue was brought to the board’s attention by an employee, BusinessDaily understands.

Some employees who lodged complaints have since left the company.

The manager accused of bullying works in a division that makes specialised products.

That division, which employees about 55 people, has experienced far higher staff turnover than other Dulux business with a number of senior sales representatives leaving the company amid claims of bullying, BusinessDaily has been told.

It is also understands complaints were lodged with the Dulux human resources department.

M+K Lawyers specialise in commercial law for mid-tier companies.

Dulux corporate affairs manager Lisa Walters said while it was not appropriate to comment on individual cases, the company did not tolerate bullying.

“On successive anonymous employee surveys DuluxGroup has ranked among the highest-performing companies globally in terms of the care and concern it shows for employees, and providing a workplace where people feel respected,” she said in a statement.

Dulux declined to respond to more detailed questions on the matter.

Earlier this year, the company reported an 88 per cent jump in net profit to $60 million for the six months to March, up from $32 million a year earlier.

Dulux has been listed on the Australian Stock Exchange since July 2010, when it was spun out of explosives and chemicals group Orica.