The role of restorative justice in workplace incidents has received a major boost from the Legal Services Board in Victoria. According to an April 2010 newsletter from the Creative Ministries Network additional research funding has been received for a quality assurance framework. As mentioned in the article below restorative justice could have particular benefits to instances of workplace bullying.
Several of the suggestions and areas of research echo some of the issues raised in US Assembly Labor Committee hearings on workplace bullying and suicides in the last few days.
“The Creative Ministries Network has received a further grant from the Legal Services Board to undertake a project to develop a Victorian quality assurance framework for any restorative justice service operating in the area of work-related death. The project will also examine whether this framework may apply to work-related injury, especially in areas such as workplace bullying.
Restorative justice in this context is a process that can involve bringing together, under professional guidance and support, all those affected by the death or injury of an employee. It provides a ‘safe place’ in which people can listen to each other and achieve a greater understanding of the causes and the impact of the person’s death or injury. It can include an opportunity for those who were in some way responsible to offer a personal apology and to agree on how best to make amends and prevent this from happening again. This kind of process is most likely to happen after all legal and coronial processes have concluded.
The aim of the project is to ensure that restorative justice processes operate with the highest quality and safety possible. It will do this by developing specialist training for those who may deliver restorative justice processes in this area (e.g. line managers, case supervisors, RJ facilitators). The project will also design suitable practice materials, procedural guides, and an evaluation and monitoring system, which will include feedback from participants. The project will include pilot testing of educational materials and procedures.
The consultant, Dr. Derek Brookes, commenced work on this project in March.”
Restorative Justice has the potential to change the relationship between bully and victim, supervisor and injured worker, company and family of a deceased worker, not specifically by the process itself but more broadly by establishing communication between offenders and victims.