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The Fair Work Commission (FWC), Australia’s workplace tribunal, ruled that a woman who unfriended a fellow employee on Facebook was guilty of workplace bullying.

The FWC said Lisa Bird’s decision to unfriend her colleague, Rachel Roberts, was "indicative of unreasonable behavior”. Bird’s decision, which she made after a workplace spat, was also seen by the FWC as showing “a lack of emotional maturity”, said The Telegraph.

According to the FWC, the behaviour Mrs. Bird displayed was also "provocative and disobliging." The FWC’s punitive action is expected to consist of urging Mrs. Bird and her other colleagues to "stop bullying at work”.

The decision, however, wasn’t the result of a single incident but was part of a pattern of workplace bullying over time. The Facebook unfriending was apparently the latest act in this pattern of bullying, said legal experts.

They also said the FWC’s decision doesn’t mean unfriending a person on Facebook automatically constitutes as bullying.

"The Fair Work Commission didn't find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying," said Josh Bornstein, a lawyer for Maurice Blackburn Lawyers to ABC News.

He noted that what the FWC did find was “a pattern of unreasonable behaviour, hostile behaviour, belittling behaviour over about a two-year period”. The pattern of bullying consisted of a range of different behaviours, including berating and excluding, he added.

Needless to say the FWC ruling is creating a ruckus among online communities. The ruling, however, is raising questions as to how Australian companies must now define and deal with workplace bullying.

Australia’s new workplace bullying law came into effect on January 1, 2014. The new workplace bullying laws form part of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). This is the first time a comprehensive law makes bullying conduct unlawful and provides a right to redress workplace bullying through the FWC, said HCAMag.

Facebook has yet to comment on the ruling.

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