Housekeeping - Unreasonable Work Expectations?

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20 May 2014
Thank you for this thread. After reading Stacey's response [in Public service - Insults from Manager - Workplace Bullying], I cannot help but to ask about my work situation.

You mentioned:
  • unreasonable work expectations, including too much or too little work, or work below or beyond a worker's skill level...
At work, we are only allowed to clean a room for 25minutes regardless if the room has two beds, bath tub, etc. Meaning for rooms with one bed and no bath tub it must be cleaned in 25 minutes and same time applies with suite rooms and rooms with two beds and bath tub. For stay over rooms, they only give us 15 minutes to supply toiletries, change the linens, collect the rubbish and fix the bed. They also require us to clean the lift area, corridor, walls and maid reserve. But they don't give extra time for these areas. We are allowed to take our unpaid lunchbreak if we are given more than 5 hours of work. Walking to and from different floors and rooms are not also given extra time. More often than not we got rooms for 2 floors. Sometimes we work without trolleys and we need to carry the heavy dirty linens all the way to the maid reserve and get new linens and go back to the rooms. Sometimes also there are no linens in the maid reserve and we need to go down to the housekeeping office to get our own linens. This is very tiring as it requires heavy load and a lot of walking. Yet the manager always say our performance is awful and disappointing especially if we work beyond our time. He is only concern for the time and budget of the company. They are not concerned about our health.

Cleaning a room in 25 minutes is not doable yet they expect more from us. They expect us to move like a robot obviously.

Can this be classified as bullying? or something else? Is the company policy legal?

Denise I

Active Member
15 April 2014
Did you sign a contract? Is the allowed time per room mentioned in the contract? If you answer yes to the questions, then your complaints will not get a favourable response.

However, despite signed written contract, employers have a duty under Work Health and Safety Act 2011 No 10 which says:

(5) In this section, due diligence includes taking reasonable steps:
(a) to acquire and keep up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters, and
(b) to gain an understanding of the nature of the operations of the business or undertaking of the person conducting the business or undertaking and generally of the hazards and risks associated with those operations

Duty to consult workers and their representatives:

Each person conducting a business or undertaking must, so far as is reasonably practicable, consult with workers and HSRs (if any) about matters that directly affect them. This duty extends to consulting with all kinds of workers not just the PCBU’s own employees, including any contractors and their workers, employees of labour hire companies, students on work experience, apprentices and trainees.

A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the provision of adequate facilities for workers....

When considering how to provide and maintain facilities that are adequate and accessible, a person conducting a business or undertaking must consider all relevant matters including:

„ ~the nature of the work being carried out at the workplace
„ ~the nature of the hazards at the workplace
„ ~the size, location and nature of the workplace
„ ~the number and composition of the workers at the workplace

I suggest you discuss with them your concerns regarding your health and safety under the existing policy. From there, you can observe how they will react and whether they would be open about revising their policies based on WHS Act.

Personal Opinion Only


Hi Housekeeper,

It sounds like you have a very difficult job and your boss doesn't make it easy for you. But just a few things that I should point out about the except you quoted as one type of conduct which may constitute bullying according to the Fair Work Commission:
  • unreasonable work expectations, including too much or too little work, or work below or beyond a worker's skill level...
Firstly, the Fair Work Commission only deals with instances of bullying if you work for a constitutionally covered business. You can read more about it here.

But other authorities such as Safe Work Australia define bullying similarly. It is important to determine what you issue is here, bullying or simply a very taxing job and a hard boss. Three questions can help to determine whether certain behaviour falls within the definition: Is the behaviour being repeated? Is the behaviour unreasonable? (i.e. victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening) and Is the behaviour creating a risk to your health and safety? (This can include inducing distress, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disturbance, depression, deteriorating relationship with colleagues etc)

The Safework Australia website states that, if you are a victim of bullying, your workplace should have a bullying reporting procedure and policy outlining how the organisation is going to prevent and respond to workplace bullying. Your workplace has a duty under the Workplace Health and Safety Act to ensure that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks, so they should treat your report seriously, confidentially and attempt to resolve the matter.

However, I am guess that this may not be so much a case of bullying as it is potential breaches of Work place Health & Safety requirements as Denise has referred to above. Let me know if you have any questions housekeeper.

winston wolf

Well-Known Member
21 April 2014
I would suggest joining a union Working in these kind of environments its virtually impossible to action from an employer, they just say leave if you don't like it.
The union can advise you and argue you case to the employer. If the other service staff are having the same issue (I expect they are) join together.
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