Abused human rights & disability discrimination – urgent support needed

We received yet another gut-wrenching story and plea for help and support overnight from an injured worker, who sustained a brain injury after a car accident, and who has been abused in unimaginable ways by an employment agency, preying on disability subsidies. This man, and his carer are not only disillusioned with our society, but they are utterly desperate for help, support and advice.

Abused human rights & disability discrimination – urgent support needed

The injured worker’s story in his own words

[Some text has been amended for easier reading and ID protection]

I need help urgently with this complicated issue.

Myself and my carer went to my local disability employment service provider [date] and asked if there were any loans/grants available for us to start up a new business, which I had previously run [for a couple of years]. [Following which]I then had a car accident. I resumed my business [after the accident] for [1 year] and then stopped on doctors (and family) advice.

In [year] I moved to to a new rural town with my full time carer. We enjoyed our new life and I was looking forward to getting back to work and regain self-esteem and participate in our new community.

My local disability employment service provider sent us to a local business enterprise centre because she [it – “X”] was excellent in grants/loans available.

We [my carer and I] went to an appointment  [with “X” ] and asked her if there were any grants/loans available. We had told her what type of business we had in mind. She automatically said no, but [said I have] she has got another client who who wants to start up exactly the same business – “would you like to match-make with her”? [she asked]. I had the [knowledge] but no money, and her client had the money but no knowledge of this business.

We came home and talked about this option; the pros and cons. After a couple of days we agreed – with some guarantees form our side that we needed to discuss [this] with [“X”] client.

We first [discussed] that my carer [would] have to be involved as she is my driver as well as my full time carer – we come as a team. We also need a work vehicle as we need to travel 80 km to work. The “X” lady asked if I was entitled to wage subsidy and I told her that would look into it for us. As it turned out I was entitled to wage subsidy, but I was not registered with an employment service provider.

They soon got me signed up and and assessment was [undertaken] to see how many hours I could [work] per week [between 8 and 10 was the assessment via Centrelink].

I was then told that I could get fuel and maintenance for my carer’s car. We thought this too good to be true, and weren’t we right?!

I signed up with the disability employment agency [date] , and some 3 weeks after our discussion they could get a subsidy for “X”. I signed a job placement form which started on [date] and which had no finish date. I was employed as a commercial cleaner. I cleaned one window on [that] my first day. I was then asked to look into truck mounted carpet shampooers and also portable [ones], and also a car or van in order to carry everything.

I am getting a little bit confused as I have an acquired brain injury.

And wanting to work, and in the long term, full time work for myself and my carer [and needing a company vehicle], I continued on with my assignment. I had spoken to a salesman of carpet shampooers in [town in QLD], and plenty of others, and my final choice was [eventually] the [QLD town] company.

I also [discusse] with  “X” company [things]such as tendering, OH&S, quoting, MSDS sheets, staff requirements, employer responsibility, EPA guidelines etc.

I also gave the “X” company a heap of my own previous tax invoices, chemical suppliers and forensic cleaning information.

My business was going uphill up until my car accident. I went back to work for myself but struggled with the day to day running [of the business], i.e organising staff, D, taxes, quoting and extras. But I had previously maintained contracts with Department of Housing [state], lawn maintenance, sub contracted dept housing vacant houses, units cleaning, carpet shampooing, lawns, rubbish removal, Bunnings offices, cleaning toilets, solicitors offices, daycare centres, floor polishing and various other clients. So I had a fair bit of knowledge in all fields.

The ‘X” company client had not thought of a name for her business, so myself and my carer put some names [forward] which she didn’t like much.

[Upon my] recommendation she had purchased the [needed] equipment from the [QLD town] company. The suppliers would get a new Toyota Hiace and a van wrap for advertising. I said that this company can do everything for you and just what you want and within your price range. All you have to do is do a design for advertising and a business name. Get me and you trained and you would be OK.

She got her son [age] to do a design, which, in my opinion was suited to what she wanted to get across to the public.

We sat down to discuss a business name, myself and my carer, and “X” manager and the business owner. She didn’t want her home used because she wanted to incorporate the [central West] as we were told that myself and my carer would, one day, be running an area of this business. She wanted to purchase another carpet cleaning machine within a year.

She finally came up with a name for the [cleaning] business [let’s call it 3star cleaning]. I nearly fainted as my previous business was [something 3star cleaning].

Here I was a little bewildered, we were told that “X” would pay me each week in order to build up hours to go to [QLD town] and get trained in this new [cleaning machine].

It had been organised to go [the training] in the end week of NSW school holidays, so myself and my carer had organised our kids around that.

About 2 weeks before we were going to [the training in QLD town] I received a call from “X” to say that her client [the cleaning company] had spent all her money and wouldn’t be going! So I asked what would happen with these hours that I have been accumulating. X said that when her client returns, that ” I could work them off”. It was all getting very odd.

Mid [month] the client returned and I would start working these hours off. Totally unusual, but I was looking long term.

I had asked, on my first day of employment, for a statement of my duties and a letter of offer from ‘X’ manager. She told me she would do it the following week, yet the letter did not arrive. When I asked for it again, she told me that “once your contract has finished with “X” and you start with her client, then one will be given”. I had been told that the contract was for 3 monts. I had a copy of the contract but I didn’t have the finish date because they didn’t know the end date, because this was to be ongoing.

The day I signed the paperwork, I was rushed because the employment service provider was too busy, which I noted in my diary.

I need a diary for day to day issues as my brain injury was/is all frontal lobe, which [affects] your memory, anger, self control.

Still employed by “X” I looked up subsidies for employing people with disabilities. I found some very interesting points.

I started with the new client of “X” she was outsourcing me. A few weeks went by and I was doing 8 to12 hours per week. My carer was asked if she would like to some work as well, [to which] she agreed with no hesitation. She delivered some flyers for “X’ at $10 per hour. When she finished, the manager says “I haven’t paid you yet, I just take it of “D”‘s hours that he owes me” and my carer had agreed, thinking long term.

The next day was a Saturday and we met at a solicitor’s office which we were carpet cleaning. My carer was asked if she would like to work and she said yes. At the end of the day, the same thing happened; “I’ll just take your hours of what “D” owes ‘X””; but I was not working for “X” but for the new [cleaning] business owner!

I had taken the new [business] owner to meet with my disability employment service provider – he had told her that subsidy was available to her at the end of the month when she signs me up. It was 8/10 hrs PAYE , 9% super and 10% W/C – she was shocked how much this was, and in my case, it was for a period of 18 months with a possible extension of 6 months.

After this meeting we carpet shampooed a local restaurant. After she had finished she had drained all waste down a storm water drain this is a big no no.On Monday [date] myself and my carer were asked to work a customers house which was for sale an had an upcoming open day.We arrived and my carer was told to clean the bathroom and I was asked to clean the windows. I was cleaning the windows and my carer came over to me, I asked her why wasn’t she wearing oay shoes she said that our boss told her to take them off that this how u do it it must be done my way.I couldn’t believe this cleaning a bathroom with no shoes or socks on! I continued working, I stopped to go to the toilet and to make a phone call to my job service provider which I have to do if there is a issue at work.  He said to come and see him when we finish because the old contract finishes today and we can talk about safety and anything else I want to talk about.  I told my boss that I need to speak to my provider this arvo, she said what about the hours u owe”X” I said yes I know and said about the new contract needs to be signed.

We started shampooing and the machine wasn’t working so she rang up [QLD town company] and tried to explain the problem but she couldn’t understand the salesman so she put me on the phone. I realised what was wrong and had it fixed in five minutes. The new business owner is chinese and the language barrier can be difficult.

Sometimes we finished work at 2pm after starting at 8.30 5. 5hrs without a break. I went and spoke to my employment agency and talked about safety,no break,and has the new contract[ been made]. I was annoyed with my employment provider. They said that I dont owe “X” anything take a couple of days off and that he will raise the problems.

We had been asked to work the following day as we were leaving his office X rang him. We left, late that arvo recieved a msg that new boss will be okay tomorrow.I rang employment provider on [date] and asked what is going on he said to me that he had spoken to X and said that I don’t owe X any hours as it was their mess up and it shouldn’t have been done.

X said to employment provider if “D” (me) is not going to finish the hours that’s it then I have yet been told this in any way I have also found out that X haven’t paid my super and just to cap it all of X is an agent for dept of fair trading.

Also we found out that manager of X and new business owner have known each other for 10years or so.

I went to my doctor because I have been treated so unfairly in various ways; my carer has been used we didn’t think this type of behaviour still existed. My doctor gave me a workcover certificate. The insurance company are not accepting responsibility in the interim-they have got a letter from X that’s how they came to this decision so they only hear one side of the story is this right.

I have got other issues with this as we know the government is investigating 14 employment service providers deewr investigations I have spoken to Fair Work, deewr complaints, fair trading complaints letter being drafted Sydney Morning Herald investigations are interested we have sent them list of events with this particular employment service provider they claim subsidies when the individual obtains their own they are not to do this as I’ve told just what

happened to me Fair Work said that you are an employee or consultant can’t be both I outlined my job description and advised me to put in a complaint.

After my accident it was difficult to get back to some normality; it took a long time but I was feeling as good as I would get that was an accident. With this situation I feel that my human rights have been abused discriminated against my privacy has been breached and I feel like I am worthless.  I am in a state of being used,  hurt,  freedom been taken away. I have been a target of deceptive misleading conduct, unfair contract as I just found out that there was no finishing date
.

please I urgently need some help advice support. I have lost all trust in society my carer looks like leaving if that is the case I will need to be hospitalized for acquired brain injury. I cannot believe that I and my carer have been treated this. It hurts us so much from how I was 6 months ago to now. As I hear in the papers and tv how the government is looking after disabilities I don’t call this caring.  Should I go to my local federal member?
I have lost total confidence in society.

 

Shortlink: http://workcovervictimsdiary.com/?p=9925


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13 Responses to “Abused human rights & disability discrimination – urgent support needed”

  1. Not sure how relevant this all is to you. But stay with Jobwatch, also call your equivalent of Worksafe. I have found Jobwatch and the complaints dep’t of Worksafe to quite helpful

    Your insurer will have a special Customer Service Team to deal with your lack of payments from them during this time.

    As your refferral came from an agency working on behalf of Centrelink, maybe try calling the Centrelink Ombudsman and seeing if they can help you at all.

    As for your super not being paid, call the ATO and they will investigate and audit those companies. You need to call the Super Dept. Also double check that your taxes were being paid. If they haven’t and you have kept records the ATO can use their discretionary powers to write it off or use the amount recorded in your records, so you don’t get into trouble.

    There would be some regulating body for the Business Enterprise Organisation you went to. File a formal complaint with them.

    Your carer will need to make separate complaints for what happened to them.

    I know this is a very difficult time and with your acquired brain injury ( I have one as well, though nowhere near as severe), it can muddle you and make you “over react” a bit. I do it myself at times. And then you can’t think properly and you just end up going in circles.

    Just realise this will take time. Probably months to be sorted out. Just hang in there. And most of all, know that you are not alone and come here anytime you want to talk ♥

    Good luck with it all. Hope I have helped in some way

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  2. Have you considered complaining to the Equal Opportunity Commission (in your state) and the Human Rights Commission? [For the EOC time limits apply.]

    As for your workcover claim, you should be able to lodge a dispute for liability and/or an appeal – for more info (guide) on stress claims click here

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    workcovervictim June 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm
  3. http://www.pwd.org.au/links.html

    This is a list of advocate and legal services for people with disabilities and careers. I’m sad you have been treated so badly. I certainly hope you will find a satisfactory resolution to this injustice.

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  4. I am sad to hear your situation & that you have been taken advantage of in this way. Problem with your issues are that there are many people out there who will take advantage of others. Being in a weakened state due to your previous injuries does not mean that others will not take advantage of you. Your story crosses over into many areas, Workcover, Tax Office, Centrelink, Job Placement, that I think there will need to be many different people that you need to help you.

    One place that you may find help is your local support services. Majority of the help is provided by volunteers & they also have access to knowing where to go & how to get the help you need. I know of others who have had issues with Centrelink & the Support people who work there were able to get onto someone in Centrelink to help work thru the problems. Every area, including where D lives, has their own Local Community support services that have a large range of information & support services. Google ‘local community support services‘ with the town or area you live in & I am sure you will find at least one in your area. Sometimes there are more than one in your area, so if one cant help, the other may. But if they tell you they cant help you, ask them if they know where you might be able to get some help. Ask them where can you turn or where can they direct you as they are great at getting help for those that need it the most.

    Good luck & keep us posted.

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    • YES YOU ARE RIGHT THIS INVOLVES MANY AREAS AND I AM STRUGGLING WITH IT ALL AT THE MOMENT I HAVE LOST FAITH WITH SOCIETY.ILL PUT THIS MY OWN WORDS SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE I GOT THROWN OUT OF MY CAR IN 2003 LANDED ON MY HEAD WHEN I WOKE UP FROM A COMA 6WEEKS LATER I LOOKED AROUND THE HIGH INTENCITY WARD AT WESTMEAD HOSPITAL AND SAW A LOT OF PEOPLE WORSE OF THAN ME AND I SAID THIS WAS AN ACCIDENT AND I WILL GET THROUGH THIS ITS BEEN A LONG ROAD BUT I NEVER LOST FAITH AND SIGHT OF MY GOALS.3 YEARS AFTER MY ACCIDENT MY MARRIAGE FAILED AFTER 18 YEARS BUT I KEPT ON GOING UP UNTILL NOW I WAS CLIMBING A LADDER 3RUNGS UP 2 DOWN I WAS GETTING THERE SLOWLY TO THE TOP NOW IVE FALLEN TO THE GROUND AND HAVE BEEN DUG A HOLE BY OTHER PARTIES CAUSE THIS HAS BEEN DONE BY FELLOW MAN AND WOMAN NOT LIKE MY ACCIDENT I HAVE TO TRY AND GET BACK ON MY FEET FOR MYSELF AND MY CARER I HOPE I DONT TRIP ON THE WAY.

      THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

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      • Hi David

        Your case, in my opinion, represents everything that is wrong with many welfare and compensation systems around Australia.  In fact, I was so taken by your case that I immediately forwarded a link to this story to editors of the daily telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald as well as a number of politicians.  Here’s what I wrote:

        Dear Editors

        Whatever happened to protecting and caring for the vulnerable?  It can happen to any of us!  Here’s just one of many stories that reach sites like Diary of a WorkCover Victim.  Will anyone listen to this person’s story and take it seriously?

         

         

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        • “Your case, in my opinion, represents everything that is wrong with many welfare and compensation systems around Australia” – you bet! Thanks John for alerting the media and thank you once again, David for having the guts to share your story publicly – this is exactly what the public and our government needs to see and hear, and straight from the people who are being affected by it!

           

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  5. Hi David,

    Firstly I want to commend you on the courage of going back into the workforce, and to your carer who has been such an amazing person by your side.

    I am well aware of the employment agencies rorting job-finder fees, and a top level audit was undertaken on the $4.7Billion welfare to work programs. Some Job Services Australia providers, privatre firms and charities contracted by the government to assist the unemployment find work, now face the prospect of a fraud probe. The inquiry suggests the job assistance industry improperly lodged as much as $ 106 million of false claims in the past two years. Of this $63.3 million was the extra loading designed to incentivise agencies to source jobs themselves for their clients. The audit released on 20 April 2012 reveals that in one case 77 per cent of job-brokerage fees claimed by a provider were false or could not be otherwise verified, but the Government refused to name this organisation along with the other nine providers who were targeted for the audit, citing commercial- in confidence- restrictions. The audit overseen by former public servant Robert Butterworth ” found a significant incidence of poor administration, claims  that could not be confirmed, claims that were not supported by appropriate evidence, and claims that were contradicted by job seekers or employers” This was reported by Linton Besser in Saturday Age 21April 2012.

    David I suggest that you report your case to Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis.  You will also find a media release about the finding from DEEWR on her web site and her contact details. I also suggest that you get in contact with the DEEWR’s Contract Manager  handling the area where your employment agency is, who’s name you can get from Centrelink or by ringing DEEWR the number is 133397.  I know that you will get help with this disgusting situation that has been created.  This industry is also filled with mismanagement, bully’s and harassment  and the damage they do to the highly disadvantaged jobseekers, their own employees and the community, is never held accountable.

    R

     

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  6. Hi David,

    In order for the employment provider to gain a wage subsidy a) you must be registered with them, Centrelink can provide you with this information, that you have been allocated to the provider. When you are allocated to a provider, documentation is then given to you with your obligations, and the employment agency obligations. b) a wage subsidy is a legal and binding contract between the provider, the employer (in this case the cleaning co.) and sets out OH&S, Wages, all employment rights,hours of employment per week.  This agreement is signed by both parties i.e. employment agency and the employer, and the agreement is lodged on your file. Payments are then made to the employer at different times which are stated in this agreement.  It seems that this is not the case and clearly I cannot see how your carer would be part of this one agreement.  DEEWR will definitely investigate your case if you lodge a complaint. Hon. Kate Ellis has just called for Tenders for organisations to supply Disability Employment Services and she too would be interested to hear your story.

    It is clear that the Government’s intention is to push all injured workers into these employment systems yet another industry that is Rorting Government Funding. Take care of each other this is a dreadful time for you both.

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    • yes i sent anemail to kate ellis and what a responce from her media adviser all they said was to ring this number the AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL DISABILITY SERVICES ABUSE AND NEGLECT HOTLINE . the take complaints from people with disability  using AYSTRALIAN GOVERMENT SERVICES. I SHALL CALL THEM TOMORROW.

      THANK YOU

      FOR YOUR INTREST I WILL KEEP UP TO DATE

       

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      • We are extremely happy with the amount of interest (and support) your story has generated here and, we would really love for you to keep us posted on “your progress”, in particular  if you are able to  obtain a much needed investigation into this disgusting matter.

        But most of all, as people have repeatedly stated, please take good care of each other whilst you continue your fight. You need each other! Take a step (and a day) at a time and don’t hesitate to come back for a rant or support here – we are all here for you and thinking of you!

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        workcovervictim3 June 18, 2012 at 9:18 pm
        • JUST A QUICK QUESTION DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR EMPLOYER CAN STATE TO THEIR INSURANCE COMPANY IN A STAT DEC THAT IAM SUFFERING FROM AN ONGOING MENTAL CONDITION WHEN  I ACTUALLY HAVE AN AQUIRED BRAIN INJURY.

          THANKS FOR ANY INFO

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          • I do not believe that the employer can make any such statements, as they are not medically qualified to do so. It would be highly inappropriate. It is my belief that only a medical doctor can make a “statement (opinion) about your medical (physical and/or mental) condition.

            It would be all too easy for any employer to make false allegations or statements about an injured worker, particularly about workers who have suffered a psychological injury at their workplace.

            Sound like they are trying to get out of their responsibilities by perhaps using “reasonable management action”…?

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