A severely injured State Government employee from Sydney reports his despair at the thought of Barry OFarrell’s proposals to step down of weekly payments and discontinue medical treatment after 2 years .
The injured worker(who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions) has recently been advised he has to undergo an extensive back operation shortly that will result in a long recuperation period and extensive rehabilitation. The worker had initially chosen conservative treatment as recommended by his treating professionals. Unfortunately his symptoms have deteriorated and he has been advised he will require surgery to prevent his condition from deteriorating to the point of permanent loss of motor function. Recovery from the surgery is established as very long and go way past the 2 year cap Mr Farrell is so intent on introducing .
After 15 years on the job this injured worker sustained a serious back injury in 2010 and is currently on reduced hours, but at work. He has fought long and hard with his employer to actually get back to work and remain there.
The employer appears to failing miserable in their duty of care to this worker-in fact their behavior has been nothing less than obstructive and bullying including:
- Protracted periods of the employer paying incorrect weekly benefits, being forced to use personal leave to top his wage to meet daily living expenses
- Highly confidential information about his injury being broadcast by email to various staff who had absolutely no part in his return to work program – his employer even going so far as to deny this ever occurred despite factual evidence being presented to them.
- being told by work colleagues and a fellow manager to “piss off out of the department” adding I am “nothing more than a lazy f**k and none of the other managers want to work with you”
- severe bullying by managers and work colleagues with regard to the workers incapacity for work and broadcasting that the injury is nothing but a ”put on” or ”farce”
- request for a chair and more suitable seating area has been ongoing for more than 6 months despite continual requests from the treating doctor, pain management councilor, RTW consultant and the injured worker
- little contact internally from Managers who need to be involved in the return to work process to ensure it is sustainable
All this despite intervention from his treating professionals, rehab consultant, Work Cover and the insurer!“When you have a serious injury it is all consuming trying to deal with the implications it has on you physically and on your life ,the last thing I expected from my employer was this psychological warfare” said the injured worker.’ My life is on hold and my employer who caused the injury in the first place doesn’t give a damn. I have felt powerless to challenge this ongoing behaviour from my employer as my total focus has been on trying to beat my physical injury and no energy was ever left in me to fight my employer since the injury occurred.
Our organization has a history of bullying those of us unfortunate enough to get injured. Mr OFarrell should focus on prevention of injuries at work and a penalize employers who don’t fulfill their duty of care or genuinely commit to assisting workers get back to work once they are injured.”