Psychologically injured at work,claim rejected,not paid and facing court – a story

I started at my dream job in 2010 and I was really happy to be with this government organisation and thought I would end up working there until I retired. Boy was I wrong, within three weeks my new manager was bullying me. She would not train me, ignored me, isolated me and would talk to everyone in the office but me…. Read the harrowing story of an worker who was psychologically injured at work, had his/her claim denied and who has not been paid and is paying for all medical expenses. S/he is facing a Hearing at the Magistrates Court…

Psychologically injured at work, claim rejected, not paid and facing court – a story

So I trained myself as much as I could and tried to ignore the problem. I did report my concerns to the HR department but they were afraid of her as well so they did nothing. I then talked over my concerns with our Director and she did nothing as well. I tried to talk to this woman to stop her behaviour but to no avail.

After two years I was really stressed and crying a lot at work .

Then one day she called me in for a meeting and said she wanted to have a meeting with me but didn’t want to tell me what it was about and that I should have a support person there.

Before the meeting I was having heart palpitations but I went anyway. The nasty manager tried to berate me for things that other people had done including what she had done. At the end of the meeting the note taker that was there said it was a performance appraisal.

I ended up going on stress leave and Workcover forms were completed and sent off to the insurers Allianz. I had two weeks off and was talked into coming back to work but not under my manager which I agreed to do.

Our Workcover support person was lovely and wanted the claim accepted but the Director wanted it investigated. So the investigation started. I was sent to see a psychologist for assessment. What a joke that was he spent as little as thirty minutes with me and then said I he couldn’t diagnose any condition.

Then I had to make a statement to an investigator so that my story would be heard. That was the biggest farce ever. He then went to everyone on my statement and got them to say that I couldn’t do my job and that they referred me to my manager for training and help. So of course my claim was rejected.

By this stage I was even more stressed at being back at work and then the Director said I had to go back to reporting to my manager. I asked to be redeployed so that I didn’t have to report to her. They wouldn’t redeploy me and I went back on sick leave, but by this time I was out of sick leave and ended up using all of my annual leave as well.

I went to the conciliation conference and my Workcover assist representative was brilliant. He wanted the employer to provide the forms that were supposed to be filled out before a performance appraisal to prove their case. They didn’t have it as the manager didn’t tell me prior to the meeting that it was a performance appraisal.

I have been to see a psychologist and he has diagnosed me with a high level of anxiety and adjustment disorder. Whilst all of this has been going on waiting for conciliation the CEO has been hassling me and trying to get me to resign and sign a confidentiality agreement saying they did nothing wrong. What a joke, if they did nothing wrong, why are they trying to pay me off.

After the conciliation my solicitor got in contact with the conciliation officer and asked for a certificate of genuine dispute. After about two weeks of waiting I rang him to ask where the certificate was and he said that he was waiting on the insurance company to get back to him as he had asked them to overturn my case as he believed me and what was said at conciliation. Unfortunately the employer wouldn’t let them overturn the case. So I now have my certificate of genuine dispute.

Now my employer is trying to terminate my employment this week. At the moment I am waiting to hear from my lawyer that proceedings have been lodged with the magistrates’ court and then we will be taking them to court. In  all of this time I haven’t been paid and I have to pay all of my medical expenses myself.
Thank you so much for having the courage to share your story! .

Do we need to say more than that this is yet another typical dirty employer and Allianz tactic to reject liability for a psychological injury sustained at work?!

If your stress condition is caused or aggravated by work, workers compensation is available.

There is, however, an exception in the WorkCover legislation (VIC) which is often misused by employers and claims agents to reject work related stress claims.

The exception generally provides that workers compensation is not payable if the stress is predominantly caused by:

  • An employer taking reasonable action in a reasonable manner to transfer, demote, discipline, redeploy, retrench or dismiss a worker; or
  • A decision by the employer based on reasonable grounds not to award or to provide promotion, reclassification or transfer of, or leave of absence or benefit in connection with employment to the worker.
  • An expectation of 1 or 2 above.

The scope of this exclusion is quite narrow for the following reasons:

  1. The exception to the above is very narrow and only applies to reasonable action taken in a reasonable manner. Compensation is payable for stress where reasonable action is taken in an unreasonable manner or unreasonable action taken in a reasonable manner; and
  2. Often the action to transfer, demote, discipline, redeploy, retrench or dismiss a worker is the last stage in a chain of events and the evidence will show that the action has been provoked by poor performance, which is an effect of general work stress which predated any action to transfer, demote, discipline, redeploy, retrench or dismiss a worker.

Stress claims are more likely than other claims to be disputed by WorkCover. This is because these claims are highly volatile and usually involve very different perceptions of the same circumstances by employees and employers. Ultimately, like in this case, a court must decide which perception is correct.

Stress claims are one of the most difficult areas for WorkCover claims. The following article (and issues) was prepared to provide assistance to injured workers who have or may be submitting a claim in respect of stress arising from employment: can I claim for stress under workcover>>


a message to Ahhhlianz...




9 Responses to “Psychologically injured at work,claim rejected,not paid and facing court – a story”

  1. Hi All, Here is my update on what is happening. I did not get reinstated. I am still fighting to have my claim accepted. I went to see their psychiatrist and I would not tell him of some of my personal history because quite frankly the guy was a creep and its none of his business. His report was unbelievable, he has basically turned everything around and made out that I couldn’t do my job so therefore bullied my manager. I went to see my solicitor’s psychiatrist who tells me I can work because I caught the train to see him. During this process I asked my employer to fill in my income protection form and now my solicitor has now gone a bit funny on me and is trying to settle before we even get a chance to go to court. She was the one who sent them a letter requesting they fill out the income protection form so she should have advised me not to get the form filled out. I have been so suicidal through all of this and don’t know if I can keep going. I want what is right and my claim accepted but sometimes it’s just not worth it. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks

  2. Thanks for sharing the story, Debbie!

    I’m currently going through this battle myself, and even though the Workcover psychiatrist  (as well as an independent psychologist) diagnosed me as having acute Adjustment Disorder and stress, depression etc etc as a direct result of bullying and racial harassment at work , the bastards still rejected my claim!

    Unbelievable and utterly disgusting! You’d think after 10 years of hard work for this crappy company you’d have support, but no, they make you an enemy and Workcover being the shifty organisation that they are, reject your claim!

    Court case in order…!

  3. Hi everyone
    Thank you so much for your words of support it has meant a lot. It really helps to read others stories and see that you can win. I hope I can win in the end as well.
    Being sacked and now fighting them in Fair Work for unfair dismissal is also exacerbating my condition.
    By the way its my story guys, so thanks.

    • Hi Debbie
      Sincerely hope that you will get some sort of justice at Fair Work. I will cross my finger and toes for you and please keep us posted.
      If you want to know everything you possibly would want to know about sacking and Fair work have a peek here,… and don’t be re-instated! Who wants to work for someone who treats you like dirt?

      workcovervictim July 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm
  4. Kevin

    I could not agree more – they do expect people to just go away.  I know that I had one hell of an uphill battle – but I also proved it can be done.  And I’m still fighting.

    Whistleblower Beats Bullies

    A security company employee who blew the whistle on a rampant bullying has had a win over insurance company attempts to deny him compensation.

    Insurance company CGU accepted full liability after initially denying that bullying had left John McPhilbin with prolonged adjustment disorder.

    McPhilbin’s stand against bullying at Chubb Security grew into a widespread union campaign to tackle the emerging workplace safety issue.

    He addressed the launch of the Unions NSW Dignity and Respect in the Workplace Campaign in September last year, when his recounting of his experiences left many in the audience visibly moved.

    Medical evidence showed that McPhilbin is suffering from a “prolonged adjustment disorder with anxious and depressed moods resulting from the hostility he faced at Chubb”.

    “I feel vindicated,” says McPhilbin. “I had to personally establish that there were guidelines that Chubb and the insurance company ignored at every step of the way.

    “It was me who had to point this out to them. I was opposed at every step of the way.

    “The way it was managed made my situation increasingly worse.”

    John McPhilbin June 7, 2012 at 10:14 pm
  5. All I can say is just stay strong and please hang in there. These employers and insurance companies are just bullies and they are hoping that you will just go away. I was injured in 2010, sacked immediately after submitting my claim, claim rejected, then to conciliation. Really what a joke that process is, all geared for the employer and insurer. Finally after 15 months with no income or treatment I had my 2 days in the Melbourne Magistrates Court where the truth finally came out. Won my case,awarded weekly payments,medical expenses,interest,and court costs. They had NO CASE, they just hoped I would go away. It is stressfull and I feel for you and your family but my family and friends helped pull me through a very difficult time and they continue to help me with my ongoing struggle with my injury and the whole workcover process. If we go away and don’t fight for our basic rights as injured workers then THEY WIN. Good luck, and remember that the truth will one day bring these parasites undone.

    Take care of yourself and remember you have many people on your side.

    [unprivatised by WorkCoverVictim-Admin-great comment worth for all to see ;)]

  6. Avoid, deny and/or cover-up is the standard mantra when it comes to workplace bullying that’s why is called the ‘silent epidemic – one which costs the economy between $13 -$36 billion annually.

    And everyone is so concerned about cutting costs, perhaps if they had a good look at the amount of bullying going on and actually do something about it – like weed out all bullies it would reflect on the so-called bottom-line very quickly.

    Stanford Professor Bob Sutton has the right idea – he wrote a wonderful book titled: ‘THE NO ASSHOLE RULE’.

    How to spot an asshole and how to make your workplace asshole free.


    John McPhilbin June 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm
    • Thanks John, it’s such a great video, had to embed it in the blog!!!

      workcovervictim June 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm
    • Thank you for sharing your story. I have just gone through exactly the same thing and also with Allianz.. I suffered a physcological injury in 2010 that was accepted but I was rushed back to work. The poor workplace conditions continue through 2011 and in 2012 false accusations were made against me, but like you I couldn’t cope and went on sick leave. Long story short, I went on workers compensation and Allianz have rejected it because they say its a new claim not the original injury. Therefore, they are blaming the performance management action. They are just as disgusting as the so called Christian organisation I have worked for for over 12 years.