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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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
- 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>>