A story of extreme bullying and shocking return to work mismanagement

A severely bullied injured worker, pushed to the verge of suicide, shares a most disturbing bullying and corruption story.

A story of extreme bullying and shocking RTW mismanagement

An injured worker, who suffered a very serious psychological injury including very real suicidal ideation, following relentless bullying and harassment in the workplace [The Nepean Hospital in NSW], eventually recovered enough for pre-injury duties. With a medico-legal certificate of capacity, clearly stating the injured worker fit for pre-injury duties, the Nepean Hospital’s [then] Human Resource Manager literally forbid him to return to work, based on the completely outrageous, unfounded and sickening statement that “the Area Health Service continues to have serious concerns about the injured worker’s [mental] wellbeing…” and that they would need to obtain “medical evidence”. [WTF!].

Here is a copy of the letter sent to the injured worker by the then HR Manager (dated November 2010).

This letter was sent to the injured worker via email.

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The injured worker makes the following comments to the above “correspondence”:

What was never mentioned was that this manager organised this meeting via mobile phone and left work to go to this person’s head office and bought back by herself, in her own car, without anyone from human resources in the car with her, all my personal files . As this manager was present at this ” meeting “with another person present as well why weren’t they mentioned?

What was going to occur was a kangaroo court setup with the manager concerned, attempt to harass and belittle me, investigate in front of the others my complaints about her and use the meeting as to intimidate me.

With reference to the medical advice I was seeing a medico/legal doctor to assist me with my return to work issues that the hospital wasn’t prepared to do. I was harassed on the phone at that time too.

A note also that nothing was mentioned about the emergency treatment I received that day which was 3 months before I was cleared to work.

They all received a scathing report from my psychologist and psychiatrist about how they all treated me ie their letters etc plus WorkCover were coming into the workplace constantly to intervene on my behalf.

What also hasn’t been mentioned is that the insurance company itself through the fault of the risk management units total lack of participation ( too busy ) had to employ a firm to do that job. That was because the manager who bullied me in collusion with this Human Resources Manager interfered with everything .

It is of note that this Human Resources Manager who had been in this job for quite a few years doesn’t have the proper qualifications to be a manager. A Cert 4 was mentioned and she only got the job being there for a long time.

Workcover NSW response to the bullying

This is the letter WorkCover produced and sent to the then Chief Executive, writes the injured worker.

Whilst we have censored the exact days of the dates, the injured worker- rightly- suggest we have a good look at all the dates and how long it took this Area Health Service to act on his complaints.

“I have enough evidence for corruption and mismanagement here . Even now some of these issues have never been addressed at all!!” writes the injured worker.
” The WorkCover Director who came in on the 24 December 2010 resigned in early January 2011 because the NSW Health Department, the premier and others refused to act on my complaints”.


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Thank you so so much for sharing this story. It is exactly stories like these with hard evidence like this that we desperately need to show the public and our politicians what is really, really going on behind the scenes of too many injured workers’ employers; who simply refuse to comply with the return to work legislation and who breach their own [bullying] policies. Meantime injured workers are accused of lazy malingerers who are after a “paid holiday” and who’ll do anything “not to return to work”. Yeah, right,…

But just how sick is this story? How on earth can a Hospital, Area Health Service, Human Resource Manager, or whoever take it up on their pathetic selves to forbid a medical (legal) certified fit injured worker to return to work? What’s even worse, how can a severely bullied injured worker be forced to meet with the very same people who were responsible for his psychological injury, on his first day back to work (and without prior notice, nor the ability for the injured worker to bring along a support person!), whilst an investigation into the matter had been promised to him?

But you know what? The sad thing is that it happens more often than you think! And it adds tremendous INSULT TO INJURY.

For example I was, myself, forbidden to return to work, by a pathetic “return to work Coordinator”(who obviously has no medical qualifications) – after an elective 6th shoulder reconstruction. I had a perfectly legal medical certificate of capacity issued by my upper limb surgeon (a specialist specialist!) with the very same restrictions as prior to surgery, and in fact as for the past several YEARS.

The “rationale” of the  Hosptal’s (the Royal Melbourne Hospital) “RTW Coordinator” was that “this time” it was important that my workplace would be set up with the REPEATED medically requested ergonomic support. Those ergonomics were repeatedly requested since 2006! In fact I had medical letters and legal certificates of capacity clearly stating that I was NOT allowed to work without the ergonomic support in the workplace, in the months leading up to the 6th shoulder surgery, yet I was forced to continue work full time AND was requested to postpone my reconstruction by a whopping three months as to “complete a project I was working on”.

My return to work after the surgery was refused. The reasonable, simple and straight forward ergonomic tools prescribed were still NOT IN PLACE a whole four months after I had been certified fit for work and I was forced to remain off work. Those ergonomic appliances were available in any Office Works shop and I even offered to purchase them and/or to bring  my own stuff in from home. This was forbidden and they told me on numerous occasions that “they did not want my furniture here”.

To save you a long, sickening story, the saga involving serious bullying and harassment, resulted in me lodging a formal complaint with HR and workcover which promised me an investigation. This “investigation” simply became a “hush money” bribe and, after refusing it, I ended up sacked.

The reason for my sacking (5 years after the accident) was basically that I had not ever been certified fit for unrestricted duties since the accident….

Go figure.

Shame on the Nepean Hospital for allowing such a misconduct, such a relentless bullying and for adding insult to injury .



[post entered by T on behalf of WCV]








16 Responses to “A story of extreme bullying and shocking return to work mismanagement”

  1. I spoke to someone called Cassandra in Qld (Brisbane?) 0738379450. She said they only can help get financial compensation once the claim has been accepted. She said the declination can be appealed, asked if that had been done – i said not yet. she said she couldn’t help and that it was industrial relations and I should contact an industrial relations lawyer. 🙁

  2. Who did you speak to? Please ring John Typaldos, it doesn’t matter you are in NSW, he will be able to put you through a senior partner (lawyer) in NSW at the very least, and be able to discuss with you whether you have a case. My understanding of the legislation is that you can and have the right to appeal a rejected claim. Sounds like you may spoken to a clerk!
    Also Lou, I have forwarded your email to the person you were trying to make contact with (as per Facebook request) and that person is very happy to help you – will make contact.

    workcovervictim July 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm
  3. Unbelievable… I just contacted SHINE. They said they can’t help me because my claim was denied.

  4. Dearest Lou,
    Reading your gutwrenching story simply made me cry…I am trying to type between the tears to tell you that my heart goes out to you and your daughter and that I am thinking of you real hard. I so much wish I had a magic wand or that I could kiss things better.
    It is gutting me. The system is gutting me.
    The only thing I can think of at the moment is that although the QBE suckers have turned down yet another stress claim, this does NOT mean that you can not appeal their decision and you should! Could you please consider calling Shine lawyers (details on right hand side of the site in sidebar), (John Typaldos if you are in Vic . Feel free to tell him that I am sending you!)I strongly believe that John /Shine Lawyers will do ANYTHING to help you if you have the slightest chance.
    Also, would there be any chance for you to be able to find work elsewhere? Working in such toxic environment is surely detrimental to your wellbeing… and will only aggravate your PTSD.
    I dont know what else to say… just know that I am thinking of you. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

    workcovervictim July 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm
    • Thank you so very much for your kindness and words of wisdom. Unfortunately I’m in northern NSW, so John Typaldos is not an option, however I will email Shine and see what they advise. I visited the psychologist yesterday, who urged me to get a solicitor out of the area as the ones within the region don’t want to make waves. I’m blessed to have found you and your website. Thank you so very much. Lou xoxox

  5. I am shaking almost uncontrollably now. I can’t believe that someone else is going through exactly what I am going through. My issue is with the North Coast Area Health Service (now NNSWLHD). I made a complaint to Executive Management regarding the fraud being committed by senior managaement. They promply began discipling me, investigating me and performance managing me. I continued to write letters requesting justification for the actions of these two managers and the legal status of what they did. The issue has never been acknowledged. I am now on stress leave (since Jan.2012).

    I was suicidal, I haven’t slept for months, migraines, panic attacks etc… are dominating my life. My fight for justice and my daughter are keeping me alive. I’m determined to beat those bastards.

    Workcover will not help me because QBE denied my psychological injury claim (it’s worth noting that QBE automatically deny 93% of psychological injury claims). I have had the Case Manager from QBE make up stories about me, to the point where I came home from shopping with my 12 yr old daughter, to find the police at my house. They had been told by the case manager that I was threatening to “shoot up” the hospital. Huh??? Never happened. Then, being incredibly broke, I went on Centrelink payments. Then my marriage broke up. I needed to move, so I rented a small flat with my daughter. Centrelink cut off my benefits because I was over the means test for Sickness Allowance… so, I can’t live at home because they don’t want us “living under the same roof”… but when I move out “I’m too asset rich”. The system is stuffed.

    Then today, I spoke with my return to work co-ordinator. I need to go back to work because I can’t pay my bills. She adivsed me that I have to return to my substantive position. I questioned their “duty of care” to me – putting me back into a hostile enviornment. She said “It’s not a return to work issue as it isn not workers compensation. You need to contact Human Resources”.

    I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder last week. My solicitor now informs me that the lawyers for NNSWLHD will require my resignation once my case hits the Arbitration court.

    In 7 months I have gone from being happily married, living in my own home, driving my cherished little car… to near suicide, living in rented accommodation, no car, no money, and a life that I still struggle with trying to live.

    • Lou, I’m very saddened to read your story and the stories of the other victims on this site but not at all surprised having myself been through a 13 yr nightmare with NSW govt agencies after reporting staff abuse of disabled residents in my DOCS workplace in 1997. I’m angry that stories like yours continue to occur and it makes me even more determined to never give up trying to do what I can to expose this evil. I was reduced to suicidal despair at one point but I’m glad to have survived..that is a victory in itself as well as being able to speak the truth when those in power operate through secrecy and lies.

      gerard crewdson August 13, 2012 at 7:58 pm
  6. While Im here I too have been forced to Ime after Ime. My IMA wasnt satisfied with the initial return stating fit to RTW on graduated return But not at BBHs. IMA sent IME back three times to DRS I had never met til she had WHAT SHE
    Wanted ie RTW after 3 months off without pay or support.
    Now two treating DRS have given complete clearance since feb 2011, she requested CONTRARY to recommendations that my GP state RTW @ BBHS. My GP, God Bless,stated clearly this is not recommendation of all SIX specialists. FULLY FIT BUT not to return to place of Bullies INc.
    IMA went to EPAC, without notification, therefore, She is now commencing false criminal claims…women can be very nasty.
    I wonder if DEC is aware an IMA is not communicating any forms of support just an occassional 1/6 monthly email to let me know she is still crucifying me….Christine over n out

    Christineliz12 July 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm
  7. Delighted to report that the very popular COS magazine (Canadian Heath and Safety) has picked up and published the story!

    workcovervictim July 19, 2012 at 7:19 am
  8. I like many in this forum applaud and thank you for standing up to these parasites.

    Your determination and courage is inspirational.

    I Thank you for sharing your nightmare aswell.

    Don’t ever back down, Right is on your side.

  9. I am speechless for once, mate. Thanks you so much for having the guts to share your nightmare and congratulations to you for standing your grounds. You are an INSPIRATION and I admire you for your courage and resilience. XXX

    workcovervictim3 July 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm