A bullying complaint to WorkSafe leaves injured worker beyond shock

We received a share your story from an injured worker who made a complaint to WorkSafe about bullying in his workplace. The response he received from WorkSafe left him beyond shock. Repeated exposure to this bullying has left him expecting nothing less than total corruption and typical “cover up” for the bully and no enforcement of Worksafe’s OHS Act. Bullies are just encouraged to bully even more…

A bullying complaint to WorkSafe leaves injured worker beyond shock

I just received a “response” from an OHS inspector at Worksafe, in response to my bullying complaint. Firstly I was told that my employer’s bullying behaviour was just “bad manners”.

Then I was asked for my work cover compensation claim number. I asked why they needed the claim number, as I thought they would be doing their own investigations, as they are a separate branch of Worksafe.

Apparently not. Their response was “We have noted your comments and are keeping your emails on file”, they didn’t even answer my question.

Then next time I spoke with the insurer they told me that they knew all about my bullying complaint to Worksafe. WTF?????

Anyway, the OH and S inspector then told me that I would be provided with a full written response to my questions.

The written response includes no answers to my questions (surprise surprise!) and of course they have determined (after reading the insurer’s investigation report) that my employer’s response was reasonable in the circumstances and that my allegations have not met Worksafe’s criteria for Workplace bullying.

Of course my employer’s response was full of lies, they even claimed to not know what type of injury I had when I was employed under the WISE program!

The employer claims that I had provoked and manipulated them and that they were terrified of me, while they gave me two warnings in less than a week and then after I reported the re-aggravation of my injury they told me I had revoked my rights to employment!
I am beyond shock. That is the worst part, repeated exposure to this bullying has left me expecting nothing less than total corruption and typical “cover up” for the bully and no enforcement of Worksafe’s OHS Act. Bullies are just encouraged to bully even more.

There is simply no protection for injured workers.

Again, the law is broken, the bully walks away about $25,000 richer from participating in the government incentive program, and the worker is re-injured then tossed out on the street to try to find a new job.

Why isn’t Worksafe investigating? Seems that they are just lazy and really can’t be bothered.

Thanks to this employer (who was apparently “terrified” of me) I am now penniless and eating barely one meal a day, facing possible homelessness and the impending doom of severe debt.

Oh and did they pay my super or annual leave? Are you kidding? Of course not! There’s another bundle of red tape for me to tackle! There is simply no time to even think about looking for work when you are dealing with this rubbish.

Injury on top of injury, I am now too frightened to enter any new workplace. I no longer feel safe.

Thanks Worksafe for making me feel even more UNSAFE than I did before!

I doubt whether I will ever be able to work again. I went through months of job seeking to find a new job after my first injury, as of course, no employer can cope with the terrifying threat of a monstrous injured worker.

Mention the word “Workcover” or “psychological injury” in a job interview and you may as well not even bother, you may as well just put “TERRIFYING LIABILITY” in big red letters on your CV.

WORK. SAFE?

Sadly, it is much safer to just go to Centrelink.
I heard recently that some doctors have started recommending to their work-injured patients not to make Workcover claims as there is just too much stress and potential further injury in store for them.

So… now I am part of the Centrelink queue, even though I have 20+ years experience in my field.

I keep thinking that Worksafe should give the injured worker the funds of the WISE program to start their own small business or re-educate themselves. Instead it goes to the employer, as a government bribe to just re-injure the worker and make sure they can’t work ever again!!!

 

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3 Responses to “A bullying complaint to WorkSafe leaves injured worker beyond shock”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your ordeal with WorkSafe “inspectors” and their typical investigations into workplace bullying.
    Unfortunately, from the many stories and our interactions with injured workers, it seems ‘normal procedure’ for WorkSafe to handle ‘bullying’. Many injured workers have also reported that the behaviour of some worksafe inspectors was nothing short of bullying!
    The question is, how can an organisation that is rife with internal bullying ‘investigate’ bullying?
    My own serious bullying, harassment and intimidation complaint on the part of my (former) employer, the insurer and their rehab provider, which was even witnessed and documented by my treating psychologist, was not even acknowledged. I am still waiting for a response 2 years later! However, interestingly, my employer appears to have sneakily “reinstated” me on paper after an unlawful sacking part of the severe bullying saga… mmhhh…. I guess muy bullying complaint must have been dealt with “internally” via WorkSafe –> insurer –> employer (hush, hush).

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    workcovervictim August 1, 2012 at 9:59 am
  2. Medical professionals are very hesitant to put any of their patients on stress leave because of bullying. They prefer to incorporate the injury with a physical injury. Unless you’ve been hospitalised for trauma and there are records the injury relates to work.
    The worker will be psychologically assessed by the insurance company working for you employer. It is traumatic and usually the claim is denied. Your Dr knows the trauma involved and will be hesitant in making your condition worse.
    HR’s do not work for the employees. If they did bullying wouldn’t be such a workplace issue. Your formal complaint are likely to be addressed over a long period of time. Ending up in mediation with no real outcome. In my experience employers will always come back with the ” wheres your witness” scenario. Although most people have a “good faith” their employer “will be fair”is a misleading concept. You are employed by documented legal contracts, every complaint about you is documented, all incidents concerning you are documented. So why assume it is not necessary to document all dealings with your employer and communicate by “document” when they breach their contract to you? When making a complant concerning bullying or any incident, when speaking to your employer follow it up via email or a document that is signed by them. To prove you have brought the complaint to them. It also important that if you must see your Dr for psychological support then have the Dr document the reasons why you have requested their support. If they refuse find another Dr. If its not documented it didnt occur.
    The days of “good faith” in your employer have long gone. Sadly people have put their faith into misleading employers. It is becoming obvious that Workcover is also misleading employees especially when employers have broken their contracts to employees. (To keep them safe at work)

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  3. CSIRO attacked for bullying culture
    By Occupational Health News on 3 August, 2012

    The CSIRO has been accused of misleading a Senate Estimates Committee over its handling of a bullying claim by a scientist, according to a letter former CSIRO scientists obtained under freedom of information.

    In the letter, Comcare deputy chief executive Steve Kibble demanded the agency correct the Hansard record from May 28, 2012 for failing to highlight its occupational, health and safety breaches in relation to its handling of a bullying claim lodged by former CSIRO scientist Dr Sylwester Chyb. “(The) content quoted by CSIRO was not presented in context and failed to highlight to the Committee that (Comcare investigator Nigel) Docker’s draft report also contains preliminary findings that the CSIRO breached its occupational health and safety duties with respect to its handling of some of the allegations of bullying made by and against Dr Chyb,” the letter said. Comcare criticised CSIRO deputy chief executive Craig Roy for misleading a Senate hearing when he gave evidence a draft report into bullying claims found no evidence of “systemic deficiencies or a culture that embedded bullying at the CSIRO”.

    Chyb, a leading entomologist who travelled from Britain for the job, alleged he was harassed, bullied and unlawfully terminated by the CSIRO (OHN 929). Former CSIRO scientist Andrew Hooley, who was made involuntarily redundant last year after nine years at the organisation, told OHN he had formed a group of 10 former CSIRO scientists who obtained the letter and had placed pressure on Comcare to formally investigate CSIRO’s workplace practices and management culture. He said they had submitted 54 cases of alleged bullying of current and former staff to the parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying. “We would receive one to two complaints a week from former and current staff,” he told OHN. He claimed bullying and harassment of staff was “rampant” at the CSIRO, generally stemming from “high-level public servants in positions for a long time with no accountability for their actions”. Hooley told OHN he was subjected to public humiliation after raising concerns about potential procurement fraud in 2007.

    Hooley, a former CSIRO health and safety rep, said some employees were on suicide watch as a result of being bullied. He established a website for victims of CSIRO bullying and estimated up to 100 cases had emerged involving bullying of current and former staff. “A lot of the difficulties people have encountered started off as a result of questioning the legitimacy of processes,” he said. Hooley said staff who reported illegal activity under the organisation’s whistleblower provisions were not protected and many were made redundant. The submission called for tighter national laws, an independent body to investigate workplace bullying claims and stringent whistleblower protections. Hooley said they were seeking a separation of Comcare’s prosecution and insurance arms. A Comcare spokesperson told OHN the regulator had “raised concerns about information supplied by the CSIRO to the Senate Estimates Committee” and that it was discussing the matter with the CSIRO. The CSIRO did not respond before press time.

    http://sites.thomsonreuters.com.au/workplace/2012/08/03/csiro-attacked-for-bullying-culture/

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