Hoda is currently conducting a research project as part of his/her fourth year graduate diploma course in Psychology at Cairnmillar Institute, located in Camberwell, Victoria. The research topic is on workplace bullying and its influence on employees’ psychological wellbeing and work functioning. S/he has asked us to post his/her survey/questionnaire (approved by Cairnmillar’s ethics committee) on our site, which we’re doing.
The following article was submitted as a ‘Guest Post’ by Harry Hatzis, which focuses on bullying within the Victorian police force.
After being constantly belittled and yelled at in her office, Lynne Magee had nowhere to turn, because she was working for the authority in charge of regulating workplace bullying. The big issue was (indeed) who regulates the regulator,” she said. “But that question was never answered. You can’t report WorkCover to WorkCover.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has recently somewhat clarified what it means for a worker to be “at work” when the bullying conduct occurs.
According to an article in the Age, job-related stress is a growing problem in Victorian workplaces with 58 stress compensation claims for psychological injuries being approved every week. And lets not forget all the countless rejected claims. The annual number of claims for mental disorders has risen by almost 470 in five years while the annual amount paid out in compensation has risen by 45% to $273 million
Bullied … Wayne Butler, the Workcover NSW employee, received an unconditional apology for the poor treatment he received by his employer. The Industrial Commission had already ordered that he be reinstated to his job.
It’s bad enough to suffer a psychological injury at work, or the ferocious retribution routinely meted out to these workers. But as is well known that, often, if the psychological injured worker tries to obtain compensation or remedy through the ‘justice’ system, they are likely to suffer further psychological injury from the system itself- and, in some cases, more severe than the actual original one. This is such a problem, that quite a few psychiatrists, psychologists and even lawyers advice to psychologically injured workers NOT to try litigation.
Recently, a Victorian teacher driven to the brink by unruly students including one who made a flamethrower in class has been awarded around $1.3 million, including $300,000 in general damages, $337,090 in past loss of earnings, $550,000 in damages for future economic loss and $70,000 interest on lost wages. It has been suggested that this case could open the way for other employees to sue state governments for damages under the negligence (common) law.
Federal anti-bullying legislation has now been in place for almost 8 months. Interestingly, over this period of time, the expected flood of bullying claims anticipated by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has not emerged. The general consensus among lawyers and victims of bullying is that the victim is unable to receive any form of compensation and that this has deterred (many) applications.
Sexual harassment victim Jemma Ewin won a record $500k payout – this case should serve as a wake-up call to employers that sexual harassment claims will be taken seriously by the courts, and that awards of compensation are on the rise.