About this blog
The authors of this blog are lawyers or consultants employed by the RCT Group of companies, which includes staff who work mainly within our Stringer Clark offices.
From time to time, we may also invite guest bloggers to contribute, in which case this will be made clear. Authors who are part of the RCT Group are qualified to practice law in Victoria, Australia. Any advice applies to Victorian State law as at the date of first publication. The information is a general guide only and is not a substitute for legal advice applicable to a user's own circumstances.
Residents of other Australian States or Territories or countries are advised to seek legal advice from a lawyer practising in their own area, as laws may vary from region to region.
Angela Sdrinis is a senior partner with Ryan Carlisle Thomas. She is an LIV Accredited Specialist in Personal Injuries with extensive experience in Comcare matters.
Richard Derks is a Partner of the firm and practices in the area of personal injury including WorkSafe and transport accidents. He is an advocate in a variety of forums for the rights of the victims of accidents at work and on the roads.
Shaun Marcus is a Partner of the firm. He is an LIV Accredited Specialist in Personal Injuries, practising in this area with a particular focus on workers compensation and asbestos claims.
Peter Claven practices in personal injury at our Warrnambool office. He joined Stringer Clark in 2007 and is a member of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.
Michael Burdess joined Stringer Clark in early 2006 and practices in the area of personal injury including WorkSafe and TAC.
Penny Savidis is a Partner of the firm and practices predominantly in the area of employment law.
Published: 19 September 2011
Author: Shaun Marucs
Harassment allegations at WorkSafe - media reports
The Age reports today on the worrying culture of bullying allegedly in place at the State's key workers compensation authority, WorkSafe.
The story maintains that bullying and stress claims are at an all-time high within the Authority.
It is embarrassing for WorkSafe that runs a high profile media campaign against workplace bullying, while also encouraging workers to return quickly to work during their rehabilitation.
In the experience of our workplace accident and compensation practice, our injury lawyers are often dismayed by the dismissive nature of WorkSafe to claims made for stress, often as a result of bullying, at work.
We find that between 50 and 80% of stress claims made to the Authority are rejected. Our WorkSafe practice is currently running around 30 stress-related claims in Court.
Maximising the chances of a successful claim
While they can be difficult to prosecute, there are are some simple steps a harassed worker can take that will increase their chances of lodging a successful stress claim on their employer:
- First, use your employer's internal complaints procedure to put your employer on notice in relation to the issue,
- Second, speak to your doctor about the problems you are having at work, and
- Last, keep copies of relevant documents and always have an independent person at any meetings you have with your employer.
Shaun Marcus is an Injury and Compensation lawyer at Ryan Carlisle Thomas.
Links to full articles:
Bullying alleged at WorkSafe - The Age
Video - Union reacts to Worksafe bullying - The Age