There is an overlap between personal injury law and employment law when it comes to claims involving bullying and harassment in the workplace.
If you have been bullied at work, it is important to seek the advice of both a personal injuries lawyer and an employment law specialist to understand all of your legal rights.
From a personal injuries perspective, employers have a duty of care to ensure that their employees are kept safe while they are at work. This applies to both physical and psychological injuries. An employer that allows bullying to occur in the workplace is not meeting their obligation to provide a safe workplace.
Bullying or harassment can include humiliating abuse, ignoring or excluding someone, giving an employee meaningless or unachievable tasks, undermining performance, or physical, sexual or verbal abuse.
An employer is vicariously liable for the actions of their employees. This means that the employer may not be directly aware of what has been going on inside the workplace and a claim may be brought against the employer rather than the bully directly.
A victim of bullying or harassment in the workplace may be entitled to damages for any psychological injury that results from such treatment, as well as associated medical expenses and resulting financial losses. Under the workers’ compensation laws in Queensland, a worker will be entitled to compensation for psychological injuries if the worker can show that the employment is the significant contributing factor to the injury and that the employer failed to take reasonable management action to prevent the injury.
If you are being bullied or harassed at work there are a number of steps that you should consider taking:-
• Tell your employer, HR officer or supervisor (unless of course he or she is the bully).
• Seek counselling and support.
• Go to your doctor to seek advice and help, but also to report the bullying.
• Seek out witnesses to the bullying or harassment.
• If you feel physically threatened, speak to the police.
• If you require medical treatment or have income as a result of the bullying, you should lodge an application for workers’ compensation.
• Obtain advice from an employment law solicitor and a personal injuries solicitor.
If you would like more information on how GC Law can help if you or a member of your family is a victim of bullying at work, contact us by calling 1300 302 318.
Article by Alica Bradford, Alica is part of the GC Law team of personal injury and compensation lawyers.
Alica is a senior Lawyer and will work closely with you on your compensation claim.