Hall Payne successful in obtaining critical evidence to support victim of workplace bullying
Hall Payne Lawyers recently represented the Applicant (Ms Riger) in Riger and Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd  AATA 3528; a workplace bullying case in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. We were successful in obtaining certain employment records of supervisors who allegedly bullied the applicant at work.
Ms Riger was employed at a suburban branch of Commonwealth Bank. She was allegedly bullied by three of her supervisors, Ms A, Ms B and Ms C. She suffered a psychological injury because of this workplace bullying.
She made a Commonwealth workers’ compensation (Comcare) claim, which was rejected by Commonwealth Bank. She appealed this rejection to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
To support her appeal, Ms Riger requested that Commonwealth Bank disclose documents from the alleged bullies’ employment records which go to their behaviour towards other employees.
Commonwealth Bank refused to disclose these records as, in their opinion, the request was a “fishing expedition” because the records were not relevant to the alleged bullies’ conduct towards Ms Riger.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal ordered that Commonwealth Bank disclose these records, finding that they were “logically probative” to Ms Riger’s allegations about the alleged workplace bullying.
Many of the alleged incidents toward our client were unwitnessed. Ms Riger cannot call witnesses and “legitimately corroborate” her version of events.
The employment records of the alleged bullies may provide details of their workplace bullying behaviour towards other colleagues. Any other complaints may demonstrate that the alleged bullies had a propensity or tendency to bully their colleagues.
What does this mean for workers?
This win is important for victims of workplace bullying. Often, workplace bullies act “behind closed doors”, isolating their victims before targeting them. This means that victims cannot reach out to colleagues to verify what happened and makes it difficult for the worker to prove the facts underpinning their workers’ compensation claim.
However, if a worker can provide evidence that the perpetrator had a tendency of bullying their colleagues as the worker describes, this is critical in tipping the balance in a worker’s favour and successfully claiming workers’ compensation.
Have you been injured at work?
Hall Payne Lawyers has considerable experience in acting for workers under both the Commonwealth workers’ compensation scheme and state-based schemes across Australia. If your workers’ compensation claim has been rejected or closed, we can help. Contact our lawyers today.
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This article relates to Australian law; either at a State or Federal level.
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