Teacher wins her bullying case

Teacher wins her bullying case

WorkSafe defines workplace bullying as “repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed at an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to health and safety.”

A recent Redlich’s case study clearly depicts bullying and harassment in the workplace and the damaging effect these behaviours have on a person’s life.

Our client’s story

Our client was a very passionate teacher devoted to her school and students, however around 2018, our client ceased work due to a psychiatric condition that developed over time due to ongoing and relentless bullying and harassment from the principal at the school she was employed at.

Some of the incidents that our client was subjected to include the principal aggressively raising his voice at our client while slamming his hands on the desk, as well as repeatedly making offensive and inappropriate comments to our client regarding her:

  • child having autism, suggesting that she was the cause of the child’s autism
  • personality
  • physical appearance including her weight and height. 

These remarks often involved the principal saying to her when she was eating that “it will go straight to your arse and you won’t be able to fit through the door” and gesture with his hands that she was blowing up and puff out his cheeks to indicate that her face is getting fat.

As a direct result of the principal’s behaviour, our client developed a psychiatric injury and was diagnosed with major depression, an adjustment disorder, depressed and anxious mood.

After our client lodged her WorkCover claim, the Principal was appointed as her Return to Work officer, which meant our client was required to have further contact with the principal knowing well he was the cause of her injury.

Outcome

The impact of the psychiatric injury on our client was very considerable and it affected every aspect of her life.

After a long battle our client has had a big win.

WorkSafe granted our client a serious injury certificate enabling her to sue her employer. Our legal team at Redlich’s attended a conference and continued negotiations with the Defendant to achieve a fair and just settlement for our client to compensate her for her loss. 

The Defendant did not contest liability and Redlich’s secured a settlement in excess of $600,000 for our client without the need to go to Court.

We are extremely pleased with the outcome and so is our client.

“Developing a psychological injury in my workplace because of the bullying behaviour of my principal changed my whole life. It took away my job. The job that I was absolutely loving and thriving in. It took away my career. The career that I had worked so hard to achieve over 15 years. It took away parts of my life that I couldn't believe.

My mental health suffered immensely. I have no self-esteem, no confidence, severe anxiety and depression and have difficulty leaving my house. It affected all my relationships including with my children. It put severe strain on my marriage, friendships and work relationships.

Thankfully it was suggested to me that I work with Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers to see if I was eligible for any compensation. Tina Toutzaris-Sabo and her team including Zanna Gorfe were so helpful from first contact. Tina was up front and clear about the process that I would need to go through to pursue any compensation. Tina and Zanna were always quick to respond to any inquiries l had.

I am so grateful that I worked with a team that was patient, kind and empathetic to my situation but provided me with honest, realistic information and advice at all times. The compensation I received because of the work of Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers will change my future.”

If you have developed a mental health injury over the course of your employment, it is important to get advice early. Our expert team of lawyers can assist you with your claim. Contact them on (03) 9321 9988.

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