co-authored by Louise Almeida, Graduate
Australian emergency workers are facing crippling psychiatric injuries due to bullying on the job.
Bullying of first responders, including those within police, ambulance and fire services, has recently been under the legal spotlight.
In an unprecedented move, Worksafe has charged Victoria Police with bullying-related offences, the Age has reported. Worksafe also charged a senior sergeant from the Monash Crime Investigation Unit with two bullying offences.
Victoria's emergency management commissioner, Craig Lapsley, resigned following bullying allegations. Mr Lapsley admitted to engaging in inappropriate workplace behaviour that was abrasive and confronting .
Meanwhile, interstate, the Queensland State Government is investigating bullying claims in the police force, following reports that many police officers had committed, attempted or contemplated suicide. In New South Wales, a parliamentary inquiry recommended making an independent complaints body to tackle the systemic bullying and harassment faced by emergency workers.
Following on from recent traumatic incidents, the Victorian Government have announced that emergency service workers will benefit from proposed reforms to workplace mental health systems. Under the $12 million scheme there will be no limit to medical and like expenses and a 13-week target will be set for resolution of WorkCover claims. Grants of up to $10,000 will also be made available for first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
First responders who sustain an injury due to be being bullied on the job are entitled to lodge a WorkCover claim. A successful WorkCover claim enables an injured person to access a variety of benefits. Injured first responders may also have an entitlement to a common law damages claim. Please click here for further information on entitlements.
Adviceline Injury Lawyers has helped a variety of first responders who have suffered physical or psychological injuries due to being bullied at work. We are able to assist with lodging an initial WorkCover claim, navigating the WorkCover system and providing advice on common law rights.
For free advice about your circumstances, rights and entitlements call our expert team on (03) 9321 9988.