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Bringing a claim for bullying.

For more information contact: Julia Adlem or one of our other experienced lawyers on 8410 9294 or send an email via this form.

Bullying regularly occurs in schools and workplaces, despite many campaigns against it.

This regular occurrence may be because it appears that society condones and even encourages aggressive behaviour in many areas.

Going to work should be at worst tolerable, it should not be terrifying with each day an endurance test, where people are left crippled emotionally, psychologically and physically.

Although there is no legal definition of bullying, it has been defined as “a repeated pattern of unprovoked, unwelcome, hostile behaviour that intentionally inflicts, or attempts to inflict, injury, hurt, humiliation or discomfort”.

Bullying can be physical (pushing, poking, shoving or hitting etc.) or psychological (sarcasm, insults, isolation, constant criticism, taunting, abusive language, yelling, offensive messages, pictures, emails, voice mail, malicious gossip, withholding of materials or equipment, sabotage, and taking credit for another’s work etc).

Victims of bullying react in a number of different ways, experiencing some of the following:

Behavioural effects, such as heavier smoking, excessive drinking, overeating, drug-taking.

Emotional problems, including loss of confidence, feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy, feelings of self-blame, irritability, low self-esteem, severe anxiety, stress, panic attacks, irrationality.

Physical problems, including dry mouth, facial tics, hand tremors, nausea, loss of appetite, eating disorders, rashes, asthma, high blood pressure, insomnia, heart disease, reduced immunity, shoulder and neck pain, bowel problems, excessive sweating, migraine.

Long term impacts may include financial problems, relationship problems, PDSD (prolonged duress stress disorder) and even suicide.

Bullying claim investigations by insurers are rigorous and usually not accepted at the first instance. Often victims are forced into the courts if the employer refuses to accept the WorkCover claim; unfortunately, employers often draw out the process and it becomes too costly for the claimants to proceed.

There is no single statutory avenue for a bullying claim, however victims can seek redress and claim damages through criminal, industrial relations, anti-discrimination and occupational health and safety legislation.

DISCLAIMER: this newsletter is not intended as legal advice; no reliance is to be placed hereon.