20 Jul Staggering payout to bullied worker. Could this happen to your business?
An employee who claimed her life had been “destroyed” following intense bullying and intimidating behaviour by the CEO was recently awarded $2.8 million dollars by the Federal Court.
Hawkesbury Race Club Limited was ordered to pay $2.8 million dollars to the employee which included $1.7 million in compensation ($214,250 for pain and suffering, $1,169,048 for past economic loss, $869,745 for future economic loss and $78,980 in interest), $24,233 for breach of contract damages, $160,000 in civil penalties, and $300,000 in costs, although the amount was then reduced for workers compensation payments already made to the employee.
In 2016 the Club appointed a new CEO who began to micromanage the longstanding employee with a history of 25 years of successful service to the club. This ultimately ended in psychological damage as a result of humiliation, embarrassment and distress caused by the “intentionally severe” behaviour of the CEO to force the employee out of her position together with the Board’s hands off approach to managing the situation and failing to take reasonable care to prevent a foreseeable risk of psychiatric injury.
Under the WHS Act, employers must take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of an employee sustaining an injury including a psychological one. Allegations of workplace bullying cannot be swept under the carpet for the sake of your business not being ordered to make a multimillion-dollar payout!
As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”. One way to eliminate the risk of this happening to your business is to create a culture where bullying is not tolerated. So how can you do this?
- Create a policy that calls out your zero tolerance and reminds workers that bullying is against the law.
- Create a procedure for making complaints.
- Train your workers to ensure they have a clear understanding of what behaviour is considered bullying and what they should do if they feel they are being bullied at work.
- Train your managers in how to handle complaints.
If your business needs assistance to understand its obligations in preventing, managing and responding to workplace bullying, reach out to us at Business 360.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Request a copy of our “Workplace Bullying”, “3 Tips to Conducting a Workplace Investigation” or “How to Write a Warning to an Employee” guide email email@example.com
- For a confidential phone discussion with one of our Team, click or scan below to book a time to discuss your needs, or
- Call us on 1300 287 360