Fortunately through many public education programs, we are aware of the type of conduct that constitutes harassment or bullying. Such conduct is not of course limited to the workplace. We often hear complaints by students of being harassed or bullied at school. There are people who are harassed or bullied online through social media platforms. Whatever the nature of the harassment or bullying there are remedies available under the law.
Harassment/bullying at work
If a worker is harassed or bullied at work to the extent that they are unable to undertake their employment duties, then they are entitled to make a claim on the employers workers compensation insurer. Any anxiety or psychological condition which arises from the harassment or bullying that prevents the worker from undertaking their normal duties would constitute an “injury” under the workers compensation scheme if it can be established that the harassment or bullying was a substantial contributing factor.
The workers compensation insurer would then be obliged to meet all reasonable and necessary medical treatment expenses which would primarily involve counselling, psychological or perhaps even psychiatric treatment. In addition, the worker is entitled to receive weekly benefits of compensation (wages) for periods of absence from work.
Harassment/bullying at school
Regrettably we often hear of students being harassed or bullied at school. In those circumstances there may be a claim available for the students as against the school if it can establish that the school, through its negligence and breach of duty of care, had caused or materially contributed to the injury that arises from the harassment or bullying.
In most cases there is evidence available to establish that the school was on notice or alternatively, should have been on notice of the harassment and/or bullying and taken steps to have prevented same. There is also an obligation on schools to ensure that they have in place proper harassment and bullying policies and that these policies are being actively implemented.
If the court holds that the school was negligent in failing to prevent the bullying and/or harassment as a result of which a student has suffered injury, loss or damage then a claim for compensation can be made.
Conduct that can constitute harassment or bullying
There are many instances of conduct that would constitute harassment or bullying. Harassment is generally defined as behaviour that:
- You do not want;
- Offends, humiliate or intimidates you;
- Creates a hostile environment.
The Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales administers anti-harassment or bullying laws and handles complaints of such conduct under the Anti-discrimination Act 1977.
In New South Wales it is against the law to harass someone because of their:
- Marital or domestic status
- Transgender status.
The law applies generally to the following situations:
- In employment – when you apply for a job, license or registration to perform a job
- When you get or try to get goods or services from shops, banks or other providers
- When you apply to get into or are studying in any education institution;
- When you rent accommodation
- When you try to enter or join a registered club.
If you have been the victim of bullying or harassment in the circumstances as set out above, then Brydens Lawyers can assist by acting on your behalf in connection with a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Board or the prosecution of a claim for damages.
Brydens Lawyers are the experts in the recovery of compensation for victims of bullying and harassment. To enquire as to whether you may have any right to claim compensation contact Brydens Lawyers today.