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Is it possible to claim compensation when you are sexually harassed at work?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Is it possible to claim compensation when you are sexually harassed at work?

Yes, it is possible to claim compensation if you have been sexually harassed at work.

It is possible to make a claim at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) under Equal Opportunity Legislation and it is also possible to make a WorkCover claim. VCAT can make a decision not to hear your claim if it is made more than 12 months after the harassment occurred, so it is important to get legal advice about your rights to claim compensation as soon as possible after the harassment. We can help you with this claim.

A WorkCover claim can be made if you have suffered an injury, such as a psychological injury, as a result of the behaviour. A WorkCover claim for weekly payments can be made if you need time off work and a WorkCover claim can also be made for medical and like expenses such as sessions with your doctor or a psychologist or psychiatrist. We can help you make claim and to advise you under WorkCover legislation.

If you have been sexually harassed at work and you have permanent psychological or other injuries it is also possible to claim common law damages. Any common law claim must be made within 6 years. Because of the time limits that apply it is important to get advice about your rights to compensation as soon as possible. 

Your first consultation is free and without obligation so if you want to know more about your rights make an appointment to talk to Penny and she can give you some more information.

 

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Overtime not included in calculation of weekly payments for worker made redundant before making a WorkCover claim.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

  

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Provision of a scooter trailer found to be reasonable and necessary in a work injury case – Claims Agent liable to pay

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Provision of a scooter trailer found to be reasonable and necessary in a work injury case – Claims Agent liable to pay

The Magistrates Court recently found that a WorkCover Claims Agent – Xchanging, was liable for the costs associated with the provision of a scooter trailer in a work injury case.

The Worker, Terry Cooper, had sustained a severe back injury in 1991 after falling from a ladder. He had subsequently undergone a lumbar fusion operation at L4/5 and L5/S1 and had significantly reduced mobility as well as a serious psychological injury, including chronic major depression and panic disorder. He had been off work and in receipt of weekly payments since the injury in 1991.

Mr Cooper had moved to Raymond Island as he had been suicidal and had a support network on the island. Xchanging had agreed to pay for a motorised scooter, a Queen-sized bed, toilet frame, hand rail in shower, hand held shower, computer chair and an extra 1.5 hours of home help a fortnight.

X changing then refused a request to pay for a scooter trailer on the grounds that it was not reasonable in the circumstances; the scooter was of no benefit to him; and it would be unlikely to assist in increasing his ability to function or his work capacity. Mr Cooper argued that he needed the scooter trailer as his support network was no longer on the island and he needed to visit friends elsewhere as he was “going mad” and feeling confined.

The Magistrate said that in determining whether the Claims Agent was liable for the scooter trailer he had to look at “whether the scooter trailer is an aid that is reasonably and necessarily required having regard to the nature and extent of the injuries sustained by Mr Cooper and their impact on his activities of daily living.”

In this case, after considering all the evidence, the Magistrate found that because the scooter trailer would be beneficial for Mr Cooper, in so far as his mobility, independence and ability to socially interact was concerned and further, because it may assist in reducing the impact of his psychiatric injury and it was supported on medical grounds by his treating GP and psychiatrist, the Claims Agent should pay for the scooter trailer.

Decision of:Magistrate S Garnett in Terry Cooper v VWA [2016] VMC024

 

 

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Why its a good idea to get legal advice before Conciliation

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I was recently asked to give a presentation to the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service and be part of a Panel discussing the role of lawyers in the Conciliation process. In my presentation I said that it was my opinion, that the sooner someone gets legal advice about their rights and entitlements, the better, and that in my view, the fact that many workers are now getting legal advice before Conciliation, is a good thing, especially for the workers. Generally speaking, this is because it is always better to get advice while the events surrounding an injury are fresh in the mind and while relevant witnesses can be contacted. The particular benefit of getting legal advice before Conciliation, is that people are simply much better equipped to make important decisions about their claim, after they have had a good long discussion with a lawyer about all of their possible rights and entitlements.  

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Sleeplessness and Serious Injury

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

"I am so tired I can't concentrate" "I am irritable all the time because I wake several times at night because of my injury". These are common complaints I hear from clients who have serious injuries.  Sleeplessness caused by injuries is a relevant factor to consider when assessing whether an injury passes the serious injury test in work injury and transport accident cases in Victoria.
 

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Five deaths at work in 9 days - WorkSafe urges employers to protect employees

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

One death at work is too many deaths, but in the last nine days WorkSafe has reported that five workers in Victoria have tragically died at the workplace causing devastation and untold pain to their loved ones. These deaths include a 64 year old contractor who was killed in an explosion at a housing development site at Harkaway, a 76 year old man crushed by a tractor at Loch, the electrocution of a a 25 year old electrician in Braeside, a 29 year old killed in Keysborough when a piece of equipment fell off a forklift crushing him and a 76 year old farm worker electrocuted while working on a pump in Anakie. News of so many horrific incidents occuring in so short a time frame, in Victoria alone, is alarming. 
 

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Teacher’s damages award for psychological injury confirmed

Thursday, September 17, 2015

In a recent Victorian case, it was confirmed that an employer was negligent for failing to counsel and mediate when it knew that a fraught relationship between employees was causing a deterioration in the psychological condition of one of them.

A trades teacher employed by the Box Hill TAFE, brought a case in the Supreme Court claiming damages for a psychological injury brought about by the treatment he received from a supervisor, over time and in twelve separate incidents. The teacher suffered from depression. Medical certificates of capacity given to the Box Hill TAFE by the teacher, made it clear that his psychological condition was deteriorating as a result of his relationship with his supervisor.The supervisor did not know that the teacher was suffering a Psychological condition that was at risk of deteriorating as a result of the relationship between the two. After the final, twelfth incident, which involved the supervisor having ‘blasted’ the teacher, the teacher was unable to work, and his lifestyle and enjoyment of past times were significantly affected.

In the Supreme Court decision handed down in December 2014, Justice Jack Forrest dismissed the teacher’s claim that he had been constantly bullied and harassed over a period of time and also found that he was a “totally unreliable and unsatisfactory witness."

However, Justice Forrest went on to find that the Box Hill TAFE should have taken action to prevent the teacher’s condition from deteriorating as a result of the final, twelfth incident, by giving the supervisor information about the teacher’s condition, and by counselling both and conducting a mediation. Failure to intervene in this way, the court held, was negligent and the teacher was entitled to damages for the pain and suffering he had experienced and for loss of earnings occasioned by not being able to work. For his psychological injuries the Court awarded $110,000 in pain and suffering damages and $122,000 for loss of earnings. The teacher also claimed damages for spinal injuries and was awarded $125,000.

The Court of Appeal upheld the original Supreme Court decision and the decision, handed down on 10 September can be found at:http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VSCA/2015/245.html

If you would like to discuss this decision or if you would like to know whether an employer may have negligently caused a psychological injury in a particular set of circumstances please contact Penny on 97751371 or by email: penny@peninsulainjurylawyers.com.au

 

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