Under Workers’ Compensation legislation in the ACT, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer for injuries suffered due to bullying and harassment in the workplace.

With reports of workplace bullying and harassment from colleagues on the rise, our team explains when you should consider seeking compensation for injury or damages from your employer.

Compensation for psychological injuries?

To be entitled to compensation  in the ACT, you must show that you have suffered an injury as a result of your employment.

In the Workers Compensation Act 1951 (ACT), “injury” includes mental injury.  Therefore, you can claim workers compensation if you suffer a mental injury as a result of bullying and harassment. A formal diagnosis by a doctor is required.

There are a number of behaviours that can constitute bullying and harassment, and all cases must be examined separately. Common behaviours include harsh language, verbal abuse, humiliation, practical jokes, unreasonable work demands and physical harassment.

However, the law excludes mental injuries caused completely or mostly by ‘reasonable action’ taken by employers in a reasonable way. ‘Reasonable action’ can include:

  • Transfer to another area or role for operational reasons
  • Demotion where appropriate and justified in the circumstances
  • Promotion
  • Performance appraisal in an honest, fair and constructive manner
  • Discipline where appropriate and justified in the circumstances
  • Retrenchment, termination, suspension or dismissal where appropriate and justified in the circumstances.

If you are experiencing bullying and harassment, consider taking the following steps to protect yourself and your right to compensation:

  • Write down when bullying and harassment occurs and include dates, times, and as much detail as possible (sending yourself an email with details is often a good way to timestamp incidents).
  • Speak to your manager or HR representative and keep notes about these discussions.
  • Save related emails, messages, or get colleagues to recount incidents in writing if they have witnessed bullying behaviour.
  • Seek professional help from your GP, counsellor or a psychologist.

If you are being bullied or harassed at work, don’t delay and call MEJ. Our team are ready to speak to you about your experience and explain your compensation options.

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