The term ‘workplace malpractice‘ covers an extensive range of instances where negligent behaviour occurs in a workplace environment. When a victim can successfully prove that an employer has breached a duty of care to them and thus caused their injuries (whether physical or psychological), they may be eligible for compensation.
This was evident in a recent case brought before the NSW District Court where one man had experienced extreme workplace bullying that left him with significant psychological issues.
Summary of the case
At the time of proceedings, the plaintiff was a 52-year-old man who was suffering from a range of psychiatric conditions including depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He claimed his issues were predominantly caused by the bullying and harassment he experienced at the hands of his manager when he was employed by the defendant between 2003 and 2004.
At the hearing, the plaintiff sought damages under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) including damages for past lost wages and future earnings up to the date in which he would have been entitled to retire (February 20, 2034.)
The defendant accepted that the plaintiff was bullied by his manager, however it disputed a number of facts, including that the plaintiff’s condition and his inability to work was caused by workplace bullying solely.
The plaintiff’s evidence
During the hearing, the court learned that on many occasions the manager had yelled at the plaintiff, told him he was bad at his job and berated him for some aspects of his work by saying that his fellow colleagues all thought he was a poor performer.
The court also found that the manager was physical to the plaintiff. For example, on one occasion when the plaintiff was sat at his cubicle, the manager slapped him with an open hand across the back of the head very hard.
What did the court decide?
After reviewing an array of medical reports which detailed the plaintiff’s debilitating psychiatric issues, the court felt satisfied that the manager was responsible for his health issues. Furthermore, the defendant was found liable for the plaintiff’s injuries as it was the employer of the manager at the time of the abuse and allowed this conduct to occur.
Overall, the defendant was ordered to pay a combined total of $1,394,421.91 in damages to the plaintiff.
If you have sustained injuries due to the negligent behaviour of an employer, whether physical or psychological, it’s important to speak with a legal team about your options. For more information, get in touch with a specialist workers compensation lawyer at Gerard Malouf & Partners.