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VIC Workplace Bullying Causing Relationship to Breakdown - Take Legal Action?

Discussion in 'Personal Injury Law Forum' started by Sdowden, 17 December 2015.

  1. Sdowden

    Sdowden Active Member

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    Hey all,

    I've got a weird one. My partner is going through workplace bullying to the point that she has taken stress leave. She put in a workcover claim. It was knocked back because they have cloaked it as "reasonable management". Not sure how they came up with that and I can explain all of that if needed.

    My issue is since all this started is, it's put a huge pressure on our relationship. She's now snappy at me all the time, we're always fighting and it's now at the point where breaking up is becoming the only option. Before all of this, we never had any fights, we were always happy and enjoyed being around each other.

    She doesn't want to sue them; I think she should, but could I if the relationship breaks down, with this being the cause?
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Dear Sdowden,

    In cases of liability for negligence, the party seeking compensation must firstly prove that the person they are suing owed them a duty of care. This is your first problem. There is no precedent of employers as a group owing a duty of care to their employees' partners. You must also prove that the action complained of did, in fact, cause the damage that you suffered and was not remote from the action. In other words, can you prove your relationship have still been intact but for the way your partner was treated at work? This would be a very difficult thing to establish even on the balance of probabilities. If your relationship was that strong in the first place, why have you not been able to work through her difficulties. I have never heard of anyone succeeding in bringing an action like you are proposing.
     
  3. Sdowden

    Sdowden Active Member

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    Everything was great and we're still planning on getting married in March. Since all this, however, the pressure is getting harder and harder because she's stressed, she snaps and before this, everything had been always great.
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps she should look for alternative employment.
     
  5. JS79

    JS79 Well-Known Member

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  6. Sdowden

    Sdowden Active Member

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    Sorry guys, I forgot my login and couldn't reply.

    A few details on the case.

    My partner is the counter manger & fine art manager.

    Back in August everything was going great. A staff member came to her and said although she loves working there, her partner can't get a visa and she was moving back home. They all went to a goodbye dinner, there her manager (the boss's daughter(BD)) was there.

    The next day the girl leaving said that it was a little odd because of BD and would like a real goodbye night out, so invited the whole counter who all are close, my partner was invited and I went along.
    All bonded and all staff got to see the real person my partner is.

    The following week, about an hour before my partner was to finish, she was called into a meeting, 3 points were raised in a "letter of concern". 2 were made up, one was taking out of context (staff member said "scared of her" while laughing). She is still waiting on the formal letter of concern.

    The following week, my partner was informed of a change in plans, when told that the BD would be catching up on her work because "she has a lot of work". My partner said, "yep of course, you do".

    The next day, on her way out after clocking off, she was handed a "invitation to a formal meeting" where she would be handed a written warning. The BD who was making the claims stated in the letter that "she would be the sole person in charge of the meeting and any ruling that may come from it, inc. dismissal".

    My partner spoke with the GM who said he'll handle it, while the BD was meeting with HR (off site). My partner then made a formal complaint for targeted action. Formal warning was put to the side.

    The following Tuesday my partner was informed of a 100% role change, no longer allowed in the fine art area. No reason was given and they are now over staffed at the counter. She spoke with the GM who stated it was wood ducks idea, her name is on the building, get used to it.

    My partner gets a result back from her complaint, told that it's nothing, matter now put to rest, further action will see legal action taken. Gets handed a written warning for "of cause you do", was offered no support for the meeting. Bonus is knocked back, told 3 reasons, all 3 were made up including "we had to put you through training twice", she was asked back as a team leader because she excelled at the course.

    Her email is searched overnight, was emailed at 11pm on a Saturday night blasting her for a mistake the owner made and GM gave ok to fix the way she did.

    The BD makes up a complaint about a phone call, witness backed up my partner. We're given emails from someone (still don't know) with proof that they want to get rid of her. The BD blasts my partner in front of customers for "not sharing an unfinished training manual". My partner is then written up for that.

    Since all this started, my partner has to be under full time watch, she's always crying, doesn't sleep, doesn't eat, is always snappy at everyone, has pretty much stopped all wedding planing and workcover knocked her back.
     
  7. Julia S

    Julia S Active Member

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  8. Sdowden

    Sdowden Active Member

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    Hey guys,

    A few weeks/months ago I posted about my partners work issues, she was knocked back for workcover based on the investigation found it was "reasonable management".

    We've been over the notes getting ready for conciliation and have to work out how they found it was "reasonable management", the workplace has lied time and time again.

    The main basis of their "story" is around the "need to send the claimant" to undergo training because she was hard to work with and staff were quitting based on this.

    My partner did a course paid for by her workplace and went back as an invited leader. That had started in May of 2014, went for 3 months, then started again as a leader and finished in on November 19th. The staff had all finished in the week before Xmas, 1 month after the course had finished for the second time.

    They have also claimed they set up the leadership course which was invitation only. I've spoken with the person running the course who says otherwise.

    In the notes, it states that the manager had held "exit interviews" with 2 of the final staff to leave. There is no audio or video of these interviews, only notes. A lot was made on how "the staff were unable to work with my partner"

    In 1 of the exit interviews, it's listed as a 3rd point, in the manager's handwriting, on the very side of the page, no proof it was said. This was dated the 23rd of Dec.

    The second exit interview the staff member states that she's "going full time" elsewhere and doesn't state anywhere that she was unhappy with her manager (my partner).

    It also states that my partner was given points in a letter from a "letter of concern", this still hasn't happened.

    Her PD was changed and updated, then used in the investigation. There are emails there that were never sent, we have access to all emails up until the day she took leave.

    I'm mentioned in it as being 'out of work". I'm a freelance photographer who did NEIS through Centrelink and have worked for much of the past 5 years.

    A staff member told me that he was given the day off out of the blue the day the investigator was due there, he would have backed up most of my partners story.


    On the notes it states on point one of each statement that:

    I declare that all information provided is this witness statement is, to the best of my knowledge, true and correct and that any false or misleading information in this witness statement may be punishable by law.

    So, where do we go to file charges?
     
  9. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    A lawyer :)

    Trying to do something like you are proposing takes legal knowledge to do well.

    Perjury and falsifying evidence doesn't seem to attract the attention in court that it should. The difficulty many people face is the burden of proof changes from the 'balance of probabilities' for civil matters, to 'beyond a reasonable doubt' in a criminal proceeding. Jumping the higher barrier can be hard.
     

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