Vic hospital fined $60,000 for bullying

Wednesday, 06 October, 2021

Vic hospital fined $60,000 for bullying

A private Werribee hospital has been convicted and fined $60,000 after a worker was subjected to 18 months of bullying.

The bullying behaviour included verbal abuse such as yelling and swearing, telling the worker to look for another job and that other people in the office did not like her.

The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard that from September 2014 until the worker resigned in March 2016, she was bullied by Wyndham Clinic Chief Executive Officer Peter Bailey. The bullying and the clinic’s failure to address it left the worker feeling hurt, humiliated, fearful and worthless, the court heard.

Wyndham Clinic pleaded guilty to “one charge of failing to provide and maintain, as far as was reasonably practicable, systems of work that were safe and without risks to health”.

The company was also ordered to pay costs of $19,630.

A WorkSafe investigation found that Wyndham Clinic had neither policies and procedures to specifically address bullying, nor did it have a system in place to report bullying behaviour.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said bullying behaviour could have lasting impacts on workers and entire workplaces.

“Workplace bullying can devastate individuals and their families and put whole workplaces under stress,” Keen said.

“All workers deserve to go to work without fear of being bullied or harassed and all employers have a clear responsibility to protect workers from risks to their physical and mental health, including from this sort of abhorrent behaviour.”

Below are some tips from WorkSafe Victoria on preventing workplace bullying:

  • Set clear standards of which behaviours are allowed and which are not in your workplace through training and leaders role modelling desired behaviours.
  • Have policies and procedures to guide a consistent approach to prevent, respond and report workplace bullying. Discuss and promote these in team meetings and health and safety committee meetings.
  • Encourage reporting. It is important for those who experience or witness workplace bullying to know who they can talk to, that a report will be taken seriously and that confidentiality will be maintained.
  • Ensure that information about workplace bullying, including relevant policies and procedures, are part of supervisor training and new employee inductions.
  • All employers should carry out a regular check of the workplace in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives to identify hazards and risks such as signs that bullying is happening or if there is an increased risk of it happening.

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