Every worker has the right to feel safe and happy at work. We all deserve this security, not only in relation to the work that we do, but also with our interactions and relationships with our colleagues.

Despite this, the statistics for bullying and harassment in the workplace are alarming. It is reported that roughly one in three Australian workers has experienced some form of bullying or poor workplace behaviour, and one in two has witnessed it.

A recent Safe Work Australia report showed that from 5,743 workers surveyed, 6.8% of Australian workers reported that they had been bullied at work in the preceding six months. 3.5% of workers even reported experiencing bullying for longer than a 6-month period.

Workers compensation claims are not limited solely to physical injuries sustained at work. Claims extend to psychological injuries, with many stemming from being exposed to bullying and harassment by colleagues during the course of employment. Often workers feel threatened and frightened to speak out about the behaviour they are experiencing at work for fear of negative repercussions and consequences that they may later face. At times, workers feel like there is nothing they can do, particularly when the person or people bullying are in a higher position, or appear to be higher in the social hierarchy.  Developing psychological conditions as a result is therefore sadly more common than many people realise.

Safe Work Australia indicates that the number of compensation claims for mental disorders lodged due to work-related mental illness may underestimate the size of the problem. Work-related Injuries Survey 2010 of the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that 67% of employees eligible for workers’ compensation reported they experienced mental stress but did not apply for workers’ compensation.

It is important to seek help if you are being affected by bullying and harassment in the workplace, as your mental health and safety is paramount for your professional and personal life. Many workers do not know that they have rights under the workers compensation legislation to assist them in making a claim if they have suffered a work related psychological injury.

Stacks Goudkamp are specialists in workers compensation claims for workers that have suffered a psychological injury as a result of bullying and harassment in the workplace. If you feel like you are suffering, contact Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800 to speak to one of our empathetic specialist workers compensation lawyers, or make an online enquiry for a free non obligation assessment of your claim.

Written by Sian-Louise Perez.

Sian-Louise Perez is a Solicitor in Ian Chipchase and Anna Tavianatos’ Practice Group. Sian-Louise’s practice has a particular focus on workers compensation claims and she is passionate supporter of workers’ rights.