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My employer fired me after I lodged a workcover claim.

Community Member

I worked for a huge Federal Government employer in a mundane role. I was bullied for years by the managers until I had a complete mental breakdown. I lodged a claim for workcover and the employer lodged it with the insurance company. Two days later employer suspended my job. The insurance company denied my claim under the clause 'reasonable management actions' and then despite my written response my job was gone they didn't pay me anything. I went through the Fair work process involving a conciliation hearing, and offered nothing. Conciliators cannot make binding outcomes. I attended a employment lawyer at $500 per 50 minutes who did not care and said that I should have lodged a protected attributes dispute. The law does not allow me to change the claim though both are unfair to me. They could pursue the matter for $25,000 to potentially claim a Maximum $50,000

Also lodged a conciliation for workcover, attended and received a certificate to engage a lawyer to get me what I am owed. No guarantees. I will have to survive somehow for a year without income waiting for the outcome and still unable to work. Also stuck paying workcover bills for GP, Phycologist, psychiatrist and medication. The Management have denied any wrong doing and my life has gone from shit to completely shit.

Can anybody recall precedents on this or related forums.

Pondering my life's outcome, Rob.

4 Replies 4

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Robbed, welcome

I get you. I've had 3 workcover claims, stress, back injury and neck injury. However I've also been an investigator for a total of 18 years doing workcover claims and other stuff. So I know the industry.

With the stress anxiety claim it was a political witch hunt and I had that crossroad like you whereby I had to decide on my future. It was extremely hard to bow out and allow others to survive in my workplace that should have been punished. But let me explain why that was a wise move.

Australia is the best country in the world, however it is a democracy and the saying goes "democracy is terrible but better than the alternative". There are faults in the system. History has it that law enforcement officer in customs and other areas fight to "do the right thing" only to find they lose their job and like me, had to leave my profession. Google the "Paddington bear affair" and the "colour TV affair and you'll read of customs officers that tried to enforce politicians to pay their fair share of import tax. One customs officer ended up psychiatrically scarred forever.

At the end of the day it isn't worth the fight. So what are the alternatives? Well ensure your doctors know exactly what your capabilities are and apply for sickness benefits at Centrelink and all other benefits seek them as much as you can. Repair your mind and seek out alternative employment.

That's my advice based on my experiences and knowledge. You can fight it and do yourself more harm. Any positivity you possess you can channel into other things in life, other careers etc.

In my case I refused to give a local politician preferential treatment for his dog wandering the street. I got panic attacks arguing with my corrupt supervisor. I fought the system for 10 months before I conceded I needed a change in profession. I was right but being black and white in a grey world doesn't work.

Gone are the days of honour by standing up for what is right...it doesn't pay.

Best of luck.


Topic: worry worry worry- beyondblue

Topic: the balance of your life- beyondblue

Tony WK

Hi Rob,

I just wanted say I totally sympathize, and I wholly agree with Tony. Please take care of your mental health above all, and move forward, the pain is not worth it. Government have so many resources, its so ahrd to fight them. the worst part is bullying is extremely hard to prove, and colleagues I've known who legally pursued Government bodies without concrete proof of harassment and bullying came to more grief.

I worked for government for years myself, as a Tech expert in male dominated section. I'm proud to say I was the first female they employed and was amazing at my job. Things were great for a while, then a new boss came in, was very envious of my natural ability, and was poorly qualified himself. He tried all kind machevelion type maneuvers to make me take on his workload, while he took long absences from work. He was embarrassingly incompetent when he did anything at all, and would take it out on me by shouting, or blame me for his mistakes.

What extra work I did take on resulted in a huge amount of unpaid overtime, and he was pressuring me to do more. I put up boundaries, discussed them in meetings with everyone involved. Then the bullying and harassment started, as well his smear campaign.

I broke down eventually too and never worked for anyone else again. I was still crying about it whenever I discussed it, 5 years on. The pain and betrayal by colleagues I had liked was immense.

The reason I didn't pursue anything legally is I knew another female colleague who had gone through the same thing. When she pursued it legally, she was sued because she couldn't prove the harrassment and bullying. If you think colleagues will help you, they usually don't, they form tight net to protect the bullies.

Anyway Thats why i agree with Tony's advice, if you had a huge amount of evidence to support your claim, it would be different.

Its terrible to go through it, I'm so sorry you went through a breakdown because of the bullying. Its seems so unfair when they just get away with it, and you are left to suffer. But removing yourself from the situation and those people does give you so much peace. They can't hurt you any more. IMO Your best justice is moving forward and enjoying your life the best you can.

I wish you the best, and really sorry for the stress and trauma you experienced 😞

Community Member

Thanks Bindi and Tony, I understand where you are coming from. I need to let go. My Psychologist has explained the 5 step process of grieving and I am stuck on anger and bargaining. Your stories are encouraging me to get off the loop and move to the 'Acceptance' stage. It sounds like a better place. I am in the early stages of healing with medication and professional help. My career has been destroyed, I will never be able to apply for a position at that level again. I have applied for centrelink benefits and contacted my superannuation provider to claim their insurance benefits. I am suffering exhaustion and severe depression and anxiety. My doctors are working on getting my medicines right to live a normal life. The damage was inflicted over a long period of time, it may take a long time to completely move on.

Thanks for your encouragement, Rob.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Rob,

Unfortunately there are good people out there who are totally snowballed by others. I don't have anything positive to say after my experience with Work Cover nor bosses who told lies to have me removed from my work place.

The best thing is to try and get all the help and support you can to move you from where you are now to where you want to be tomorrow and the next day. You may have days where you feel like it is all too hard and you want to give up. I am sure many of us have days like that!

When those days hit, tell yourself you are stronger than all the crap people have chucked at you! You don't have to go under. You can float for a while until you regain your strength, then you can start moving towards a new you with different possibilities.

I want to encourage you to hang in there. To grow belief in yourself and to make new plans for tomorrow, even if they are basic, they are still plans!

Cheers to you from Dools