What is workplace bullying and can I claim workers compensation?

Workplace bullying is more common than you think. If you are experiencing workplace bullying, you may have a claim for workers compensation. Find out more.

Everyone should feel safe in the workplace. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you are facing workplace bullying, you have the right to claim workers compensation.

What is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying occurs when repeated and unreasonable behaviour is targeted toward an individual or a particular group of people, posing a risk to health and safety. Workplace bullying may manifest in verbal, physical, social or cyber bullying. Any physical or psychological harm caused may constitute grounds to make a claim for workers compensation.

With so many different types of communication available in today’s world, workplace bullying can take place in the form of emails, Whatsapp chat groups, Facebook threads and on other forms of social media. Bullying on these platforms usuaully involves negative group chats or text chains where the subject of the conversation is a particular employee or staff member.

Some examples of workplace bullying include:

  • Racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic or transphobic behaivour
  • Verbal aggression
  • Belittling comments
  • Intimidation or humiliation 
  • Uncomfortable physical behaviour
  • Targeted exclusion 
  • Impossible work demands

Bullying at the workplace may happen while you are at work, whether you are a:

  • Full time employee
  • Casual employee
  • Volunteer
  • Apprentice
  • Intern

There is compensation available for both physical and emotional abuse suffered in the workplace. However, there are differences regarding what you need to prove to be successful with your claim. 


Physical abuse

Physical injury at the workplace can have an ongoing impact on your body and result in expensive medical expenses. You should not have to incur these expenses alone. 

If you suffer physical abuse and cannot return to your place of work, you may be entitled to make a workers compensation claim for your medical treatment and loss of earnings.

Physical abuse may include:

  • Direct assault in the form of punching, pushing, kicking or throwing physical objects
  • Stalking or other behaviour that may cause fear of violence
  • Hazing or initiation practices 

To prove your workers compensation claim for physical abuse successfully, you will need to provide the relevant medical evidence to show the extent of injuries sustained. The assessment is generally an objective one, based on medical reports.


Emotional abuse

You may also be entitled to claim compensation for medical expenses and loss of earnings for emotional abuse suffered in the workplace. 

Common examples of emotional abuse include:

  • Verbal abuse that may involve repeated swearing and yelling
  • Constant rejection of your ideas and thoughts 
  • Isolating you from other employees 

Unlike physical abuse, the effects of emotional abuse are not directly visible. However, it can be extremely harmful to your mental health and drastically deteriorate your self-esteem and self-worth. To prove emotional abuse, the evidence required is a subjective medical opinion supported by factual statements. 

If you are experiencing workplace bullying, regardless of whether it is of a physical or emotional nature, you should see your workplace lawyer immediately.

How do I claim workers compensation for workplace bullying?

With any workers compensation claim, you need to gather the appropriate evidence to support your claim. A common starting point is to document how the workplace bullying first occurred. 

If you suffered a psychological or physical injury as a result of bullying at your place of employment, it is important to obtain statements from witnesses about the negative behaviour directed towards you. These statements can be obtained from people you live with or work colleagues and should describe the impact this abuse had on your wellbeing, such as how this behaviour affected your motivation and interest in your work. 

Please ensure that you visit your GP and seek medical attention for the sake of your wellbeing, and if necessary, obtain specialist referral. For the purposes of making and running a workers compensation claim you are also required to provide medical evidence and your GP will be required to complete a certificate of capacity. This medical certificate is to be submitted with the claim form and every 28 days thereafter, to ensure that your entitlements will continue as long as required for your recovery. 

How much workers compensation can I claim?

There are several forms of compensation you may receive if you are successful:


Weekly payments

If you cannot work, either temporarily or permanently, you could be eligible for weekly benefits.


Medical treatment expenses

You may also be entitled to receive compensation for your treatment costs associated with the injury.


Lump-sum payout

In the event of permanent impairment as a result of workplace bullying, you may also be entitled to a lump-sum payout. Generally, lump-sum payouts can be substantial, however you need to show that your injury has resulted in a certain degree of permanent impairment.

To ensure you maximise the outcome of your compensation claim, speak to a workers compensation specialist.

Protect your workers rights

Workplace bullying is a serious issue in Australia and can cause ongoing physical and psychological injuries. The first step in making a claim is identifying that you are experiencing workplace bullying, which can be difficult. Fortunately, help is available. The workers compensation lawyers at Masselos & Co are well versed in cases involving workplace bullying and will work hard to protect your rights. Book your free consultation today.

Get in touch today

Our expert lawyers are on hand to answer any questions you might have, with no obligation.