Victorian Bulling Employer ordered to pay A$600,000
Ms Swan worked for the Monash Law Book Co-operative (Legibooks) which operated at Monash University.
In March 2003, Ms Swan made a complaint about Mr Cowell’s behaviour, including two separate incidents in which he threw a book at her and a calculator. She also stated that Mr Cowell had threatened to fire her and spoke to her in an intimidating and sarcastic way.
The Monash Law Book Co-operative held a board meeting and acknowledged that Mr Cowell’s behaviour could cause damage to Ms Swan and discussed their obligations as her employer. They planned measures which Ms Swan was happy with but none of these measures were implemented.
Ms Swan continued to be subjected to bullying by Mr Cowell. In July 2007, as a result of Mr Cowell’s ongoing behaviour, Ms Swan suffered a breakdown.
Ms Swan commenced proceedings against the defendant for negligence.
In the Supreme Court of Victoria Justice Dixon was highly critical of the conduct of the defendant in failing to address a reasonably foreseeable risk to Ms Swan’s health and safety, in circumstances where the defendant was aware of both its legal obligations and the risks associated with its failure to properly manage Ms Swan’s complaint.
His Honour awarded Ms Swan $292,554.38 for past and future economic loss and an additional $300,000 for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Etracted from an article by:
September 4 2013
The Victorian Supreme Court recently awarded a bookstore employee nearly $600,000 in damages, finding that her employer breached its duty of care by failing to address bullying and harassment in its workplace.
Swan v Monash Law Book Co-operative  VSC 326
Employers like Monash Book Co-operative and Westmead Hospital are being held more accountable for the psychological damage of bullying. Victims can often obtain a free interview with an Industrial Relations lawyer at many of the large law firms.
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