BULLYING TRAUMA AT AUSTRALIA POST: INVESTIGATION SLAMMED

A vulnerable worker was psychologically harmed by bullying from colleagues who were bored and targeted her. The worker, a 19-year-old Afghan refugee, faced discrimination and bullying at Australia Post during her four months of employment in 2020.

Colleagues made fun of her accent, religion, and background. Australia Post, as a self-insurer under the Comcare system, denied responsibility and claimed her allegations were unsubstantiated.

The worker appealed and argued that she had experienced relentless bullying and harassment, which left her with lasting trauma. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) found in her favour, criticising Australia Post for their investigation and noting that many of their conclusions were based on suppositions, not facts.

The AAT highlighted the need for a better approach to handling workplace issues rather than engaging in legal battles. They also expressed concern about labelling young workers as permanently damaged and emphasized that the system should be there to help injured workers, not pathologise them.

Yawari and Australian Postal Corporation (Compensation) (Compensation) [2023] AATA 3208 (11 October 2023)

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