We take a keen interest in claims that involve workplace bullying, trauma, assaults, and sexual harassment.

This is because these types of behaviour are more common than people either know or care to admit, and can cause significant injury and disability to persons (from both a psychological and physical perspective). We find that these circumstances are overwhelmingly underreported, due to fear of reprisal, and cultures that condone, encourage or ignore this type of behaviour.

John Cox takes these types of situations incredibly seriously. You have a right to not be bullied, harassed, be discriminated against, have your bodily integrity violated, be inappropriately exposed to trauma, or be injured as a result of these. These circumstances can occur in a range of different environments, such as at work, in personal relationships, or even without any precursor.

If you have been the victim of any of these circumstances and this has injured you, then depending on the situation in which the injury has occurred, you may be eligible to bring a claim under statute, for example, the Workers Compensation legislation, Fair Work Act, Civil Liability Act, and also at common law. We will be able to provide you with more specific advice tailored to your specific situation.

We sadly find that a lot of people are unable to characterise the type of victimisation that they have suffered. We have compiled a short list of themes that frequently arise in these types of situations that you should be aware of:

Common themes in
workplace bullying

  • Workers are often bullied, harassed, denigrated and victimised for the following reasons:
    • Gender: workers often outcast members of the opposite sex, especially if that occupation, field or industry is dominated by a particular sex;
    • Race, religion and culture: workers are often bullied by co-workers or superiors due to their race, ethnicity, religion and culture. Race bullying is usually perpetrated particularly against persons that are non-Caucasian, including persons with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background;
    • Sexual orientation: we often see bullying and harassment perpetrated against males and females that are homosexual;
    • Age: we often see workers be bullied based on their age. Older workers can be picked on in workplaces or industries dominated by younger generations. Similarly, younger workers that are superior to their older co-workers can face disdain and harassment from those older co-workers.
    • Perceived attractiveness: workers are often harassed, including being sexually harassed, by co-workers or superiors due to the fact that they are considered to be attractive, and are often propositioned for sex or sexual favours.
  • While the above are common themes in workplace bullying, these are not the only circumstances under which persons are targeted. Some people are bullied by their co-workers and/or superiors for no particular reason at all – they are simply singled out. The most important point to take away is that there is never logical or acceptable bullying – it is always inappropriate, and has the potential to cause serious psychological injury.
  • Workplace bullying can manifest itself in a variety of ways, such as verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, openly denigrating workers in front of others, name-calling, swearing, using derogatory names or stereotypes with reference to a worker, and isolating or ostracising a worker from the rest of the workplace.

Common themes in Sexual Harassment Matters

  • Whilst victims of sexual harassment are largely female, males are also susceptible to being, and quite frequently are, sexually harassed;
  • Sexual harassment is often used as a tactic to manipulate and intimidate victims, and to assert power and dominance over the victim;
  • Sexual harassment is often seen in relationships where there is a power imbalance, eg. Employer/employee relationship;
  • Sexual harassment is often normalised in certain environments, leading to a lack of reporting of those circumstances;
  • Sexual harassment can manifest itself in numerous ways, ranging from verbal comments made about a person’s appearance, making propositions for sex or sexual favours, indecent exposure to a person, sexual assault and abuse.

Assaults

  • Assaults can injure a person both physically and psychologically;
  • Often, a psychological injury will manifest itself in the form of a secondary injury, meaning that it will occur later in response to the assault and physical injury sustained.

Trauma

  • A person being exposed to traumatic incidents can suffer psychological injury;
  • Exposure to traumatic incidents can be prolonged and repeated over a lengthy period of time, causing the psychological injury to be ‘accumulated’, or can be a one-off incident, which causes a ‘frank’ injury;
  • Traumatic incidents can include, for example, witnessing assaults, homicide, suicide, domestic violence, and motor vehicle accidents;
  • We see that first responders such as police, ambulance, and fire & rescue are quite often exposed to trauma in and over the course of their careers.

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