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14 February 2010
NEWS - Workplace Bully Victim's parents want to sue bullies after suicide of daughter
The parents of Brodie Panlock, the 19-year-old waitress who killed herself because of relentless workplace bullying, want to sue her tormenters.
Damien and Rae Panlock told Fairfax Radio on Monday that they want "real justice" after the four men were convicted and fined a total of $335,000 last week.
Former workmates Nicholas Smallwood, 26, now of Queensland, Rhys MacAlpine, 28, of Kooyong, and Gabriel Toomey, 23, of Melbourne, all pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons.
The cafe's owner Marc Luis Da Cruz and his one-man company MAP Foundation pleaded guilty to two charges, including failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment at Cafe Vamp in Hawthorn, in the city's inner east.
Brodie jumped from the fourth floor of a car park on September 20, 2006 and died in hospital three days later.
Her mother said another waitress at the cafe had warned the men to stop bullying Brodie but it went largely unheeded.
She said the family went to Brodie's grave on the weekend and sat next to it trying to comprehend the needless tragedy.
"I never will understand why people can be so cruel," Ms Panlock said.
Mr Panlock said the family would like to instigate civil action against the four men.
"It's been three-and-a-half years and if it takes another three-and-a-half years to get some real justice ... we can sit back and say we've done as much as we possibly can," Mr Panlock said.
Ms Panlock agreed with her husband.
"I'd like to take it further - we've been dealing with it over three years now ... and in three years nothing really happened - only now things are coming to the front," she said.
The couple are still devastated by their loss.
"They were relentless every day for six days a week. She had no respite, but she never showed it to me," Mr Panlock said.
Ms Panlock said she believed her daughter was about to open up about her treatment at the cafe, but Brodie cancelled a meeting with her because of work duties and then arranged to meet her the following Sunday.
But that rendezvous never occurred.
Ms Panlock pleaded for people, particularly in small businesses, to show compassion toward their workmates.
"Think before your actions in the workplace - if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything," she said.
"If Brodie had been working in a caring environment I wouldn't be here today."