11 June 2013

Bullied at work for being too thin - Worker's Compensation Case Australia

AFTER Abby Holt complained of bullying by her team leader at Westpac's Queensland head office, a senior manager escorted her off the premises without even investigating, a Commissioner has found.

VICTIM WINS: Abby Holt has won an appeal against Q-Comp in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission over bullying. Picture: Stuart Quinn

Ms Holt, 31, now has won an appeal against Q-Comp in Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, allowing her to receive worker's compensation.
Shine Lawyers is considering a claim against Westpac for Ms Holt, who suffered an adjustment order and anxiety and has been looking for work since leaving the bank in 2011.
Ms Holt told the Commission the name-calling about her weight and appearance began within weeks of her starting as implementation manager with team leader Emily Lowson in September 2010.
QIRC deputy president Daniel O'Connor said being called "Scabby Abby'' and "Scabs'' by Ms Lowson and implementation manager Kayla Chiesa was offensive and likely to humiliate Ms Holt.
Ms Holt, who weighed about 53 kilograms, said Ms Lowson called her a ``Breatharian'' because she did not eat much while working in the Queen St, Brisbane head office.
The Commissioner found Ms Holt was referred to as a ``Coke puppet'' by one of the women, ``because her head was too big for her body'' and the women even ``Youtubed'' the Diet Coke ad to show her.
Ms Lowson, who also commented about her ``cheap'' clothing, falsely claimed there had been written and verbal complaints about Ms Holt in March, 2011.
When Ms Holt complained to Ms Lowson's superior Damian Cramer about the team leader bullying her he told her that her name had been ``tarnished'' within the business, the Commissioner said.
Mr O'Connor found that Mr Cramer told Ms Holt there was no room left in the business for her and she needed to have a good think about her future at Westpac.
He said later on Mr Cramer took the ``extraordinary step'' of asking her to leave the building and escorting her from the premises.
Mr O'Connor said it was ``akin to a summary dismissal'' rather than a reasonable response to an employee's complaint of bullying and harassment, which he did not investigate.
Ms Holt, who now is hopeful of finding a new job, said: ``I went from a happy confident person to a girl who was insecure and always upset.
``I fought for justice and I feel so good now. I hope other people won't let this sort of bullying happen to them.''
Ms Holt's lawyer Martha King said: ``The case is particularly disappointing, given the behaviour came from within such a renowned company.''


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