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Judgment handed down in Wearne v State of Victoria

13 February 2017

The Court has awarded a plaintiff damages in the sum of $625,345 in respect of a workplace injury claim against her employer.    

The plaintiff, who was employed as a case manager for young offenders in the defendant’s Department of Human Services, claimed that she was bullied and harassed by a supervisor.  Further or alternatively, the plaintiff claimed that she was unnecessarily exposed to psychiatric harm in her workplace through negligent supervision during the claim period by her managers, who knew of her pre-existing psychological fragility and of her susceptibility to suffer psychiatric harm.

The Court found that while the bullying allegation was not made out on the balance of probabilities, the defendant had failed to exercise the standard of care reasonably expected of an employer in the circumstances and that the plaintiff was consequently entitled to damages. But for the defendant’s failure to take the reasonable action that were found to constitute the breaches of its duty of care to the plaintiff, the plaintiff would not have suffered a breakdown.

The Court awarded pain and suffering damages in the sum of $210,000 and pecuniary loss in the sum of $415,345.

Note: This summary is necessarily incomplete. The only authoritative pronouncement of the Court’s reasons and conclusions is that contained in the published reasons for judgment.

Read the full judgement on Austlii

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