Understanding workplace bullying can reduce school disruption

There were 462 psychological injury claims registered with WorkCover Queensland in 2013–2014 from the education sector.

WorkCover Customer Services Manager Sean McMullen said that people with psychological injuries took longer to recover and return to work than many physical injury claims, and the individual claims were more costly.

"The average time it took for an education sector worker with a psychological injury claim to return to work last financial year was 64 days," Mr McMullen said.

"In addition to the impact on the staff member registering the claim, it can cause considerable disruption to students and the operations of the school, including the need to organise relief teachers.

"Workplace bullying is often the alleged basis of many psychological injury claims registered with WorkCover."

In a webinar hosted by WorkCover on 11 June 2014, Shane Stockill, Principal Advisor (Psychosocial) from the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Business Assistance Unit, provided businesses with practical guidance and assistance on how to identify and manage the risks of bullying in their workplace.

This three-minute video clip contains highlights from this one-hour webinar, and is a helpful resource for education sector employers to share with staff as part of their professional training and development.

"It raises awareness of what is bullying and what is not in the workplace, something that is often misinterpreted," Mr McMullen said.

"The video also highlights reasonable management action exclusion. It is acceptable for an employer to discuss a worker's performance with them as long as it is done in a reasonable manner.

"Both the worker and employer are encouraged to keep the lines of communication open and work through any difficulties that may prevent the worker from remaining at work.

"This can help stop the worker from decompensating and requiring extended time away from work, which can cause emotional and financial distress to the worker and disruption to the school."

Watch the video highlights above, or see the full webinar recording.

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Last updated
14 January 2019