Sexual harassment and workers’ compensation entitlements in Victoria
Published on February 27, 2018
There has been a spate of reporting of sexual harassment incidents involving recent and historical claims. While the widespread coverage of the reporting has involved high profile figures in Victoria and nationally it has prompted many victims to report their own incidents to the Police and to the media.
The stories published in the media reveal that these large numbers of victims have generally suffered in silence for many years. They have also developed significant psychological injuries as a result of the harassment. Recent reporting would suggest this is a modern phenomenon but unfortunately it has long been an issue that has gone largely unreported and hidden to date.
Where a victim is subjected to sexual harassment at work either by a superior or a colleague and they suffer a psychological injury as a result of the harassment, then they are entitled to pursue their entitlements under the workers’ compensation scheme in Victoria.
If you suffer a psychological injury as a result of sexual harassment at work and you became unable to work and require medical treatment, then you should lodge a claim for workers’ compensation as soon as possible. If it is work related and it causes you to not be able to work then you should make sure that you are receiving your proper compensation entitlements and not using your limited sick leave which is for non work related illness.
To lodge a workers’ compensation claim you must notify your employer of the incident, complete a claim form for compensation and if you are incapacitated for work and making a claim for loss of wages, then you must also provide an appropriate medical certificate that details your incapacity relating to your work injury. This claim form should be lodged directly on your employer but if that is not possible then you can lodge it on their insurer if you know who they are. If you are unsure of the insurer’s details, then you can contact Work Safe directly to enquire as to where to lodge the claim.
If you are injured at work then all of your rights are set out under the Victorian legislation. Once your claim is accepted, you will then be entitled to various benefits including payment of your wages for a period of time, coverage of your reasonable medical expenses and a lump sum impairment claim. You only need to show that your injury is related to your employment to be entitled to those benefits.
If your psychological condition is severe then you may be entitled to pursue a common law claim.
While there are various time limits that apply to pursuing such claims, the most important thing for an injured person to do is seek medical assistance as soon as possible, report the incident to your employer and lodge your claim.
In the event your claim is rejected, then you should seek advice immediately as to how to contest the rejection.
Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers have represented injured workers throughout Australia for more than 100 years. In the event you have suffered such an injury or you require advice in relation to a workers’ compensation claim in Victoria, then we recommend that you contact the office and request to speak to Paul Burke, our expert workers’ compensation legal adviser.