WORKSAFE sacked one of its employees just hours after she lodged a compensation claim for bullying.
Former WorkSafe health adviser Jillian Ramsden, 46, lodged the claim on July 27 after months of alleged workplace bullying.
The next day she was told she was sacked in a letter delivered by express courier at 8am.
The letter claimed Ms Ramsden, who had moved from Queensland in May to take up the $105,000-a-year job, had been dismissed for “performance accountability”, even though she had been promoted after just one month and had received no warnings.
Ms Ramsden yesterday lodged a claim with Fair Work Australia alleging she was sacked because she lodged a successful WorkCover claim – which is administered by WorkSafe – after her GP advised she was too stressed to work.
Her claim details months of allegedly relentless bullying that began three days after she started work.
A female colleague allegedly screamed at her, criticised her work and constantly undermined her.
Ms Ramsden said she was humiliated.
“I’m suing because I want the truth to come out. There is a toxic environment at WorkSafe. There’s a wider cultural issue there,” Ms Ramsden said.
After being sacked, Ms Ramsden said she was unable to cope for almost two weeks and became suicidal.
“I had no support. There is a total culture of fear there. God help you if you speak up to complain,” Ms Ramsden said.
“I was warned by a colleague about how bad she (the alleged abusive colleague) was and I was told she will either love me or hate me.”
Maurice Blackburn lawyer Josh Bornstein said WorkSafe – which is running a poster campaign encouraging employees to report workplace bullying – was unfit to fulfil its charter.
“I can promise that this case will be a long, instructive and difficult journey for WorkSafe,” Mr Bornstein said.
“If there is to be fundamental cultural change at WorkCover, it will be first necessary to expose its behaviour in this case to sustained external scrutiny by Fair Work Australia and the Federal Court.”
A spokesman for WorkSafe said Ms Ramsden’s claims were being reviewed.
“Anyone is entitled to raise issues and we are reviewing the material that was made available,” said the spokesman.