$1.2m and counting: Top Fair Work payouts for 2013

by 03 Mar 2014
Does your workplace has an effective policy for managing bullying complaints? If not, you may want to get onto that, pronto: last year a bookstore employee was awarded almost $600,000, after her bosses failed to act on her complaints. This is just one of the cases that was paid big bucks in damages in 2013.
June 26: $592,554
Bookstore employee and mother-of-two, Wendy Swan, had a mental breakdown following five years of ongoing abusive and violent outbursts from her boss, Kriston Cowell. Swan made complaints to the board that her superior subjected her to “sarcasm, hostility, rudeness and violent behaviour”, but her bosses failed to take action. Swan was awarded $292,554.38 for past and future loss of earnings and $300,000 in pain and suffering.
August 6: $335,000
CBA employee Stephen Barker was involved in a company restructure in 2009, and was told the bank would deploy him to a suitable position elsewhere in the company. When they failed to find him that role, he sued and was ultimately awarded $317,000 for loss of the opportunity to be redeployed to a suitable position within the bank.
May 9: $270,000
Advertising executive Paul Fishlock was awarded $270,000 in damages after the NSW Supreme Court found his contract was repudiated. A significant diminution in remuneration, status or responsibility may constitute a repudiation; in Fisher’s case, he was effectively demoted when his employer hired a new staff member to subtly ease Fishlock out of the company. He was awarded $270,000 in damages, equal to nine months salary.
August 9: $32,130
National Storage Operations in Perth was found to have undertaken unlawful adverse action against a staff member, after they effectively demoted her due to her family commitments. The employee required last-minute, unpaid leave to collect her son from school when prior arrangements fell through; she was issued a warning letter and three days later was demoted and transferred, before finally being dismissed. The staff member was awarded damages of over $32,000.


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