Bullying claim upheld (Qld)

A slaughterhouse employee who was bullied by workers who regularly threw fat and blood clots at him has been awarded workers' compensation.

The Cannon Hill Services Pty Ltd (trading as Australian Country Choice) halal slaughterman told the Queensland IRC that between January 2009 and December 2012, his colleagues deliberately sprayed him with water, threw fat and blood clots at him, referred to him in "obscenely derogatory" and racist terms, verbally abused him, jostled him in the corridors, and on one occasion dropped a burning cigarette into his shoe.

He claimed workers' compensation for major depressive disorder, but the employer rejected his claim, and he appealed, arguing his injury arose out of or in the course of his employment.

He said he had been complaining about workplace bullying to his employer since February 2011.

A number of alleged perpetrators denied bullying or harassing the worker, and claimed they accidentally sprayed him with water "from time to time".
But Deputy President Les Kaufman said the witnesses had "painted themselves too pure", and found the worker had been bullied.

He said the worker was "occasionally prone to exaggeration" and some alleged instances of bullying didn't occur, but "he was essentially a truthful witness".

"It is evident that, on the facts as I have found them, [the worker's] personal injury arose out of, or in the course of his employment with the employer," he said in upholding the worker's appeal.

Elmi v Simon Blackwood (Workers Compensation Regulator) [2014] QIRC 188 (20 November 2014)