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May 13, 2021

‘Bullied’ worker suspended from Lismore hospital

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Workers at Lismore Base Hospital are set to stage a lunchtime protest today (October 10) over allegations of bullying and hospital management’s failure to adequately investigate staff complaints.

Health Services Union (HSU) NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes said the protest meeting had been called after a hospital worker was suspended on full pay on the same day she lodged a complaint of bullying against a manager.

‘This worker raised concerns that she was being victimised in the workplace and was told that no action could be taken unless she put made an official complaint in writing,’ he said.

‘She complied with that instruction, but on the day her complaint was lodged the worker was issued with a notice to say she had been suspended on full pay.

‘What’s more, she was told that she going to be the subject of an investigation into her work performance – and could lose her job.

‘This is an outrageous breach of process, and of decency, by hospital management, and workers are justifiably angry,’ he said.

75 per cent lack confidence

Mr Hayes added that the state government’s own People Matters survey found that just 25 per cent of workers in the Northern NSW Local Health District said they had confidence in the way management resolve grievances.

‘Bullying should have no place in any workplace, and certainly not in our local hospitals.  It is no surprise that workers have no confidence in management’s ability to handle complaints when people who raise issues of bullying are treated so badly,’ he said.


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  1. Notices inside the hospital state that offensive behaviour towards staff will not tolerated. Obviously this restriction is only being applied to patients and members of the public.

  2. Lismore Base Hospital is notorious for bullying issues. Myself, I was subject to severe bullying/mobbing at this workplace several years ago. After speaking out, I was placed on an extended period of paid leave in response. An ‘internal investigation’ inevitably proved the predictable farce, resulting in no ‘evidence’ of bullying admitted to by NSW Health. An offer was made for a further and final lump sum payment, on the condition of my ‘voluntary’ resignation as there were no grounds to legally terminate my full-time permanent employment with entirely satisfactory work performance. Negotiations resulted in a higher financial ‘offer’, but the overall result remained. As I did not see an acknowledgement by management, in fact members of management were major perpetrators, I did not wish to return to work at the hospital and moved on.
    Hence I had a similar experience as the employee in this article. The tactic of questioning the victim’s work performance with the purpose of riddance is only too predictable….
    As the Union (HSU), of which I happened to be a paying member, did not fulfill its inherent role by any means, but was pressured to side with management and eventually complied, it is evident that the entire system is in dire need of serious reforms.
    Conditions as those described are unacceptable and incompatible with any Code of Conduct, yet prevail in the Health system. Among other work places in the country.

    • Northern NSW Local Area Health have a lot to answer for in the way they treat complaints against long term and highly trained, quality staff members.
      They must be held accountable where their actions or lack of lead to the deterioration of the wellbeing of employees. That such incompetence can occur in a place of work supposedly devoted to the healing of patients, is cause for great concern.
      The culture of overt bullying, or where it is thinly disguised as concern for a colleague, needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

  3. Same issue as myself – left after over a year of bullying in trying to do the right thing me being so badly harassed. Horrific


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