The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles!

Subtitle

Queensland teachers who are injured at work can make a claim for WorkCover benefits.

WorkCover seem to "find" 80 per cent of Queensland public service workplace bullying complaints "unsubstantiated". How do they manage this? 

More than 800 Queensland public servants made workplace bullying complaints in the three years (seems to be October 2015-  2017).


The public servants complained (seems to be to WorkCover - this seems to be a very foggy article) of abuse, insults, offensive comments, unjustified criticism, deliberate exclusion, the spreading of malicious rumours, or offensive or intimidating emails or messages.


The largest number of workplace bullying complaints were from employees of the Queensland Department of Education and Training and the Department of Health, two of the largest Queensland public service departments.


Less than one in five of the workplace bullying complaints - 136 of the 800 complaints - seem to have been "substantiated" by WorkCover. 


The average payout to complainants was about $30,000.


Education Minister Kate Jones said her department had a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment in the workplace. 


Robina Cosser says : This is what they have been chanting since before 2002. Sounds good, means nothing.


A spokeswoman for the Queensland Department of Education said there was an average of less than 20 substantiated claims per year in the Department of Education.


And, this suggests, 80 more complaints per year that were found to be "unsubstantiated".


Some years back - before the Burpengary case - Work Cover began to refuse to investigate teachers WorkCover complaints. 


They began to demand that teachers provide documentary evidence of the workplace bullying. 


This is very hard to do when you know that any teacher who supports your WorkCover complaint will probably be "paid back" in some nasty way - like being forced to teach in a room next to a music room for a year, with only a plastic divider between your class and the singing, stamping, drumming going on next door.


This new policy must save WorkCover the cost of running proper investigations - but this economy exposes Queensland teachers to workplace abuse.


Queensland public servants paid $4 after bullying at work, Jessica Marszalek, the Courier Mail, 11 October 2017


The Courier-Mail seems to be setting up teachers who make WorkCover claims to be unfairly criticised.

On 10 February 2017, the Courier-Mail published details of the dozens of horrific assaults on Queensland teachers and school principals by violent students and parents.

The assaults were detailed in workplace injury claims lodged during 2016.

One teacher working in Far North Queensland was attacked by a student, pushed against a wall, their throat was held in a strangle hold and then they were punched multiple times on their head and body.

A teacher working in the North Coast region was sprayed in the face with a classroom fire extinguisher.

Another 14-year-old male student in the North Coast region bit through his teacher's jumper, puncturing the teacher's abdomen. 

A teacher from a South East Queensland school was struck by a student with an iron bar to the left side of their face.

Another South-East Queensland teacher was hit with a hard rock by a student.

Another teacher (seems to also be South-East Queensland) was stabbed by a student with a one-inch dress pin and suffered lacerations.

A Metropolitan Brisbane student threw an object and sprayed a fire extinguisher at their teacher's face.

Another Metropolitan Brisbane student threw a whiteboard at their teacher.

Students used items like chairs, books and even whiteboards as weapons, hurling them at school staff.

But the Courier-Mail did not allow any comments on this article, suggesting that they did not want to be swamped with emails from teachers, giving more details of the violence in Queensland classrooms.




Two days later, however, the Courier-Mail published another article detailing what appeared to be trivial reasons for teachers to make WorkCover applications during 2016.

53 Queensland teachers made claims for compensation for voice overuse, the Courier-Mail reported.

Comments were allowed on this second article - suggesting that Queensland parents were being invited to jeer at teachers for the "trivial" reasons they gave for their WorkCover claims.

Fortunately several readers raised objections to this invitation to engage in teacher-bashing.



Almost 1000 Queensland teachers and principals made WorkCover claims after being assaulted and suffering injuries at school during 2011-2016.

Close to 1000 Queensland teachers and principals have  lodged claims with WorkCover after an alleged assault over the past five years, according to figures released by Queensland's Education and Training Department.

11 000 staff work days were lost as a result of the assaults.

Injuries ranged from cuts, bruises, strains, fractures, dislocations and mental health problems.

Over the past five years, more than 30 Queensland teachers and principals have requested more than 100 days off to recover from their injuries.

The injuries were caused by students, parents and members of the community.


203 claims were lodged during 2011-2012

192 claims were lodged during 2012-2013

187 claims were lodged during 2013-2014

235 claims were lodged during 2014-2015

167 claims were lodged during 2015-2016


Rise in assaults on school teachers and principals, Ten News, 16 November 2016

Comcare benefits seem to be much more generous than the WorkCover or Qsuper benefits available to Queensland teachers.

Comcare claimants are entitled to their full salary for their first 45 weeks away from work.

Then 75 per cent of their wages until they reach retirement age or recover.

Why do Queensland teachers have such (comparatively) miserable benefits when they become ill?

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/taxpayers-pay-over-brutal-campaign-of-bullying-by-csiro-20150821-gj4gzw.html#ixzz3jWPVxYH7

442 teacher psychological injury claims were accepted by WorkCover between the financial years July 2007-2012. But another 491 were rejected.
442 accepted psychological injury claims were lodged by Queensland teachers, deputy principals, principals and teacher aides at a cost of more than ten million dollars in the state sector between the 2007-2008 and 2011-2012 financial years.

But more psychological injury claims - another 491 - were denied than accepted.

The Queensland Teachers' Union warns teachers that psychological injuries are harder to prove than physical ones.

WorkCover Queensland made a further $1.38 million in payments to initially accepted claims that ended up being denied.

QTU president Kevin Bates said a significant number of the 442 accepted psychological claims had been rejected before his union helped appeal them.

Many QTU members didn't lodge WorkCover claims because so many are rejected.

"Those examples aren't one-off - those are the few that you do see," QASSP president Hilary Backus said of the psychological injury claims.

"There would be thousands of others that don't make it as far as a WorkCover claim. 

Teachers paid more than $10m in compo over five years due to violence in Queensland schools, Tanya Chilcott, The Courier-Mail, 15 July 2013

I am a Queensland teacher. Sometimes I feel unsafe at work. If I suffer psychological harm at work, how much are WorkCover likely to pay me in compensation?

During the five years to July 2013, WorkCover Queensland have accepted the following claims for psychological injuries to Queensland teachers who have been involved in distressing and violent situations at school -

$290,629.28 - student threw chairs and a table at a member of staff.

$141,653.54 - read full Ethical Standards Unit file and discovered secret allegations.

$113.631.11 - high workload, seven grades to teach, difficult parents.

$109,992.45 - sent to work at a new school where there was a bully from a previous school.

 $88,997.89 - punched by a parent.

 $66,041.52 - false allegations.

 $69,231.24 - s-xual assault by a student.

 $55,073.34 - given a transfer, then told not wanted by new principal because of gossip.

 $50,258.87 - students rioted.

 $48,087.67 - a student pulled a knife and threatened staff and students.

 $42,837.25 - chased and threatened by students.

 $15,756.54 - threatened by a parent and told to hide if they wanted to be safe.

   $7878.20 - hate mail put in personal pigeon hole at work.

   $6254.48 - assaulted by a student.

   $2499.90 - continually threatened / stalked and had property damaged by students.

   $1248.00 - locked in a storeroom.

     $426.35 - two students with guns threatened staff.

 

Teacher stress costs millions, Tanya Chilcott, Page 6, The Courier-Mail, 15 July, 2013

Schools excel in mental anguish, Tanya Chilcott, Page 9, The Courier-Mail, 16 July 2013.

March 2013 : How much do WorkCover actually pay teachers when they are injured at work?

Some examples of WorkCover payments that have been made to Queensland teachers since 1 July 2010 -

$642,194.50 to a teacher injured when he/she was exposed to asbestos.

$52,769.54 to a teacher injured sitting in a classroom where the airconditioner was too draughty.

$41,355.44 to a teacher injured when he/she fell while supervising students surfing in the ocean.

$38,482.16 to a teacher injured when he/she had to do a lot of bending.

$35,850.42 to a teacher injured when hit by waves in surf.

$33,979 to a teacher injured when using the computer.

$18,187.50 to a teacher injured when using his/her voice continually above normal speaking level.

$6523.49 to a teacher injured during a class exercise program.

$3986.20 to a teacher injured when repeatedly using their shoulder while carrying out photocopying duties.

$2313.27 to a teacher injured by sitting for a long period of time.

$359 to a teacher injured when students hugged him/her.

$196 to a teacher injured when he/she caught their toe on a box of copy paper.

 

Teachers seeking compo for the darndest things, Alison Sandy and Anthony Gough, p.9, The Courier-Mail, Monday 4 March 2013

State Government to combat classroom assaults on teachers, Alison Sandy and Anthony Gough, The Sunday Mail, 3 March 2013

Many legitimate psychological WorkCover claims made by Queensland teachers are overlooked.

4193 WorkCover claims have been made by Queensland teachers since 1 July 2010.

Teachers have been paid a total of $18.39 million dollars.

An average of nine Queensland teachers a day are being paid by WorkCover.

Most WorkCover claims relate to accidents.

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates said the main problem with WorkCover for Queensland teachers was that many legitimate psychological claims were overlooked.

"A person ... can be suffering a very significant injury but it's a psychological one that isn't something you can actually see."

In June 2012 the Queensland Government launched an inquiry into the state WorkCover scheme.

The committee will report back by 23 May 2013.

Teachers seeking compo for the darndest things, Alison Sandy and Anthony Gough, p.9, The Courier-Mail, Monday 4 March 2013

How many Queensland teachers received WorkCover compensation for psychological injury during 2010-2011?

100 Queensland teachers had WorkCover claims for psychological injury accepted during the year July 2010 - June 2011.

WorkCover paid the teachers a total of $3,407,911 in compensation.

Opposition education spokesman Bruce Flegg said Queensland teachers were increasingly dealing with unruly students.

Assaults and abuse were becoming commonplace.

Stressed teachers paid $3.4 million, Felicity Caldwell, The Sunday Mail, 9 October 2011.

Victorian teacher alleges that when she made a WorkCover complaint about workplace bullying, she was bullied again by WorkCover.

If you are a Queensland teacher who is thinking of making a WorkCover complaint, you need to read submission 137 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : 

B.C (PDF 1,536KB) 

137.1 Supplementary Submission B.C (PDF 956KB) 

137.2 Supplementary Submission B.C (PDF 964KB)

This really well-written submission was actually written by a Victorian adult education teacher.

The Victorian teacher alleges that, when she made a complaint about workplace bullying, she was bullied again by WorkCover.

The Victorian teacher writes -

There is a need for a fully independent authority to investigate and resolve workplace bullying complaints.

The present model is wasting teachers' time, their livelihoods, their work record, the value of their qualifications, their health, their family's well-being and cohesion, their money

- and even their lives.

It does not provide justice.

All sources fail to provide help when a teacher is bullied.

Reporting bullying is tantmount to lighting a fuse to your own destruction.

"Whatever it takes" seems to be the guiding principle, not ethics.

A bullied teacher is hit by a tsunami of false, never previously raised allegations as the employer tries to justify bullying.

The teacher is framed.

The perpetrators are emboldened.

And the bullying spreads.

Three Queensland teachers sue the Queensland Government every day.

Three Queensland teachers sue the Queensland Government each day.

WorkCover Queensland has paid Queensland teachers more than $10 million compensation during the five years August 2005 - August 2010.

Teachers paid millions in compensation for slipping over, being blown over and other injuries, Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail, 30 August 2010.

I am a Queensland classroom teacher. If I am attacked by a student, will I be compensated for my injuries?

A student allegedly lifted a Queensland teacher up by the hair and shook her around then threw her to the ground.

WorkCover Queensland awarded the teacher $521.

Teachers paid millions in compensation for slipping over, being blown over and other injuries, Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail : 30 August 2010.

If my students start to fight each other and I am injured while trying to stop them fighting, will I be compensated for my injuries?

A brawl broke out among more than 200 students at a Queensland school.

A teacher was struck down in the brawl.

WorkCover Queensland awarded the teacher $800 compensation.

Teachers paid millions in compensation for slipping over, being blown over and other injuries, Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail : 30 August 2010.

If three Queensland teachers sue the Queensland Government every day - does this mean that three Queensland teachers are being injured at work every day?

Comments by Griffith University Employment Relations associate professor Bradley Bowden suggest that the numbers of Queensland teachers being injured at work may be much higher than three per day -

Associate professor Bowden advises that it is quite difficult and onerous and stressful for Queensland teachers to get psychological claims (for being attacked by a student, bullied by the principal, etc.) accepted by WorkCover.

So a lot of teachers in those situations, particularly older teachers, would probably take sick leave rather than applying for WorkCover.

Teachers paid millions in compensation for slipping over, being blown over and other injuries, Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail, 30 August 2010.

Can I take compensation from WorkCover and then take further legal action for compensation for my injuries?

Griffith University Employment Relations associate professor Bradley Bowden advises -

Once a Queensland teacher has received workers' compensation , they cannot take further legal action.

Teachers paid millions in compensation for slipping over, being blown over and other injuries, Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail, 30 August 2010.

Recent WorkCover rulings have been ridiculous.

Teachers are finding it increasingly difficult to get any compensation out of WorkCover.

The real WorkCover issue is the disparity in how WorkCover treats non-physical injury.

In recent rulings, these pinheads have told Queensland teachers that being abused and even physically assaulted by students is a reasonable expectation of their teaching role.

Wormman of Brisbane, Reader's comment 13 of 47, Teachers paid millions in compensation for slipping over, being blown over and other injuries, Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail : 30 August 2010.

The Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act "is a sham".

In my family a teacher suffered a significant psychological injury and also physical injury from being bullied and assaulted at school.

However, despite all of the supporting evidence, WorkCover has been unscrupulous with unbelievably ridiculous time delays and dirty legal tricks to avoid any payout to a teacher who has been destroyed personally and professionally by workplace negligence, damage further compounded by WorkCover Queensland and their lawyers.

The Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act is a sham.

It offers no genuine protection or security to Queensland teachers or any other Queensland workers.

Truth Teller of Brisbane, Reader's comment 26 of 47, Teachers paid millions in compensation for slipping over, being blown over and other injuries, Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail, 30 August 2010.

Teachers who make WorkCover claims may be 'paidback' by bully administrators.

As a consultant I have seen many examples of senior management perverseness and favouritism in decisions to support or fight WorkCover claims.

And make no mistake, it is easy for a good Queensland worker with an unblemished record to get a black mark with management and to be subjected to relentless bullying for having the temerity to lodge a WorkCover claim.

Josh, Reader's comment 33 of 47, Teachers paid millions in compensation for slipping over, being blown over and other injuries, Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail, 30 August 2010.

Thank you for telling the truth about WorkCover.

Thank you, Josh, for stating it how it is.

This heartfelt thanks comes from one of those Queensland teachers who is a victim of the deliberately destructive partnership between WorkCover Queensland and a school employer when an injured teacher makes a valid claim as a result of workplace negligence.

Injured Worker of Brisbane, Reader's comment 35 of 47, Teachers paid millions in compensation for slipping over, being blown over and other injuries, Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail : 30 August 2010.

 

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