Thursday, March 5, 2015

AAT FINDS A BULLY AT CIT? DO WE DOUBT THERE ARE MORE?


 

 

As predicted (how could it be otherwise), a court has looked at the evidence for over 7 days and decided that a CIT teacher WAS bullied! http://m.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/cit-teacher-wins-compensation-after-he-was-bullied-and-harassed-20150303-13trh1.html

This is one of the cases I have been harping on about since this blog began because I know the truth. I was there, I saw it, and I witnessed it for others. I just had to be careful what I said up to now – but all Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) cases are publicised for the sake of transparency and of justice. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/AATA/2015/111.html

 I personally witnessed Richard Saunders being bullied, and I was bullied BY THE SAME PERSON. I also saw others in a terrible state after being bullied by this person. I saw a grown man so diminished by the bullying of this man that he sat bent over a desk with tears in his eyes. He was right near my desk and the desk of a fellow colleague.  BECAUSE he complained about the bully, he was sent to sit in our office which was in view of the office of the bully! My colleague and I vowed together to ‘watch over him’ and to protect him from said bully if necessary. THIS is the kind of ‘administrative error’ made at CIT over and over!  It is a purposeful ‘administrative error’ that we witnessed many times.

So what Michael Inman in his article in the Canberra Times called an ‘Administrative Error’ was not entirely accurate as to what actually happened although it might be technically the right term. People are not usually bullied and harassed over ‘administrative errors’ … unless those errors have been purposely committed.  Michael has ‘read between the lines’ of a very careful final report by Major-General Melick but he has read wrongly. Victims are harassed and bullied BY PEOPLE who act improperly, this is what Melick found.

Melick found that CIT are liable for such ‘administrative errors’ as those that happen when a person who has complained about being bullied many times is put back under the supervision of his bully. (1).  CIT may try to blame this or that manager, but the truth is that in every case where a staff member complained, the CIT executive either ignored it or denied it on behalf of ‘their manager’. CIT went on denying it until Workplace Commissioner March McCabe blew the whistle back in 2012. When CIT were dragged kicking and screaming to the investigation by Commissioner Kefford they denied it every step of the way. They got away with it too … despite  expenditure of some millions of tax payers money, a two year timeframe and 10 investigators no substantiated cases were found – yet Melick was able to find that Richard was bullied after 7 days, has substantial injuries AND the CIT executive are liable.

 The fact that CIT has been shown to do this on this occasion – that is, in Richard’s case, suggests there are other cases where this has occurred and because of this, a wider and independent investigation should be held. There is still a report that NO ONE has seen … that supposedly shows how and why no ‘substantiated cases’ were found – or does it?

 

 

 

Excerpt from Saunders and Comcare [2015] AATA 111 (13 February 2015)

 

ISSUES TO BE DETERMINED

41.              The respondent contends that I only have to consider the knowledge held by Mr Carter when considering the matter relating to section 5A of the SRC Act, whereas the applicant contends that the relevant knowledge was that held corporately by CIT and possibly Mr Frohlich. I note the various states of knowledge, and that Mr Frohlich and Mr Saunders had worked together and had some social contacts without apparent problems while Mr Saunders was working under the supervision of Mr Carter.

42.              It seems Mr Carter had no knowledge of any aspect of Messrs Saunders and Frohlich’s past relationship. He observed them both at meetings on 19 April and 22 June, and noted no concerns about the way they interacted. However, I find that CIT as an organisation had knowledge of the following:

(a) The complaints made by Mr Saunders and Mr Frohlich, which were discussed at the meeting on 26 June 2007;

(b) The fact that Mr Frohlich was removed or removed himself as Mr Saunders’ supervisor in mid-2007; and

(c) The complaint dated 20 July 2007 but probably not seen until January 2008. I note that Mr Woulfe challenged the reliability of this complaint because of the timing of Mr Saunders releasing it to the CIT whilst being under investigation for inappropriate attention and behaviour towards a female student. But the facts that the allegations were made is very relevant, no matter where the truth lay.

(d) The report of Dr Warfe dated 3 October 2007, in which Mr Saunders describes Mr Frohlich as a control freak and micro-manager who frequently displayed erratic behaviour and was verbally abusive to him in private. Dr Warfe diagnosed Mr Saunders as suffering from a short period of anxiety and psoriasis, allegedly associated with the workplace disharmony around July 2007.

(e) Medical certificates indicating stress in 2007.

(f) Interaction in 2008 between Mr Frohlich and Mr Saunders described by Mr De Dekker and referred to above.

(g) The concerns noted in 2008 emails to CIT managers by the AEU representative, Mr Fitzgerald, at T92 to T94.

43.              I pause to note some of those. In an email from Mike Fitzgerald to Gerard Johnston on 4 June 2008, he notes:

You will recall I was present at the final meeting of his 2007 PMP (in April this year) and I observed the manner in which it proceeded was less than conducive to encourage willful and engaging participation by Richard. Richard had stated that each of his previous PMP meetings in 2007 had turned into shouting matches between himself and his managers and I personally witnessed hostile exchanges at the meeting I attended.

44.              Then again at page 5 of 6, on T92:

Kaye stated that one of the principal reasons behind Tony Purnell being into the band 2 role at the department this time, was to directly manage and supervise Richard, following the identification of irreconcilable problems between John and Richard. Toni made the comments on several occasions during a PMP meeting that John had been asked to sign off on Richard’s TMS but had refused/neglected to do so.

45.              Once again, I don’t consider it necessary to determine the truth or otherwise of the matters raised by Mr Fitzgerald, the critical matter being that CIT were aware of those concerns being expressed by him.

(h) Mr De Dekker indicated he would not have moved Mr Saunders back under John Frohlich’s supervision, at least not without a briefing.

46.              Mr De Dekker also noted that Mr Saunders found the PMP process stressful.

47.              Mr Frohlich was aware of at least matters (a), (b) and (f) above but did not alert Mr Carter to those matters or any previous difficulties between himself and Mr Saunders. In fact, he noted that Mr Saunders appeared to be working well whilst not under his supervision, and they had been getting on well socially. He said that he thought that the past problems were in fact over.

(1)     

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