000 call operator loses bid for workers compensation

A SUNSHINE Coast communications officer who handled 000 calls for Queensland Ambulance Service has lost her bid for compensation after claiming she was bullied in the workplace.

Lynley Jan Henderson worked as an emergency medical dispatcher at the Maroochydore Communications Centre and claimed she suffered anxiety and stress from bullying, intimidation, harassment, victimisation and humiliation for three and a half years.

A Queensland Industrial Relations Commission decision, which was published online recently, dismissed her case after Commissioner Graeme Neate found QAS management had acted reasonably.

Ms Henderson listed about 30 instances which supported her case.

Some examples given included a time when one of her supervisors had called her a "f**king lying c***" behind her back, and times when various supervisors had tried to speak to her about arriving at work on time, taking too long on her break and following a certain script for 000 calls.

Evidence showed there was also one incident when Ms Henderson was answering a 000 call involving a distressed elderly person, who had trouble breathing, when her supervisor told her to urgently disconnect.

Ms Henderson said that was not policy and claimed her supervisor was biased in regards to her and treated her differently to other workers.

But the supervisor claimed more 000 calls were coming in and needed Ms Henderson to disconnect because she was towards the end of her call and there could have been more emergencies going unanswered.

Commissioner Neate found the supervisor acted reasonably in this instance.

In summing up, Commissioner Neate said the relevant examples given in Ms Henderson's case would not have been sufficient to cause her injury.

He said in most examples which were proved, QAS management had acted reasonably.

"Although, as a consequence of those findings, the appeal must necessarily fail, I acknowledge that (Ms Henderson) has held ongoing grievances in relation to some of her co-workers and managers," he said.

Ms Henderson originally won her claim for workers compensation but her employer, QAS, applied for a review and she lost.

Ms Henderson then appealed this decision at the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. - APN NEWSDESK


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