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Employer Prosecuted for Employee Suicide

Employer Prosecuted for Employee Suicide​

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has been charged by WorkSafe Victoria under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act) after one of VBA’s inspectors took their own life in May 2022.

It is alleged by WorkSafe Victoria that VBA refused to transfer the employee to a different supervisor and continued to pursue the employee with performance management and redundancy processes while knowingly aware that this conduct may place the employee at risk of psychological injury.

It is alleged that VBA breached:

  • Section 32 of the OHS Act by recklessly engaging in conduct that placed another person at a workplace in danger of serious injury.
  • Section 21(1) of the OHS Act by failing to provide or maintain a workplace that was safe and without risks to health.
  • Section 21(2)(a) of the OHS Act by failing to provide and maintain an adequate system of work to reduce the risk of workplace-related stress and psychological injury, including anxiety and depression.

The matter is listed for hearing at Melbourne’s Magistrates Court on 26 October 2023.

Read more here.

These unfortunate circumstances provide an example of why it is critical for employers to have the necessary policies and procedures in place to proactively deal with workplace health and safety issues such as bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination.

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