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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5358
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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I've been bullied -8 years at work. Working last Saturday

Customer Question

Hi, I've been bullied for 7-8 years at work. Working last Saturday a co-worker from another department came to my work area and wanted me to do something for him so I ignored him and walked away, he followed me and started to call my name and kept calling me because I ignored him. So I turned around told him his been bullying me and now is nice to me then I grabbed his shirt and people had to pull us apart. My manager now wants a record because he heard what happened he said I can be charged and shouldn't grab his shirt.this is the first time I grabbed someone at work. What should I do?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Australia Law
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Should I write what happened down to my manager won't he use that against me? He said another supervisor has seen the incident from another department. But no one has gone to HR
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 7 months ago.
Hello and thank you for your question.Technically touching someone without their consent, or grabbing their clothing constitutes an assault. If that was all there was to it then the likelihood of criminal charges would seem modest and as assaults go it is fairly trivial. However, it likely would constitute grounds for summary dismissal (i.e. immediate termination) particularly if it was unprovoked.If your behaviour was in fact provoked by a long history of bullying behavior or harassment, however, you may have grounds for taking action against your employer if you are summarily dismissed or otherwise subject to disciplinary action, however the onus of proving such will lie with you.With that in mind, I would try to retain copies of any email or other correspondence which might support your case that you were bullied, and make sure you can contact any staff who can testify on your behalf in relation to such circumstances, as if you are subsequently dismissed such material may be hard to obtain.If you are going to speak to your manager, or make a written statement, you should ensure you explain the circumstances of the harassment leading up to the incident. If you can present a case that shows you have been strongly provoked by this person's behaviour and that it was not reasonable behavior, you may be able to persuade your employer not to terminate your employment, though many employers will terminate without hesitation in the event of any physical confrontation between staff.If they do sack you and you believe you can provide reasonable evidence supporting a claim of bullying or harassment, then you should strongly consider engaging an employment lawyer to advise you on pursue a claim against the company, as you may have a viable case for compensation.I trust the above assists your understanding of the legal situation you face and the best way to deal with it.Good luck and PLEASE RATE MY ANSWER.Patrick