Manager fined for bullying

June 1, 2019

Published by Star Weekly, Tate Papworth.

The manager of a company selling nuts, dried fruits and sweets in shopping centres has been convicted and fined $7500 for bullying a storeman.

Matthew John Sallama was the manager of John’s Nuts Operations Pty Ltd when the offences occurred.

In the Sunshine Magistrates Court on April 17, he pleaded guilty to breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act. He was also ordered to pay costs of $2000.

The court heard that for a period of almost six months in 2016 Sallama tormented the storeman – who had been working with the company since 2013 – with “profane, belittling, degrading, or offensive language” and spoke in an “aggressive, intimidating or abusive manner”.

He also threatened to “burn” his wages, to dismiss him, deduct e-tag expenses from the storeman’s pay, and not to pay for his immigration visa.

The court heard the treatment affected the storeman’s health, causing him distress, depression, fearfulness and tearfulness.

WorkSafe last month said the court action was the second time in six months the company had been fined over the incident.

In December last year the Sunshine court found the company, which is now in external administration, guilty of failing to provide a safe work environment.

The company was fined $80,000.

WorkSafe said the company was previously convicted and fined $60,000 for seven return-to-work offences relating to making late payments and failing to provide suitable post-injury employment to the same worker.

WorkSafe acting executive director of health and safety Adam Watson said there’s no place for workplace bullying.

“It poses a serious risk to a worker’s mental health, and the effects can have a lifelong impact – not only on the individual being bullied but their family as well,” he said.

“All employees have the right to go to work without fear of being bullied, harassed or singled out while on the job, and all employers have a clear responsibility to take care of their workers’ mental and physical health and safety.”

Mr Watson said he was pleased with the result.

“I’m pleased the court held the same view,” he said.

“WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute any employer who fails to take action to stop this abhorrent behaviour in their workplace.”

To contact the service call: 1800 136 089