Carer claims a co-worker assaulted her while on the job
A WOMAN who worked as a carer in Ipswich and claimed she was attacked and beaten by a female co-worker has taken her case to Queensland's highest court to determine whether her employer breached its duty.
Court documents say the woman, now aged 56, received physical and psychiatric injuries following the alleged attack that occurred while she and the co-worker were changing shifts in December 2009.
They cared for the same person who had a disability.
The woman took legal action against her employer, UnitingCare Community, which traded as Lifeline Community Care Queensland, claiming it breached its duty because it rostered both women on consecutive shifts, causing them to cross paths, despite the woman having previously complained about the co-worker's alleged harassing behaviour.
The woman claimed she had told her supervisor of four incidents where the co-worker had allegedly assaulted and physically obstructed her, including poking her in the back with a broom and grabbing her wrists.
She also claimed she had given her supervisor a letter expressing her concerns and asked that she and the co-worker be kept apart.
UnitingCare Community denied the supervisor was told about the four incidents and denied that the supervisor was handed the letter.
Earlier this year, a district court judge dismissed the woman's case and found that UnitingCare Community did not breach a duty.
The judge found the woman did give her supervisor the letter but he said this letter did not imply a risk that the co-worker would assault her.
The judge also said the four incidents were not mentioned until the trial and that the woman did not raise them in her letter and did not tell medical experts. He said her failure to mention them meant she did not infer a risk of violence from her co-worker.
The woman has taken this judge's decision to the Queensland Court of Appeal and on Tuesday her barrister Wallace Campbell said the judge made an error because the woman's letter clearly showed she was fearful.
Barrister Richard Moreton, acting for UnitingCare, disagreed, saying that just because two employees had a "shouting match" or disagreement did not automatically mean it would lead to a physical assault.
The Queensland Court of Appeal will hand down its findings at a future date. - ARM NEWSDESK