Woman seeks $1m for wrecked career

THE investigation into concerns raised about a Rockhampton manager should have taken only a few weeks.

Instead, it dragged on for more than 15 months and ruined her career.

Now the manager is suing the state for more than $1 million.

These are the claims in a Supreme Court action filed this week as a woman tries to rebuild her shattered life.

The former disability services manager says she suffered ongoing stress and a feeling of victimisation from an internal investigation against her.

The alleged grievances against her were ultimately found to be unsubstantiated in an independent assessment.

The former manager, who is in her 50s and worked with the state for 28 years before concerns were raised, said she was forced to give up her work and may never find another, particularly in an area where she was highly experienced.

“The delay was unnecessary and unreasonable,” said the claim for damages.

“The state failed to take reasonable steps to avoid a foreseeable risk.

“(It) failed to fully inform the plaintiff of the concerns against her at the earliest opportunity ... (and) it failed to ensure she was given every opportunity to respond to specific details.”

Details of the alleged grievances against the manager, whom The Morning Bulletin has not identified, were not contained in the court papers.

It said the manager was interviewed in November 2005 after the concerns were raised in August.

“In the interview vague and general propositions and questions were raised,” the claim said.

It said the manager repeatedly asked for more detail about the complaints and updates on the investigation’s progress, but these were not addressed.

By February 2007, the manager, who had been made to change roles because of the investigation, sought psychological counselling, which the claim said was brought on by the distress caused by the investigation’s delay.

On March 1 she received a letter finding against her, but no disciplinary action was taken.

Then in November 2008 an independent assessment found the concerns unsubstantiated.

“The grievances that were the subject of the investigation were not of a kind or nature which warranted an investigation lasting beyond a few weeks,” the claim said.

It said the government had an appropriate process in place to handle the complaint, but didn’t utilise this system.

The claim incorporates more than $500,000 for future economic loss.

Yesterday a spokesman for the Queensland Government declined to comment with the matter before the courts.

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