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Bullied former Lorna Jane manager ‘suicidal’ and too scared to go to work

Bullied former Lorna Jane manager ‘suicidal’ and too scared to go to work, court hears.
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Bullied former Lorna Jane manager ‘suicidal’ and too scared to go to work

Bullied former Lorna Jane manager ‘suicidal’ and too scared to go to work

13 June 2017

This story originally appeared on news.com.au. 

A former Lorna Jane store manager has broken down in tears as she told a court fat shaming and bullying by her manager made her suicidal and too frightened to go to work.

Amy Robinson is suing the activewear company for $550,000, claiming bullying over her weight left her unable to work when she left the company.

Lorna Jane vehemently denies the claims.

Ms Robinson told the Brisbane District Court her former area manager Megan McCarthy said she should skip lunch, questioned whether she should be eating certain foods and unfairly assigned tasks which resulted in physical injuries and caused problems with child care arrangements.

“I just felt really overwhelmed,” Ms Robinson told the Brisbane District Court where she gave evidence.

Ms Robinson ran a Lorna Jane store at Brisbane DFO between July and December 2012 and says among the weight-related bullying she was also called a “generator”.

Her lawyer, Mark O’Sullivan, has tendered Facebook posts made by Ms McCarthy in which she allegedly explained the term.

“I have discovered a new name for the people I despise — I call them ‘generators’ purely because they fill their days generating more problems for me to deal with,” she posted on Facebook on September 27, 2012 the court heard.

“Generators are similar to mutants — people who are genuinely oxygen thieves.” After being labelled as a generator, Ms Robinson said she thought Ms McCarthy wanted her dead.

“It actually made me feel quite sick,” she said.

During a shift in which Ms Robinson was required to move between 60 and 100 boxes she said she suffered a bruised external haemorrhoid, which required surgery.

“At the time it sort of felt like something had blown out, if that makes sense,” she told the court.

Since the alleged bullying and injuries, Ms Robinson said she has taken antidepressants, was anxious and fearful.

“I felt too scared to go to work,” she said. “I couldn’t sleep. I found it difficult to eat.”

She became emotional as she described to the court how she had lost interest in her appearance, became isolated and had consistent thoughts of suicide.

“I don’t go out as often as I used to,” she said. “I feel awkward when I do.”

Ms Robinson, a single mother on a disability pension, has not worked in the four years since leaving Lorna Jane.

She is expected to continue giving evidence as the trial continues.

Those seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

For employers unsure if staff are being bullied, find out how to manage bullying at the workplace by contacting a workplace relations expert for free on our Free Employer Advice Line on 1300 496 955. 

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