Australian workplace safety regulatory agency WorkSafe announced Thursday that Court Services Victoria (CSV), the body responsible for Victoria’s court system, was convicted and fined in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace. The CSV pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $379,157 by WorkSafe. The alleged misconduct occurred at the Coroners Court of Victoria. CSV admitted that it had failed to conduct any adequate process to identify potential and actual risks to the psychological health of workers at the Coroners Court. According to WorkSafe, “from at least December 2015 to September 2018, workers at the Coroners Court were at risk from exposure to traumatic materials, role conflict, high workloads and work demands, poor workplace relationships and inappropriate workplace behaviours.” WorkSafe also alleged that between 2015 to 2018, workers at the Coroner’s Court “made numerous complaints, including allegations of bullying, favouritism and cronyism, verbal abuse, derogatory comments, intimidation, invasions of privacy and perceived threats to future progression.”In September 2018, Jessica Wilby, who had been the Principal In House Solicitor at the Coroners Court died by suicide after taking personal leave for three months. Wilby, who had a significant caseload, had been diagnosed with a work-related major depressive disorder. The Age reported that before Wilby’s death, the Corners Court was put on notice that the workplace was toxic and had a risk of suicide. Despite this, in the months leading up to Wilby’s death, she had been assigned the workload of two people. Wilby had expressed a desire to take leave but was concerned for her reputation. 

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