Mathews v. Winslow Constructors Ltd.

The plaintiff alleged that, during the course of her employment at construction firm Winslow Constructors, she was abused, bullied, and sexually harassed by Winslow employees and subcontractors. She alleged that Winslow was vicariously liable for the acts of its employees and subcontractors, or in the alternative, negligent in failing to provide a safe working environment. On the fifth day of the trial, Winslow admitted liability for negligence. The decision before the Court was the quantum of damages available to the plaintiff. The Court found that she had sustained very considerable psychiatric injuries and a jaw injury (due to teeth grinding) as a direct consequence of the bullying, abuse, and sexual harassment leveled at her by Winslow’s employees and subcontractors. The Court found that these injuries “have and will continue to diminish the quality of her life.” The Court awarded general damages AUD 380,000. Based on “virtually unanimous” evidence that the plaintiff would never work again, the Court also awarded her AUD 283,941.70 for past economic loss AUD 696,085.41 for future economic loss, to reflect her loss of future earning capacity.



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