Ten years in prison for workplace and cyber-bullying
Brodie Panlock was 19 years old and worked at a cafe in Melbourne, Australia. Three male co-workers picked on her mercilessly. They spit at her and poured beer and fish oil on her. After one failed suicide attempt, they laughed at her and suggested she use rat poison the next time she tried. The bullies included two waiters and a chef. They were all in their twenties. Brodie committed suicide by jumping off a multi-story parking garage in September, 2006.
At the time, Australia didn’t have a law criminalizing bullying. Consequently, her abusers received civil fines from $10,000 to $45,000. The owner of the restaurant was fined $220,000 for failure to provide and maintain a safe workplace.
After five years, legislation was introduced in Parliament in April, 2011. The new law is an amendment to the already existing stalking statute. It will place work-place bullying and cyberbullying under the State Crimes Act. Violations will include incarceration up to ten years. Under “Brodie’s Law” serious bullying will be treated as a crime if it could cause someone physical or mental harm.
A survey of 16,000 children by the Edith Cowan University in Australia found that the number of cyberbullying victims grew from 15% to 25% during the three years the study was done.
When passed, Australia’s new law will amend State Crimes Act 1958 (Section 21A) adding workplace and cyberbullying to already existing stalking laws. In May, 2011, the bill was passed. Brodie’s parents were present and stated that “If you are going to engage in this behaviour, you’ve got the consequences of ending up in jail. . . . I just hope no family has to go through anything like this again,” her mother added.
For help when needed in Australia contact www.kidshelp.com.au to reach a counselor.
You can also go here for information regarding your work environment.