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Mortuary Worker Headed to Mediation

Thursday, July, 20, 2017

A mortuary worker and the mortuary for which she work will be headed back to mediation per the judge overseeing the case.   The issue at hand is bullying within the Auckland City Hospital. 


According to the lawsuit, forensic pathology technician Laura Morgan reported to the Employment Relations Authority, Worksafe, and the Auckland District Health Board that she had been bullied by a colleague.   Morgan was one of two mortuary technicians that reported bullying at the hospital.   In an Employment Relations Authority Decision, the DHB “did not act in bad faith” when it declined Morgan’s request for special leave while her claims were investigated. 


The Employment Relations Authority did, however, determine that the DHB should use its discretion to grant additional leave and to participate in mediation with Morgan. 


The dispute began in December 2014 when Morgan reported an assault by a colleague.   She was ordered to “remain away from the workplace” while her report was investigated.   An independent investigator was brought on to review the complaint and in January.   Morgan field a personal grievance for “unjustified disadvantage and breach of good faith.   The investigation ultimately determined Morgan’s complain lacked substance and bullying and/or harassment had not been established. 


Morgan moved to the Hamilton mortuary in June 2016 and was working part-time, and did not return to the Auckland mortuary until September of that year.   Later that year, the person she claimed had bullied her was placed into a position of authority over her, which was when she requested paid special leave.  


She obtained a diagnosis of “work-related stress” from her doctor and was declared unfit for work until the situation improved.    After a great deal of back and forth concerning Morgan’s time away from work, it was determined mediation should be used to resolve the dispute and settle the issue of whether or not her time should count against her or be absorbed by the hospital.