Jewish Australian wins compensation over office anti-Semitism


SYDNEY (JTA) – A Jewish Australian who claimed he was the victim of anti-Semitic abuse while working at a government agency won a compensation claim after a two-year battle.

Stephen Strelecky was awarded compensation for his "psychological condition" after a review officer for Comcare, the workers’ compensation insurer for the Australian government, found it "likely" that he was subjected to anti-Semitic remarks while working for the Australian Taxation Office in 2009.

Strelecky, who claimed compensation for stress leave, said he was racially vilified by a colleague.

Comcare in the appeal said the abuse was a significant factor in his developing a psychological condition. 

"The causes of my illness were the initial racism, then victimization, the subsequent flawed investigations and processes, the lack of management support and management hostility," said Strelecky, whose initial claim had been rejected by Comcare.

The taxation office initially found no evidence to support his claim the comments had been made, according to a report last Friday in the Herald Sun newspaper.
But in August 2010, a second investigation found it "most likely" the comments had in fact been made.

Strelecky’s appeal described the taxation office’s investigation as “flawed."

The taxation office acknowledged that 17 staff members were disciplined for bullying and harassment in the past two years, the Herald Sun reported.

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