Bechtel worker's bullying claim: I was threatened with a knife
A SOUTH African-born labourer who claims he was bullied by co-workers, called a "princess", "cry-baby" and "sook'', and threatened with violence, is suing his former employer for $3.1 million.
Following The Morning Bulletin's report on former Bechtel worker Michael Deacon's plan to sue the construction giant over bullying, he has opened up about his alleged ordeal.
Mr Deacon, 31, claims that over five months in 2013-14, while working for Bechtel Construction (Australia) on Curtis Island, Gladstone, he was bullied by several employees.
He claims three co-workers said in front of him, at various times, "Don't trust a South African,'' and one said: "You don't have black people doing the work here for you.''
Other alleged behaviour included flicking spit-laced pieces of paper at Mr Deacon's head and kicking the back of his chair while they were on the ferry.
In January 2014, "Deacon is a snitch'' was written in 2m-high letters in wet cement, it is alleged in his claim, filed by Shine Lawyers.
Mr Deacon reported the behaviour, saying it had affected him psychiatrically, the Supreme Court claim says.
His supervisor allegedly told the crew the name-calling had to stop and he did not want people reporting misconduct.
Mr Deacon's claim alleges that in February that year, when he collected his bag from the crib hut, he found a penis and testes had been drawn on it.
He claims his supervisor confronted him about whether he had complained to employee relations about a co-workers bad mouthing another employee.
Later that month, after another incident, Mr Deacon told his supervisor he was struggling to work with the three co-workers.
Mr Deacon lodged a WorkCover claim for a psychiatric injury arising out of bullying and harassment on March 3, 2014.
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After returning from sick leave a week later, Mr Deacon said he was told the three co-workers had told others not to work with him.
He lodged a letter of complaint which was not investigated, the claim says.
He claims that after a threat to knife him was reported, Bechtel began an investigation into the allegations.
He has not worked since May 2014 and has been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. Medical experts say it is doubtful he will be able to return to paid work.
Mr Deacon said he was once a motivated go-getter but now felt humiliated.
"I don't have any goals any more. I've become a very cynical person,'' he said.
Bechtel is yet to file a response to the claim.
with The Courier Mail