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Former Lorna Jane employee suing for workplace bullying says fat shaming wasn’t “a huge issue”

“Are you seriously complaining about working an extra minute,” Judge Gregory Koppenol replied to her complaints of overtime.

By Kate Wagner
Former Lorna Jane employee suing for workplace bullying: Fat shaming wasn’t “a huge issue”

Despite suing the company for $550,000 over allegations that she was bullied for her weight, former Lorna Jane manager told the court fat shaming wasn’t “a huge issue”.

Amy Robinson has repeatedly told the Brisbane District Court her manager triggered a mental disorder after being belittled for her appearance, but didn’t raise the allegations in the 12-page letter she was directed to write after a disciplinary meeting in October 2012.

Ms Robinson says alongside the weight-related bullying she was also called a “generator”.

Her lawyer, Mark O’Sullivan, presented Facebook posts made by the area-manager Megan McCarthy outlining her definition of the term.

“I have discovered a new name for the people I despise — I call them ‘generators’ purely because they fill their days generating more problems for me to deal with,” she posted on Facebook on September 27, 2012 the court heard.

“Generators are similar to mutants — people who are genuinely oxygen thieves.” Being labelled a generator herself, Ms Robinson thought Ms McCarthy wanted her dead.

Ms Robinson has also claimed she was required to do unfair overtime by the company.

However, the documents showing her overtime included 23 occasions she finished between one and six minutes late, elicited derision from the judge.

“Are you seriously complaining about working an extra minute,” Judge Gregory Koppenol asked.

"I would sign out at that time but that would not be the time I finished my duties and leave the store," she said.

The 41-year-old is also seeking compensation for a bruised external haemorrhoid which required surgery.

The court heard the injury is a direct result of understaffing, causing her to lift 60 to 100 boxes in a shift.

The single mother says she has been unable to work since her injury and her mental state after being bullied about her weight.

Lorna Jane has denied all claims.

"Ms McCarthy never suggested you shouldn't eat your lunch, that you should drink coffee," Ms Treston, Lorna Jane’s barrister, said to Ms Robinson.

"It happened," Ms Robinson argued.

"Ms McCarthy, in fact, did not comment on your weight in any negative way to you at all during the time you were at Lorna Jane," continued Ms Treston.

"I disagree," asserted Ms Robinson.

The hearing continues.

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