Matt Harding has suffered mental anguish as a result of his sacking from a library on the Gold Coast. Pic Tim Marsden
Matt Harding has suffered mental anguish as a result of his sacking from a library on the Gold Coast. Pic Tim Marsden

‘Bullied’ library worker throws book at council

A GOLD Coast library assistant is suing council for nearly $700,000 after being bullied by his "autocratic" boss, court documents allege.

Matthew William Harding claims the abuse destroyed his marriage, caused mental anguish, he has been unable to work and has meant he hasn't step foot in a library for four years.

The 44-year-old has lodged a claim in the Southport District Court against the Gold Coast City Council for failing to protect him in the workplace. He wants $692,000 for damages.

Matt Harding hasn’t stepped foot inside a library for four years. Pic Tim Marsden
Matt Harding hasn’t stepped foot inside a library for four years. Pic Tim Marsden

Mr Harding alleges the bullying began when a new librarian started at the Gold Coast library in late 2013. Mr Harding had been working there since 2001.

Mr Harding claims he was called into his boss's office on July 22, 2014, and given a second formal verbal warning for aggression. He alleges he had not received a first warning and his boss refused to discuss the reasoning for the second warning.

He alleges a culture of "mistrust" at the library and claims the librarian had "created a situation where staff morale was very low".

Matt Harding is taking council to court. Pic Tim Marsden
Matt Harding is taking council to court. Pic Tim Marsden

The boss "employed an autocratic style of management and enjoyed being in control rather than being willing to listen and to allow staff to contribute," it is alleged.

"She remained in her office rather than being on the floor when being at the libraries.

"Staff were not able to have conversations with the other staff while working."

The documents also allege the librarian had a tendency to "overreact" to "reasonable behaviour", dismissed issues in staff meetings and did not "respond well to her decisions and ideas being questioned or challenged by staff".

Mr Harding has been diagnosed with chronic adjustment disorder with depressed and anxious mood and a major depressive disorder, the court documents allege.

Before the alleged bullying, Mr Harding ran Burleigh's popular Rhyme Time sessions for young children.

Mr Harding said he would get up to 100 children at a session.

He said he was concerned about how the incident had affected his professional reputation and ability to get a job when he his mental health improves.

A council spokeswoman said: "It would be inappropriate to comment on this matter".

The council has not yet filed a defence to the claim.