WorkSafe has launched an investigation after a young apprentice was duct-taped to a piece of machinery, hung upside down and then repeatedly slapped by his boss.
The shocking video, obtained by A Current Affair, showed Ilyas Elkharraz tied to the machine by his feet during a work Christmas party last year.
The 23-year-old said he felt like a “piece of meat about to get cut”.
“It’s like I was a cow, hanging upside down,” he said.
In the footage, Mr Elkharraz’s boss Steve Yousif can be seen prodding and slapping the young worker, as others laughed in the background.
“I didn’t know it was going to go to that extent,” Mr Elkharraz, who quit not long after the incident, said.
Steve Yousif is owner of Jaden Commercial Windows, which trumpets itself as “Melbourne’s best”.
As part of a WorkCover case against the company, Mr Elkharraz claimed it was not an isolated incident, recounting other occasions he alleged his boss snapped.
“He always used to swear at me,” the apprentice carpenter said.
“Out of the blue he just grabbed me by my neck and pushed me against the wall.”
Mr Elkharraz also claimed his boss sometime stopped him going to TAFE – a requirement of his apprenticeship.
“I’ve been with him for three years,” he said.
“I’m still a first-year apprentice.”
Mr Elkharraz alleged that in one phone call, Mr Yousif told him to “shut his mouth” and warned if he went to TAFE he would lose his job.
Tony Carbone, of Carbone Lawyers, is representing Mr Elkharraz and said he was “absolutely bewildered” by the footage.
“I’m thinking to myself, ‘wow, this still goes on’,” Mr Carbone said.
“If the thing they tied around his legs were to snap or loosen and he hit his head on the ground, now you’re dealing with brain damage or quadriplegia.”
“He’s a big bully,” Mr Elkharraz, who has not worked since the incident and is now seeing a psychologist, said.
Owner of Jaden Commercial Windows Steve Yousif ignored multiple requests for comment.
When A Current Affair visited Jaden Commercial Windows’ Tullamarine factory, a man who identified himself as the company’s operations manager said “we have nothing to say” as it is “an ongoing case at the moment”.
WorkSafe confirmed to A Current Affair it launched an investigation into the incident on November 10.
Mr Carbone said workplace bullying cases were skyrocketing.
“In every 50 people that ring me, at least 15 are bullying cases,” he said.
“When you have been degraded and humiliated to that extent you just don’t know what the long-term effects are.”
Source: Current Affair