An Australian employee has won her bid for workers'
compensation benefits for psychological injury after she learned
that a coworker had taken covert photographs of her.
The coworker had taken covert photographs of a number of people,
including the employee. Some of the photographs concentrated
on the employee's chest area with her head and face out of the
photo. She was identifiable because other photos included her
face. The coworker had used electronic devices supplied by
the employer (a state library) to take the photographs. Over
2,500 photos were found on the electronic devices, a number of
which focused on the chest area of female employees.
The court decided that there was a "necessary association
between the injury and the employment". Had it not been
for the employment, the employee's psychological injury would
probably not have occurred. As such, the injury "arose
out of, or in the course of, employment". Further, the
employment was a "significant contributing factor" to her
injury, given the evidence of her psychiatrists.
The applicable workers compensation legislation provided that
workers were not entitled to benefits for psychological injury if
it arose out of "reasonable management action". The court
decided that, considered "in a global way", the
employer's actions had not been reasonable. In
particular, the employer had delayed in telling the employee about
the photographs and their nature; the employer did not say anything
to her until she approached another employee about the matter; and
the employer had not imposed any disciplinary action on the male
employee who took the photographs, but instead had allowed him to
resign at the end of his contract (with four months of notice).
As a result, the employee was entitled to workers'
compensation benefits for psychological injury.
Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A
top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm
is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent
and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways.
Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the
communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows
that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully
completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business
challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons'
global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local,
national and global needs of private and public clients of any size
in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances. Specific Questions relating to
this article should be addressed directly to the author.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Learn about the issues presented by bringing online sales into the picture. Topics covered will be tips and traps involved in percentage rent negotiations between landlords and tenants. Tracking shoppers as they move through stores. Employees’ use of social media.
An employee that refused a reasonable offer of settlement was ordered by the FWC to pay his ex-employer's legal costs.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).