Tribunal junks worker’s claim of ‘psychological injury’ due to ‘management behaviour’

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia (AATA) recently dealt with a case involving a worker who claimed he suffered from a “psychological injury” because of his management’s behavior.

The worker argued that such injury was the reason he lodged a workers’ compensation claim, citing that he had been “injured through unreasonable behaviour that I have been subjected to by line management, senior management, and human resources.”

Despite the worker’s contention, an authorized delegate of the employer decided that it was not liable to pay any compensation concerning the worker’s claimed injury.

Unsatisfied with the decision, the worker emailed his employer on 5 September seeking an extension to lodge his reconsideration application.

‘Psychological and health matters’
The worker argued that he needed an extension because he was seeking legal advice and, more importantly, to attend to psychological and health matters. Hence, the employer granted the worker an extension.

The employee sought a further request for an application extension until it ultimately led to three granted extensions of time to lodge his reconsideration request. The given final date was until the close of business on 30 December 2017.

However, the following year, the worker emailed his employer seeking another extension to 31 March 2018. His email also contained allegations of misconduct against the employer, including the alleged efforts of the employer not to allow the worker to get access to information that could have assisted him with the reconsideration.

After many grants of extension, the employer decided to deny the worker’s request for an extension, leading the worker to file a case in the Tribunal.

Tribunal’s decision on reconsideration
Despite numerous attempts by the worker to cite his psychological injury as the reason he needed an extension, the Tribunal was not persuaded by such a claim.

In its decision, the AATA did not believe that the worker’s poor mental health could have affected him to the degree that he could not apply for reconsideration.

Furthermore, in making its decision, the Tribunal examined the details of the emails that the worker sent to the employer.

“On no less than three occasions, the [worker] wrote well-worded emails to the respondent seeking an extension of time within which to lodge his reconsideration application,” the AATA said.

“They did not bear the hallmarks of someone whose mental health was so adversely affected that they were unable to lodge an application for an extension of time to make a reconsideration application,” it added.

Ultimately, the Tribunal refuses to grant an extension of time to the worker. Thus, the employer’s decision was affirmed.

Source: hcamag

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