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Deed of Release prevented claim against Employer

Background

In a recent Federal Circuit Court decision, a college teacher who claimed she was suffering from a psychological disability attempted to render her Deed of Release – signed in 2007 – invalid. However, due to a lack of medical evidence her claim was unsuccessful.

The Facts

In essence:

  • The employer said it no longer trusted the college teacher to exercise her duties after various performance issues and a work-related incident.
  • The employer invited the college teacher to resign and sign a deed of release describing it as a ‘retirement’, or alternatively dispute the school’s decision.
  • The college teacher signed the deed in 2007.
  • The college teacher commenced a disability discrimination claim against the employer in March 2017. The employer disputed the claim and relied upon the Deed of Release.
  • The college teacher claimed that she had been suffering from an ‘incoherent state of mind’ at the time of signing the Deed, and submitted that it should not be enforceable
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