Workers Compensation Lawyer – Hours of work and study not to be aggregated in assessment of working capacity
A worker injured her elbow and wrist when she was employed by Aldi as a buying administration assistant. She had some time off work to recover from her injuries.
When she returned she was involved in a series of conflicts with her employer which led to a psychological injury. Her claim for this injury was denied on the basis that she did not suffer a psychological injury, or if she did, it was the result of reasonable action on the employer’s behalf with respect to performance appraisal and discipline.
The Arbitrator found in the worker’s favour, awarding weekly payments for a closed period and medical treatment expenses.
However the worker appealed the decision on two grounds.
First, that the Arbitrator erred in limiting her payments by one year short of what was claimed. This was conceded by the respondent.
The second issue raised on appeal was concerning the Arbitrator’s findings that the worker had capacity to work for 30 hours per week as a librarian, that work as a ‘librarian’ was reasonably accessible, and part-time online study was ‘in addition to’ her capacity to work. The worker also argued that more consideration should have been given to treating doctors evidence.
The President of the Commission found in the worker’s favour.
The worker’s capacity to work as a librarian was not equivalent to the average hours she spent studying. The Arbitrator’s finding in this regard was inconsistent with the medical evidence, which assessed the worker’s working capacity at 15 hours per week.
The President stated that “the additional hours appear to be based on the Arbitrator’s inference that time spent studying at home was notionally equivalent to an ability to return to the workforce working in a library. There is no evidence to support that inference [and the evidence was to the contrary].”
It was determined that the worker was fit to resume work for 15 hours a week for the relevant period, in a low stress environment such as a library.
Read the full case here.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury at work, there may be an entitlement to compensation. It is important to seek advice from a workers compensation lawyer.
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Matthews Folbigg has over 50 years’ experience protecting personal injury and compensation rights of people living in Parramatta and the Hills.