The three defences to a workers’ compensation claim for psychological illness are:
- It is not an injury (e.g. stress is not an injury as opposed to anxiety or PTSD)
- The injury did not arise out of or in the course of employment
- The injury was caused by reasonable management action (actions taken by the employer to manage the employee which is reasonable to take, and is undertaken in a fair and reasonable manner).
In this case, the Supreme Court found the Tasmanian Department of Education liable for anxiety and PTSD a teacher suffered after:
- being bullied by colleagues;
- being physically attacked by a student; and
- witnessing aggressive conduct between colleagues and a student.
Her employer denied liability and suggested a COVID19-related restructure, and other administrative actions caused her condition.
Her employer also admitted it took no action when she previously raised complaints about workplace bullying and a toxic culture because she was unable to provide specific examples.
Read the full case decision here: The State of Tasmania (Department of Education) v S  TASWRCT 39