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Moving office not a good reason for a breakdown

By johnboy - 27 December 2013 12

The ABC brings word of one of the Public Service’s unique snowflakes who wanted cash money for the “adjustment disorder” that came from her office within the Department of Health being moved.

Sadly for her the AAT has upheld Commcare’s thinking that reasonable administrative action is not a good enough reason.

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
Moving office not a good reason for a breakdown
Ben_Dover 12:41 pm 28 Dec 13

What in the name of all that is sane does as “health programs officer” do to earn a crust?

IrishPete 10:12 am 28 Dec 13

I’m not sure the headline or brief description is very fair and it certainly isn’t sympathetic or empathic.

It’s not for anyone to judge what is “a good reason for a breakdown”. This case is about whether the employer is liable for the “breakdown”, the Adjustment Disorder (what used to be called Reactive Depression and is basically depression brought on by an identifiable event).

Presumably this woman was already in a fragile mental state, and this unwanted move (and whatever other changes it entailed – who knows, it might have meant different child care arrangements, different transport arrangements and so on) was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The courts have judged that the employer is not liable because the straw was a reasonable workplace decision.

Anyone who finds themselves unable to work will look for a replacement source of income, that’s reasonable. Perhaps she was poorly advised by Union or lawyers, or perhaps there’s a bit more to the case that we have been told. Moving someone against their will could be part of a pattern of bullying, for example, just the part that is the easiest to identify.

It’s even possible (though unlikely) that the woman had income protection insurance and the case was brought by her insurer. Often when you read about a someone being sued, it is actually an insurer vs insurer battle – they don’t care how much they spend defending the indefensible, or sue-ing against all the odds, because it’s not their money, it’s paid for by your premiums.

Ultimately, in these scenarios, the person may end up on a Disability Support Pension, and the government and your taxes pay for it anyway.

The only winners in this case are probably the lawyers, as per usual. It would always be interesting to know whether fighting the case would have cost more than accepting it, or negotiating something.

IP

wildturkeycanoe 6:24 am 28 Dec 13

banco said :

screaming banshee said :

KB1971 said :

Ha, thats nothing. We had a guy retire because he was asked to move desks in a re-shuffle and all the others had big girly whinges.

It is a pity, he had great knowledge about the job, just a crappy attitude about the department.

Big girly whinger is exactly how I would describe an ex public servant I worked with.

-the Aircon is noisy
– the door creaks
– I should have an office
– the vent is in the wrong spot which makes my desk cold

I’ve found a critical mass of fat, middle aged women to be the worst as far as complaints about aircon/heating go. They spur each other on with claims about the various illnesses they are contracting due to the poor heating/aircon.

When I worked in an electrical maintenance capacity many years ago in a PS building, I was amazed how on a minus four degree morning poeple would walk to their desks and strip of the jackets and gloves, to only adorn a thin top and a mini skirt. Then they would complain that the heating wasn’t warm enough. The facilities manager would place a thermometer on their desk and find it was around 23 degrees [Celsius] and go off to “make adjustments”. After having a cup of coffee and reading the paper, he’d go back to the same complainer to find that everything was now fine, thanks to his “efforts”. This kind of thing was a regular occurrence and I just couldn’t get my head around it. Attention deficit disorder perhaps? Maybe these people just want to feel important because they are at the bottom of the food chain. Whatever it is, I am glad I don’t have to twist fluorescent tubes out because of the glare on their monitor, or because it makes their varicose veins stand out, or the warm white doesn’t feel as nice as the cool white.
The funniest thing I ever had to do was in the Department of Environment. They had energy saving motion sensors that would turn off the lights in an area if unoccupied. One person must have been falling asleep or something and getting busted for it, as the light would turn off after 10 minutes because he wasn’t moving. He being one of the heads of the department ordered us to disable the automatic time-out and keep the lights on permanently once turned on. Well, this idea cottoned on to others in the department and in no time at all we’d been ordered to disable the entire floor’s energy saving system. By my calculations at the time, it probably would have cost them in the order of hundreds of dollars a day, not to mention the environmental impact. That’s the public service for ya.

ausbradr 2:09 am 28 Dec 13

Diddums.

watto23 12:18 am 28 Dec 13

KB1971 said :

screaming banshee said :

KB1971 said :

Ha, thats nothing. We had a guy retire because he was asked to move desks in a re-shuffle and all the others had big girly whinges.

It is a pity, he had great knowledge about the job, just a crappy attitude about the department.

Big girly whinger is exactly how I would describe an ex public servant I worked with.

-the Aircon is noisy
– the door creaks
– I should have an office
– the vent is in the wrong spot which makes my desk cold

These people only make up a small portion of the branch. On the whole, they are a bunch of hard working people.

Dont worry, I have worked with my fair share of idiots in private enterprise.

You are right they do exist in private enterprise but get told to find a job elsewhere also just as quickly. They exist, but in no where near the numbers in the pubic service, where the real issue is, its too difficult to sack people.

KB1971 9:54 pm 27 Dec 13

screaming banshee said :

KB1971 said :

Ha, thats nothing. We had a guy retire because he was asked to move desks in a re-shuffle and all the others had big girly whinges.

It is a pity, he had great knowledge about the job, just a crappy attitude about the department.

Big girly whinger is exactly how I would describe an ex public servant I worked with.

-the Aircon is noisy
– the door creaks
– I should have an office
– the vent is in the wrong spot which makes my desk cold

These people only make up a small portion of the branch. On the whole, they are a bunch of hard working people.

Dont worry, I have worked with my fair share of idiots in private enterprise.

goggles13 6:18 pm 27 Dec 13
banco 3:24 pm 27 Dec 13

screaming banshee said :

KB1971 said :

Ha, thats nothing. We had a guy retire because he was asked to move desks in a re-shuffle and all the others had big girly whinges.

It is a pity, he had great knowledge about the job, just a crappy attitude about the department.

Big girly whinger is exactly how I would describe an ex public servant I worked with.

-the Aircon is noisy
– the door creaks
– I should have an office
– the vent is in the wrong spot which makes my desk cold

I’ve found a critical mass of fat, middle aged women to be the worst as far as complaints about aircon/heating go. They spur each other on with claims about the various illnesses they are contracting due to the poor heating/aircon.

screaming banshee 1:44 pm 27 Dec 13

KB1971 said :

Ha, thats nothing. We had a guy retire because he was asked to move desks in a re-shuffle and all the others had big girly whinges.

It is a pity, he had great knowledge about the job, just a crappy attitude about the department.

Big girly whinger is exactly how I would describe an ex public servant I worked with.

-the Aircon is noisy
– the door creaks
– I should have an office
– the vent is in the wrong spot which makes my desk cold

HiddenDragon 1:27 pm 27 Dec 13

According to the AAT decision “Comcare rejected the claim in a decision on 14 December 2011. This decision was affirmed by Comcare on 20 April 2012. Ms Magro sought further review by the Tribunal on 18 May 2012″….and the AAT decision was dated 23 December 2013.

There are good reasons for independent review of administrative decisions, and the AAT is doubtless doing the best it can with the resources available to it, but this sort of delay – if typical – is hardly conducive to the objectives of the Comcare legislation.

KB1971 1:11 pm 27 Dec 13

Ha, thats nothing. We had a guy retire because he was asked to move desks in a re-shuffle and all the others had big girly whinges.

It is a pity, he had great knowledge about the job, just a crappy attitude about the department.

steveu 11:04 am 27 Dec 13

At face value of the article, it appears some people will try anything for govt compo. Seriously. Its frivolous claims like these that make life difficult for those who are in genuine, legitimate need of compensation.

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