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:: Tuesday, 12 April 2005 ::

If your work makes you crazy then do something about it

Interesting post and comment thread from law prof (I think) Ken Parish about a recent High Court Oz decision. The case involved a woman who suffered a psychiatric injury at work cos she was overworked. Ken thinks the High Court was way wrong in deciding that her employer could not have reasonably foreseen she would go mental over her job.

Ken thinks the injury was reasonably foreseeable.

I disagree.

It should not be for an employer to divine a internal injury being sustained by an employee. And it should not be for an employee to overwork themselves into the ground until they flip without telling anyone. (I know I am being glib about her symptoms so leave it.)

The total point of the employment relationship is for it to be collegiate as far as it can be - ie x works to a decent standard for y in return for a decent wage and neither x nor y should be so precious that they cannot communicate in good times and bad during that relationship. Loyalty runs both ways.

Nip on over to Ken's and have a read and if you are so inclined read the case too. Then mabe Google the employer company.

They do not look evil.

I know there is nothing particularly woggy about all this, except maybe the injured woman is a wog, judging purely on her name which could be a married name. I just find these sorts of cases fascinating cos it is Oz law getting made and developing and stuff.

Seems to me to be a good idea to capture, in law, the concept that if you feel injured then do something about it - put your hand up, do something. Cos getting more injured when no one can reasonably see the problem is a bad way to go. And employees should not be considered adversaries of their employers - people who can cause problems.

They should be considered part of the team - people who should be rewarded and protected for doing their jobs.

If the case had gone the other way that would be, for me, a bad decision for Oz law, cos it would mean all employers have to start looking at their employees as potentially hurt, instead of as part of the team and hopefully rewarded.

Enuff from me already. Ren & Stimpy on the teevee.

:: WB 5:52 am [link+] ::

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