Employee hospitalised after coaching goes wrong

by L&D15 Apr 2016
Vikrant Chaudhri​ has won his case for worker’s compensation after experiencing chest pains, shakes and body cramps following an informal training session with his boss.
 
The ATO employee was being "encouraged" by his supervisor to "improve" his method of taking phone calls from the public in July 2012, a tribunal has heard.
 
Chaudhri​ claimed workers' compensation for a psychiatric condition, adjustment reaction with mixed emotional features, reports The Canberra Times.
 
However, he​ had his claim rejected by the insurer Comcare and went on to present his case to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
 
Chaudhri​ had an excellent relationship with his previous boss until his supervisor changed in early 2012.
 
For example, he always exceeded his benchmark of at least 90% of calls being rated as meeting requirements or above, and he consistently received positive job appraisals.
 
But his new supervisor had different ideas. She saw Chaudhri as slow at getting people off the phone.
 
The tribunal heard that Chaudhri was forced to complete difficult tasks typically done by public servants above his APS 3 pay level.
 
According to Chaudhri, she talked to him when he was on the phone with clients and queried the amount of time he was away from his desk, which was actually due to medical reasons.
 
When Chaudhri and his supervisor met on July 4 to discuss a training intiative for the entire office, Chaudhri refused to talk about his work performance because of a "trust deficit".

The conflict became worse on July 16 after another meeting but they both had very different versions of the talk.

Chaudhri said his boss used an "interrogating style," accused him of taking too long on his calls and demanded that he respond to her verbally.

The supervisor’s version asserted that it was "another informal routine work meeting" and Chaudhri was encouraged and offered assistance in adjusting to changes in the quality control system and improving his performance.

However, both versions attested that that Chaudhri became distressed when the meeting was concluding, as he complained of chest pains, numbness and cramps. It was then that Chaudhri was taken to hospital.
 
The tribunal senior member James Constance found that the supervisor's evidence made clear the meetings were everyday "catch-ups" and not related to his ongoing employment, according to The Canberra Times.

Constance also found that the supervisor's actions were not taken in relation to Chaudhri's employment.
 
Comcare's goal was to prove that the meetings were "reasonable administrative action" taken in respect to Chaudhri's employment in order to avoid paying the compensation, which they failed to do.
 

COMMENTS

  • by Roy 15/04/2016 3:14:14 PM

    The intricacies of social organisation, leadership and risk are not well known by most appointed to supervisory and managerial positions. The situation could have been handled many different ways other than the methods applied in this case.

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