Monday, 05 Dec 2022

Psychological injury: NSW teacher wins compensation payout over handling of vaccine mandate

Psychological injury: NSW teacher wins compensation payout over handling of vaccine mandate


Psychological injury: NSW teacher wins compensation payout over handling of vaccine mandate

A Sydney teacher sacked for not complying with New South Wales's vaccination rules has been awarded ongoing workers' compensation payments of $1,378 a week after she suffered "psychological injury" in the way the mandate was enforced.

Her case has been described as a precedent by her lawyer, with dozens more former teachers already lining up to pursue similar action against the state's education department.

In a judgment handed down in the NSW personal injury commission on Thursday, the former Canada Bay special education teacher Diane Dawking, 53, was awarded ongoing compensation and backpay over the way the vaccination mandate was communicated ahead of her dismissal.

Court documents show Dawking was diagnosed with acute stress reactions/disorder by a psychologist in October last year as a result of Covid-related restrictions and the vaccine mandate, which was first mooted in an email by the department in August, to take effect in November.

The teacher's uncertain employment status was found to be "at least a substantial contributing factor" to her psychological injury.

Dawking claimed that as a result of the mandate "she started to suffer a number of symptoms, including helplessness and hopelessness, loss of interest in daily activities, loss of weight, sleep changes, anger and irritability".

She was certified as having no capacity to work from 9 September, and a subsequent psychiatric assessment in December 2021, after the vaccine mandate had come into effect, found Dawking was suffering from "adjustment disorder with anxious distress" and was unable to work.

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