'Tomfoolery and sabotage': Worker's bullying appeal rejected
THE Queensland Industrial Relations Commission has thrown out a court action brought by a man who said he was psychologically injured while working for Bechtel on a construction site near Gladstone between 2012 and 2014.
Theo Galjaardt was appealing an earlier decision by the Workers' Compensation Regulator to reject his application for compensation in 2015.
Among the causes of the psychological injury cited by Mr Galjaardt were his co-workers' "various acts of mischief and horseplay", in the words of Industrial Commissioner Gary Black, exacerbated by what Mr Galjaardt said was the failure of Bechtel to respond appropriately.
In a written complaint in 2013, Mr Galjaardt also referred to "ongoing and relentless tomfoolery and sabotage".
Among the behaviour he cited as contributing to the injury was one man wielding a large branch at a van he was in, another displaying a large set of knives and swearing while they were alone in a hut, and someone filling his hard hat with coffee.
He also complained someone had written his name on a "Beware of Snakes" poster in the main hut, while another person had left threatening messages on a toilet wall.
Mr Galjaardt stopped going to work on May 28, 2014, and was retrenched on July 31.
That day, he told his doctor he had blacked out and was suffering heart palpitations.
While the Workers' Compensation Regulator conceded in its initial decision that Mr Galjaardt had suffered a psychological injury, it rejected his application for compensation because it found he had not established that the injury was caused by events at work.
Industrial Commissioner Gary Black upheld that decision on June 13, agreeing that while some of the events cited had occurred, Mr Galjaardt had not established causality.
Mr Black said Mr Galjaardt had taken to the appeal "with great conviction and passion" and saw his cause as just.
But he said Mr Galjaardt's case was "retrospectively constructed" in a number of respects and insufficiently supported by evidence.