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Not foreseeable for racial joking to cause psychiatric condition

Guorgi v Pipemakers Australia [2013] QSC 198

Boddice J

9 August 2013

Background

The injured worker suffered a psychiatric condition as a result of racial jokes and banter in the workplace. The worker had actively engaged in the banter himself with others, but ultimately he decided it had gone too far.

The employer investigated the incidents and terminated some employees but they were ultimately reinstated.

Judgement

The Court found that the employer had breached its duty of care in allowing the racial joking to occur, but that it wasn't reasonably foreseeable that the worker would suffer a psychiatric condition as a result, given that he actively engaged in the joking and banter and did not tell the employer he was concerned about it.

The plaintiff's claim was dismissed.