Remedies awarded by the QCAT and the QIRC

The QCAT is the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and the QIRC is the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

This page lists cases in which remedies were awarded by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (since December 2009), and by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (since March 2017), in complaints made under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld).

These tables list only those complaints upheld and not set aside on appeal.
Note: There have been no decisions from QIRC in which remedies were awarded.

2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010.

2020 cases

Case name Attribute and area Brief detailsRemedies
Jackson v Ocean Blue Queensland Pty Ltd Anor [2020] QCAT 23 (23 January 2020) impairment, accommodation

At the suggestion of her doctor, a woman who had been diagnosed with chronic depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder obtained an assistance dog to help alleviate her symptoms of depression and anxiety.The dog was a cavoodle named Muffin .

The woman and her husband lived in a unit that they rented. She applied for permission to keep the dog and was told that dogs were not allowed. The woman and her husband were later given a notice to leave the premises on the basis that they were in breach of the lease by having the dog on the premises.

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 prohibits discrimination in refusing to allow a guide, hearing, or assistance dog in accommodation. An assistance dog is a dog that is trained to perform tasks and behaviours to assist a person with a disability to reduce the person’s need for support. There is no requirement that the dog be certified. This is different to the position under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 where it is an offence (that is, a criminal penalty) to refuse to rent accommodation to a person with a disability because they have a certified assistance dog.

For the purpose of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 , the dog needs to be trained to perform tasks and behaviours to assist the person with disability. The tribunal found that it is not necessary that the dog is trained by an accredited or a recognised dog training body.

In this case Muffin had been to puppy school and was in a psychiatric service dog training program. Muffin was able to sense when the woman was upset or anxious and had been trained to jump up on her chest to distract or comfort her. Muffin could also assist the woman by her steady presence and companionship.

The tribunal was satisfied that Muffin had been trained to perform tasks and behaviours that assisted the woman to reduce her need for support. The tribunal found therefore that at the time the notice to leave was given to the woman and her husband, Muffin was an assistance dog. Although Muffin had not completed the formal training, she had been sufficiently trained to assist the woman.

The tribunal found that evicting the woman from the premises was both direct and indirect discrimination of her.

The woman suffered a significant degree of stress from being evicted, and she and her husband lived in camp sites and caravan parks and lost contact with friends.

The tribunal awarded the woman general damages of $10,000.00 for stress, humiliation, and loss of dignity, as well as $3,115 for costs of storing furniture and belongings.

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2019 cases

Case name Attribute and area Brief detailsRemedies
Vale v State of Queensland & Ors [2019] QCAT 290 (19 September 2019) impairment, work

A residential care officer developed a chronic kidney disease and had to undertake a type of dialysis twice during a 12 hour shift and once during an 8 hour shift. At the time, the officer worked three 12 hour day shifts, three 12 hour night shifts and one 8 hour variable shift each fortnight. He conducted the dialysis during his breaks.

At the time he developed the condition, the officer had worked as a residential care officer for 16 years and had been caring for three intellectually disabled people in a residence.

The department determined that the officer could not continue as a residential care officer (RCO) while he needed to undertake the dialysis and he was redeployed to an administrative position. He returned to working as a residential care officer 11 months later, after having a successful kidney transplant.

The tribunal held that the need to undergo dialysis is a characteristic that a person with chronic kidney disease generally possesses and was, therefore, part of the protected attribute of impairment.

In this case the tribunal considered the circumstances for comparison include that the comparator is partially restricted for 20 minutes, and absolutely restricted for 30 seconds, in attending the needs of service users, and that the restriction occurs during a crib break. The self-administered medical procedure is a characteristic of the impairment and should not form part of the ‘circumstances’ for the purpose of assessing direct discrimination.

The tribunal found it was less favourable treatment of the officer to:

  • direct him not to perform the dialysis treatment in his crib break, when he was just as responsive as another RCO who was otherwise occupied in their crib break; and
  • decide not to continue to backfill in circumstances where it completely eliminated any risks to service users and cost less than employing the officer in a supernumerary administrative role; and
  • not pay his projected RCO roster, including shift penalties, when he was transferred to alternative duties.

There was also a greater expectation of the officer in relation to the performance of his duties as an RCO than applied to other RCOs, and the respondents applied more onerous requirements than they expected of others.

There was no material increase in the risk to service providers in the officer performing the dialysis treatment during his crib breaks. He would keep the service users in his line of sight when administering the treatment, whereas other officers using the bathroom, hanging out washing, or smoking outside during their crib breaks were not more responsive than this officer.

The tribunal found that the officer’s position could be fulfilled and performed notwithstanding that over a crib break a person might be occupied in a manner that rendered them unable to respond to a situation for 30 seconds.

The less favourable treatment of the officer was because of his impairment and the need to perform the dialysis treatment during his crib breaks.

The tribunal also found that the respondents imposed a term that the officer could not perform the dialysis treatment at work, that the officer could not comply with that term where officers without his impairment could comply, and the term was not reasonable.

There was therefore both direct and indirect discrimination of the officer on the basis of his impairment.

The tribunal considered the exemptions of imposing genuine occupational requirements (s.25), special services or facilities required that impose unjustifiable hardship (s.35), circumstances of impairment impose unjustifiable hardship (s.36), and protecting the health and safety of people at a workplace (s.108). It found that there was no requirement to actively and continually support and supervise the service users for the entire duration of a 12-hour shift, there was no need for special requirements for the officer, there was no unjustifiable hardship on the employer, and removing the officer from the workplace was not reasonably necessary.

The tribunal awarded the officer compensation of $33,906.16, made up of:

  • $10,000.00 (general damages)
  • $11,372.00 (loss of salary)
  • $1,043.30 (lost recreational leave)
  • $3,546.75 (two weeks leave without pay)
  • $7,944.11 (lost penalty payments)
Patel v University of Queensland Anor [2019] QCAT 108 (12 April 2019) impairment, education

Indirect discrimination was found where a medical student was required to sit a complex practical examination while he was an inpatient at a psychiatric ward.

Failing the exam and undergoing a lengthy appeals process was a material disadvantage to the student. It did not however play a ‘starring role’ in the ultimate disenrollment of the student as it was not counted as an attempt at the exam.

Attempts by the university to ‘right the wrong’ did not mean there could be no finding of discrimination, however it impacted the assessment of compensation.

The tribunal considered the student should not be compensated beyond nominal compensation, and given the lack of submissions on the amount of compensation sought, the tribunal ordered the university to pay the student $2,000.

General damages $2,000
Davis v Metro North Hospital and Health Service & Ors
[2019] QCAT 18 (31 January 2019)
political belief or activity, applying for work

The complainant was a doctor and a former member of parliament and Assistant Minister for Health. He was sacked as Assistant Minister for Health and he resigned from parliament and from the Liberal National Party. He had been critical of the government of the time, being involved in a very public dispute over employment contracts of public hospital doctors. Before going into politics he had been employed in public hospitals throughout Queensland as a physician and geriatrician, and at one stage he was the State President of the Australian Medical Association.

After leaving politics, Dr Davis applied for an advertised position as a specialist geriatric medicine senior medical officer for the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and was the only applicant for the position. The standard recruitment procedure was not followed, and the position was withdrawn.

The tribunal found that departing from the standard recruitment process by notifying the Board (via the chief executive) would have occurred in the case of an application from any person with a high profile, and accordingly was not less favourable treatment of Dr Davis.

However, the tribunal found that the decision of the CEO to cease the recruitment process and not appoint the complainant amounted to less favourable treatment of him. An inference that the decision was made because of the complainant’s political belief or activity was open on the evidence, and there was no innocent explanation for the decision.

The tribunal found that the discrimination caused the complainant to change from a confident, high achieving medical professional capable of taking responsibility for the management and direction of an entire department of a major public hospital to an anxious, despondent, socially isolated person who demonstrates a lack of purpose, self-worth and drive. The tribunal found the deleterious impact had been long lasting and was ongoing.

The tribunal awarded damages totalling $1,450,771.69 comprised of:

General damages: $50,000.00;
Interest on general damages $4,410.00;
Past economic loss $830,824.83;
Lost superannuation $78,928.35;
Interest of past economic super $78,784.62;
Future economic loss $407,823.89.

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2018 cases

Case name Attribute and area Brief detailsRemedies
Metcalf v Cerberus Special Risks Pty Ltd [2018] QCAT 175 (14 June 2018) age The tribunal ordered that some of the material filed in the proceeding is not to be published to any person.
Details of the complaint are not available.

The tribunal made the following orders with the consent of the parties:

Without admitting to a contravention of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld), the respondents:

(a) agree that they have discriminated against the applicant on the basis of age;

(b) agree that the data summaries provided in the proceeding have not satisfied the applicant that they are reasonable;

(c) agree to review their policies and procedures, by 30 September 2018, to ensure they do not discriminate on the basis of age except where allowed for by law;

(d) will keep the applicant informed by 30 November 2018 of the review and responses that have been undertaken; and

(e) will pay the applicant’s costs in the sum of $7,000.00.

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2017 cases

Case name Attribute and area Brief detailsRemedies
Vuga v Persal & Co. Trading Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 368 (31 October 2017) political belief or activity, providing goods or services

Ms Vuga is the founder member and President of the Love Australia or Leave party, and she wanted to hold a meeting in Hervey Bay. A party member arranged for attendees to meet for drinks at the Beach House Hotel before going to a meeting elsewhere, the location for which would be disclosed at the drinks.

The party prepared a flyer which was widely distributed, including in the hotel. When the hotel manager saw the flyer the day before the intended drinks and meeting, he made some enquiries and then contacted Ms Vuga. He had concerns about the possible size of the gathering for drinks in the main bar and the impact on other patrons. He told Ms Vuga she could not have the meet for drinks at the hotel, and the hotel did not want to be associated with the party. The manager hired security for the intended event and people wearing tee shirts with Love Australia or Leave printed on them were denied entry to the hotel.

The tribunal found there were two substantial reasons why the manager decided not to allow the meet for drinks to take place – one was the impracticality of the arrangements and the way the party had organised them, and the other was the dislike of Ms Vuga’s political views and disagreement with those of the party.

Discrimination on the basis of an attribute happens if the attribute is a substantial reason for the less favourable treatment.

It was direct discrimination when the hotel manager did not permit the gathering at the hotel and when he told Ms Vuga that the hotel did not want anything to do with the party and it was not welcome at the hotel.

The tribunal found that the safety of hotel staff was not a substantial reason for the decision not to allow the gathering to take place, and the tribunal was not satisfied that the decision was reasonably necessary to protect the safety of the staff.

Ms Vuga was awarded damages of $2,500 for the offence she felt when told of the hotel’s decision, that it wanted nothing to do with her party, and that the party was not welcome at the hotel.

General damages: $2,500
Green v State of Queensland
[2017] QCAT 008 (10 January 2017)
sexual harassment at work

A cleaner at a school was sexually harassed when two of his co-workers, one male and one female, set up a staff room to appear as though two staff members had used the room for a sex romp.The prank was directed at the cleaner, and the room was set up with empty alcohol bottles, clothes, and a condom containing fluid. The male co-worker invited the cleaner to sniff boxer shorts left in the room. The cleaner was distressed by the scene, including that he thought he was cleaning up bodily fluids. He was also upset and concerned that two named staff members were having an affair and had used the school premises to get together. He was preoccupied with the sex romp to the point that he intended to speak to one of the staff members who he thought was involved. At that time, the male co-worker involved in the prank told the cleaner that it had all been a prank. On hearing this, the cleaner fell to his knees.

The tribunal found it was also sexual harassment of the cleaner when the male co-worker invited him to sniff the boxer shorts, and when that co-worker informed staff in a nearby shop of the prank.

The tribunal found the cleaner had been victimised after complaining of sexual harassment. The male co-worker had pretended to photograph or video the cleaner when he was at the school, and had gestured with his middle finger to the cleaner's wife and children at the school.

The cleaner suffered an acute anxiety state because of the prank, and within a month he was unable to work. He suffered an adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression, and his psychological condition developed into post-traumatic stress disorder. His condition caused problems sleeping and concentrating, fatigue, rapid heart rate, trembling, obsessive thinking, eating and stomach problems, compulsive behaviours, bouts of crying, depressed mood, and feelings of hopelessness an anxiety. He was unable to work for two years, and was then only able to return to part-time work. The tribunal considered he would be unable to return to full-time work for a further two years.

The tribunal discussed at length how QCAT should assess damages in light of the 2014 decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court in Richardson v Oracle .

The tribunal stressed the importance of consistency in awards, particularly as required under the QCAT Act. The tribunal also examined the six cases where Richardson has been cited in other Australian jurisdictions. That examination shows that although there have been some increases in the level of awards, those increases have not been nearly as dramatic as in Richardson itself.

The tribunal concluded that where there is a recognisable personal injury, the tribunal should continue the approach of consistency with Queensland court awards in personal injury cases. However, where there is no recognisable personal injury and therefore no comparable Queensland awards, the tribunal can be influenced by Richardson to increase its level of awards, if it is appropriate to do so.

When considering previous awards, those awards should be adjusted for inflation. Advocates would assist the tribunal in adjusting previous awards for inflation when citing them.

The tribunal also determined that interest on non-financial loss should be awarded unless there is a proper reason for not doing so, though not at a commercial rate.

Non-financial loss (pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and the offence, embarrassment, humiliation and intimidation suffered): $70,000

Interest on non-financial loss: $3,160

Past loss of income (gross): $17,430

Past loss of superannuation: $1,656

Future loss of income: $48,338

Future loss of superannuation: $5,467

Future cost of treatment: $10,000

Total award: $156,051


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2016 cases

Case name Attribute and area Brief detailsRemedies
STU v JKL (Qld) Pty Ltd
[2016] QCAT 505 (6 December 2016)
Note: This decision is under appeal to the QCAT Appeal Tribunal.
sexual harassment

A young woman was sexually harassed when she woke to find an older man naked in her bedroom. He touched her upper thigh and groin, and tried to remover her underpants. She told him to leave and broke down crying.

The woman's employer had arranged for her to share the work-provided accommodation with the man. They each had their own room, and the woman had moved in the night before the sexual harassment.

The woman was unable to take up her new job as planned, and she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and depressive symptoms. She was unable to work from the incident (which happened on 1 December 2012) until March 2015.

The tribunal found that the personal injury to the woman caused by the sexual assault on her was severe and prolonged.

Issues the tribunal considered and decided included whether the sexual harassment occurred in the course of the man's employment, the credibility of the woman and the extent to which the sexual harassment caused her injuries, and how damages should be assessed.

General damages (personal injury): $70,000

Interest on general damages: $8,260

Past financial loss (gross of tax, and after deducting worker's compensation payments received): $162,594.42

Interest on past financial loss: $33,575.75

Past loss of superannuation: $21,059.06

Interest on past loss of superannuation: $4,348.70

Future economic loss: $25,000

Special damages: $396.40

Interest on special damages: $81.77

Future medical and associated costs: $3,000

Total: $328,316.10, from which the amount of settlement of a personal injuries claim for the same event.

Total award: $313,316.10.

Bell v Islam
[2016] QCAT 520 (2 December 2016)

impairment, providing goods or services

direct discrimination

A man tried to dine at a restaurant accompanied by his hearing assistance dog.

The tribunal made the following orders with the consent of the parties:

The respondents to:

  • apologise to the complainant for any embarrassment, hurt or upset caused to him by an incident on 24 June 2016 when he intended to dine in the restaurant accompanied by his hearing assistance dog;
  • publish on the restaurant's Facebook page an apology in similar terms;
  • ensure that all staff are trained about the laws allowing hearing assistance dogs to be allowed access to restaurants;
  • place a notice in a conspicuous place in the restaurant that no dogs are allowed due to health regulations except recognised assistance dogs; and
  • donate $750 to the Lions hearing dog program.

The complainant to publish on the restaurant's Facebook page an acknowledgment that the incident on 24 June 2016 was unfortunate, and that the respondents did not knowingly breach any provision as to access of a hearing assistance dog.

The orders were published as a final decision without reasons.

Thorne v Toowoomba Regional Council
[2016] QCAT 212 (27 June 1016)

The award of damages has been set aside by the QCAT Appeal Tribunal, and is to be re-assessed by the tribunal.

Thorne v Toowoomba Regional Council [2017] QCATA 128 (23 November 2017)

impairment, work

direct discrimination

unlawful request for information

A woman claimed the Council did not confirm her employment at the end of a probationary period because of her wrist injury. The Council claimed the reason for not continuing the employment was that the woman had not been honest in her response to an interview question.

The woman had attended two interviews and a pre-employment medical assessment. At the medical assessment the woman completed a questionnaire that disclosed the previous injury, surgery and a subsequent problem with the wrist. The examining doctor reported that there was potential impact on her ability to meet the requirements of the position, and recommended a review by an occupational therapist to determine necessary accommodations and limitations. The Council discussed the concerns with the woman and obtained a report from an occupational therapist and a further report from the doctor. The woman was then offered employment, and when she commenced work she was given a work plan outlining restrictions on her duties.

Towards the end of the probation period the Council asked the doctor how long the work restrictions were needed, and the doctor advised the restrictions should remain in place for a minimum of 2 years to prevent aggravation of the previous injury or create another over-use injury. The Council also asked the woman questions about her previous employment, and asked the previous employer for information about an aggravated injury she had endured.

The tribunal found that questions about the former workplace and to the former employer were unnecessary to the continued safe performance of the woman's work, and were directed to the risk her injuries posed if her injuries were aggravated. The Council had sought unnecessary information on which unlawful discrimination could be based, in contravention of section 124 of the Anti-Discrimination Act .

The tribunal also found that the reason for dismissing the woman was her impairment, and the attendant risk of a claim against the Council arising out of an aggravation of her injuries.

General damages: $10,000

The tribunal found the claim for economic loss was not substantiated.

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2015 cases

Case name Attribute and area Brief detailsRemedies
Donovan v Tobin [2015] QCAT 332 (1 September 2015) racial vilification

On various occasions in various locations, either in public, or in circumstances where other members of the public could hear, the respondent called out you in-bred Muslims , go back to your cage you fucking monkeys etc.

The tribunal was satisfied the respondent incited contempt for or ridicule of the applicant on the ground of her race. The applicant sought an order for payment of money to a third party. The tribunal said it would be unreasonable to make the respondent pay money to a third party.

The tribunal ordered the respondent not to make any remark that may constitute racial vilification to the applicant.

Kleinig v Village Roadshow Theme Parks Pty Ltd [2015] QCAT 330 (6 August 2015) impairment, providing goods or services

This was a complaint about the way a woman with an impairment was treated at three Gold Coast theme parks in December 2013. The woman does not have a left hand, wrist or forearm.

The first incident was at Sea World, where the complainant was in a queue for the Sea Viper ride. Although the complainant was wearing an arm band issued by the park authorising her to go on the ride, the attendant pointed at her left arm and shouted to another employee has this been checked . The tribunal found the ride attendant had been insensitive and rude when seeking to clarify whether the complainant had been approved to go on the ride, and this was less favourable treatment of the complainant compared to the treatment of people without her impairment.

The second incident occurred a few days later at Wet and Wild when the complainant took the Kamikaze ride. There had been a delay in the ride and the complainant felt that other patrons were blaming her for the delay because they were pointing at her and making rude comments. At the end of the ride the attendant asked the complainant to remove the armbands from the other parks that she was wearing. The complainant asked for help to do that because she has only one hand, and the attendant told her to go to guest services. The tribunal found the attendant had not been rude when he asked the complainant to remove the armbands from other parks and that the request was not unfavourable. The tribunal said that in making the request the park did not impose a term on the complainant, and even if it was a term, it was reasonable to aid in the safe and efficient provision of services to guests of Wet and Wild. There was no direct or indirect discrimination of the complainant.

The third incident occurred the following day at Movie World when the complainant attended the guest services office. She complained that the guest services employee used the word assessed several times instead of safety-check . The tribunal found the term assessed was factual, short and not inherently nasty. The complainant did not suffer any unfavourable treatment and there was no discrimination of her.

For the insensitive and rude treatment at Sea World, the tribunal awarded $500.

The tribunal found that there was no indirect discrimination of the complainant at Wet and Wild.

The tribunal found that there was no unfavourable treatment or discrimination of the complainant at Movie World.

Hunter v State of Queensland [2015] QCAT179 (18 May 2015) impairment, the administration of state laws and programs; indirect discrimination

A man who uses a wheelchair and has a paralysed hand was required to provide fingerprints using a scanning device designed for people who can stand. It caused him considerable effort to lift up each arm to the scanning plate, and keep his arm in that position while the prints were being taken. The operator repeatedly opened the curled fingers of his paralysed hand to try, unsuccessfully, to scan for fingerprints.

The tribunal found that the fingerprint process was prolonged, demeaning and intrusive. It was not reasonable to require a wheelchair-user with a paralysed hand to undergo the process using the fixed cabinet scanning device. The device was not designed for that use and the requirement was not in accord with the published policies of the Police Service about dealing with vulnerable persons with disabilities. [61]

It was reasonable to attempt to obtain prints from a paralysed hand by manually opening fingers, but unreasonable to repeat the process. Manually opening paralysed fingers several times amounted to indirect discrimination.

The man who uses a wheelchair also needed to collect a document from the prosecutor's office to use in a court proceeding. The office was on an upper floor and there was no lift. Buzzers were used to gain entrance through closed doors, and he had to call out repeatedly to get attention and have the document brought down to him.

The tribunal found that, while frustrating, the system in place to provide access for persons with mobility difficulties to an area not normally open to the public was not unreasonable. The option was also available to him to have the document emailed or posted.

The man experienced discomfort, physical stress on his body, embarrassment, degradation, humiliation and anger, but no ongoing effect on psychological or emotional functioning.

General damages of $8,000 for emotional distress and physical discomfort in the fingerprinting episode.

The tribunal suggested that the respondent should look at improving the system of physical access to the prosecutor's office for people for mobility impairment.

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2014 cases

Case name Attribute and area Brief detailsRemedies
Willmott v Woolworths Ltd [2014] QCAT 601 (11 November 2014) unlawful request for information

The complainant wanted to apply for an advertised position as a console operator at a petrol station using the online application system. He was required to complete mandatory fields giving his date of birth and gender, and to upload documents proving his right to work in Australia.

The tribunal found that the questions were discriminatory, as the information at the application stage was not necessary for any lawful purpose.

The tribunal also found that the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act is not inconsistent with the federal Migration Act 1958 under which it is an offence to employ an unlawful non-citizen .

Total compensation of $5,000 was awarded for the embarrassment and humiliation, as well as for the 'loss of a chance' (to be employed).

By the time of the hearing Woolworths had taken steps to change the online application form.

Bell v State of Queensland (No. 1) [2014] QCAT 297 (6 March 2014) sexual harassment at work

At a staff Christmas party a female boss asked a female worker to join in a threesome and said that she wanted to experiment with people she knew . This was found to constitute sexual harassment. (Earlier comments about not wearing undies and showing her breasts were held not to amount to sexual harassment.)

The worker was subsequently subjected to bullying and harassment by the boss. The investigation into the complaints of sexual harassment and bullying was unsatisfactory and contributed to psychological injury. The sexual harassment played a material role in causing the psychological injury.

Damages were assessed at $22,000 but $9,000 was awarded because the injury was partly caused by bullying and harassment not covered by the AD Act.

Total award $9,000.

In a later decision the tribunal ordered the respondents to pay the applicant's costs of the proceeding – See Bell v State of Queensland [2014] QCAT 495 (18 September 2014).
The costs decision was subsequently set aside by the Appeal Tribunal, and the costs application was sent back to the tribunal to be reconsidered – See Ralph & Anor v Bell [2015] QCATA 31 (27 February 2015).

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2013 cases

Case name Attribute and area Brief detailsRemedies
Nunan v Aaction Traffic Service Pty Ltd [2013] QCAT 565 (14 October 2013) sexual harassment at work Female traffic controller sexually harassed by male co-worker over a 5 month period. Personal comments and questions of a sexually explicit nature, banter ('what colour are your pubes'), sounds and gestures culminating in an incident – complainant suffered emotional breakdown and major depressive disorder.
Complainant settled with the corporate respondents, but this did not release the individual respondent from liability. Individual respondent liable for the difference between the total award and the amount already paid by the corporate respondents.

Non-financial loss (personal injury and the offence, embarrassment, humiliation and intimidation): $40,000

Past financial loss (using gross figures for the purpose of tax): $51,895

Interest on past financial loss: $3,892

Future financial loss (net of tax): $6,430

Total award: $102,217.

Ali v State of Qld [2013] QCAT 319 (6 August 2013)

religious belief or activity and family responsibilities, the administration of state laws & programs

indirect discrimination

Application by the State for leave to appeal refused; see: State of Qld v Ali [2014] QCATA 126 (21 May 2014).

After transfer to another correctional facility, Muslim prisoner not provided with Halal meals, unable to participate in Friday prayers and Imam visits, and unable to see and support his wife and son. Discrimination found only in relation to meals (religious belief or activity).

$3,000.00 compensation for the discrimination, to be dealt with in accordance with Chapter 6 Part 12B of the Corrective Services Act 2006.

Total award: $3,000.

Mitchell v Regional Community Assoc Inc [2013] QCAT 264 (6 June 2013)

pregnancy in work

direct discrimination
Permanent part-time worker in a mental health outreach program took 12 months maternity leave – when she proposed to return to work the organisation had restructured and her position made redundant. Respondents claimed her employment was only for the life of the funding agreement. Respondents did not appear at hearing.

Lost income: $1,500

General damages: $3,000

Total award: $4,500

McCauley v Club Resort Holdings Pty Ltd (No 2) [2013] QCAT 243 (13 May 2013)

sexual harassment, sex and age in work

direct discrimination

Sexual harassment by male co-worker over 3 day period  in kitchen area of resort where complainant worked – comments that she smelt like 'Old Spice', cougar, sniffing and growling noises, leaning in close.
These events were also direct discrimination on basis of sex and age.
Psychiatric injury exacerbated by mishandling of complaint by employer (even though QIRC found it to be reasonable management action taken reasonably).
Employer failed to prove it took reasonable steps – individual respondent merely told about anti-harassment policy at induction 5 years earlier - employer vicariously liable.

Award for non-financial loss ( $22,000 less WorkCover lump sum $13,274): $8,726

Financial loss: $23,833

Interest on financial loss: $2,931

Total award: $35,490

(Note the individual respondent to pay $4,500 of the total award.)

Singh v Shafston Training One Pty Ltd [2013] QCAT 8 (8 January 2013)

race discrimination in education and goods or services areas; victimisation and racial vilification

direct discrimination
Complainant a student at hospitality college - head trainer made comments about his national origin, swore at him referring to his race (f***ing Indians), called derogatory race-related names, told to 'go back to your country', given menial tasks and refusal to sign off on final statement of competency because of discrimination complaint.
Personally mocked by head trainer - called 'Rudi' (which is insulting in Punjabi) and laughed at by perpetrator and other trainers (incited).

Refund of fees paid for course: $22,787

General damages of $3,500 each for discrimination, victimisation an vilification: $10,500

Total award: $33,287

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2012 cases

Case name Attribute and area Brief detailsRemedies
Casey v Blume [2012] QCAT 627 (21 November 2012) sexual harassment; racial vilification

Similar claim brought by complainant in Casey v Flanagan [2011] QCAT 320 (8 July 2011).

Over network CB radio in the security industry referred to complainant as 'f***ing wog slut dago' 'gypsy' 'import' broadcast her address as a place to go for sex and gave out her telephone number.

General damages for sexual harassment & racial vilification (including interest): $10,000

Restraining orders made in relation to engaging in further sexual harassment and racial vilification.

Total award: $10,000

Barney v State of Qld [2012] QCAT 695 (1 November 2012)

race in work

direct discrimination

Affirmed on appeal; see State of Qld v Barney [2013] QCATA 104 (1 May 2013).

Complainant (an Aboriginal man) worked as a residential care officer - comments about his race made by co-worker to colleagues – refused to work with the complainant because he is a 'black fella'. When directed to apologise, the colleague failed to apologise appropriately and again referred to the complainant's race causing the complainant to suffer depression and anxiety.

General Damages: $40,000.00

Interest on general damages: $8,416.00

Past economic loss: $21,089.00

Interest on past economic loss: $4,420.25

Past Superannuation: $2,779.56

Total award: $76,704.81

Rushton v Muller [2012] QCAT 505 (24 July 2012)

impairment in work

indirect discrimination
Admin worker at correctional centre who suffered depression and had a history of suicide attempts forcefully required to do Suicide Prevention Awareness training – denied time to get professional advice before doing training – threatened with job loss if training not done – suffered extreme emotional distress from doing the training. Imposing the term to undertake the training was not reasonable.

General damages: $10,000

The Member invited the respondent to provide an apology, but did not order one.

Total award: $10,000

Menere v Poolrite Pty Ltd [2012] QCAT 252 (15 June 2012) sexual harassment at work Sexual harassment of 50 year old male assembly line worker by male co-worker – sexual gestures with pipe, presenting handwash as if it was bodily fluid, touching genital area imitating sex. Complainant humiliated and offended - requires medication and psychological therapy. Employer not vicariously liable – delivered training and issued staff with a detailed handbook on sexual harassment and bullying.

General damages: $5,000

Future medical expenses: $3,000

Total award: $8,000

Individual respondent liable for damages.

Chivers v State of Queensland [2012] QCAT 166 (10 April 2012)

impairment in work

direct and indirect discrimination

QCAT decision set aside on appeal; see State of Qld v Chivers [2013] QCATA 256, 23 September 2013.

Appeal tribunal decision affirmed on appeal to the Court of Appeal; see Chivers v State of Qld [2014] QCA 141, 13 June 2014.

Graduate nurse not able to work night shifts due to medical condition (a headache disorder from a previous head injury) – probationary period extended a number of times and permanent employment not confirmed. Finding of direct discrimination. Also indirect discrimination - the term (registered nurses in 24/7 wards must be capable of working across all shifts) not reasonable. The genuine occupational requirement argument to work all shifts was not made out by the employer.

General damages: $18,000

Interest on general damages: $2,700

Economic loss claim refused

Total award: $20,700

Note: Set aside on appeal

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2011 cases

Case name Attribute and area Brief detailsRemedies
Skinner v Sully [2011] QCAT 589 (23 November 2011)

impairment in accommodation

direct discrimination

Upheld on appeal; see Sully v Skinner [2012] QCATA 250, 26 November 2012.

Complainant refused a booking for a holiday unit in a luxury complex on the Gold Coast because of his guide dog. Used online booking service and booking was accepted until he said he would be accompanied by his accredited guide dog.

General damages including interest: $13,000

Total award: $13,000

Stallard v Alsun Aluminium Pty Ltd [2011] QCAT 490 (12 October 2011)

impairment in work

direct discrimination
Truck driver required to load and deliver orders as part of the job – developed a back problem which worsened over time – discouraged from making Workcover claim – significant number of absences because of back pain. The employer started to recruit another driver and terminated the complainant's employment the day he lodged a Workcover claim. Reason given for termination was 'unreliability'. Respondents failed to show the complainant could not perform the inherent requirements of the job.

General damages: $5,000

Total award: $5,000

Brosnahan v Ronoff [2011] QCAT 439 (16 August 2011) gender identity vilification, sexual harassment The complainant identifies as a woman but her birth gender was male. In a late night incident, her neighbour accompanied by a group of drunk friends wrenched palings off her fence, yelled obscenities in the direction of her unit ('You f***ing faggot, you have your f***ing dick in a jar') and threatened to burn her house down ('Has anyone got a box of matches so we can burn this f***ing faggots place down?')

General damages for vilification (including interest): $10,000

General damages for sexual harassment (including interest): $5,000

Total award: $15,000

Casey v Flanagan [2011] QCAT 320 (8 July 2011) sexual harassment, racial vilification, and request/encourage contravention at work Complainant a woman from former Yugoslavia who speaks with a strong accent and worked in the security business. Over the CB/UHF radio network she was referred to as a 'wog', import', 'dago', 'truckie slut' and 'crack whore.' On the CB radio respondent told others to 'give her as much sh*t as you like' which was acted upon by Mr Blume (See Casey v Blume [2012] QCAT 627.) Also incidents of her address broadcast across the network as a place to go for sex.

General damages: $5,000

Total award: $5,000

Carey v Cairns Regional Council [2011] QCAT 26 (21 January 2011)

political belief or activity and association in work

direct discrimination

Decision appealed; see Cairns Regional Council v Carey [2012] QCATA 150, 21 August 2012.
On appeal, future economic loss reduced by $40,000 to $10,000 and the amount for future medical expenses was set aside.

Complaint against shire council and councillors by a manager at the council whose employment contract was terminated. Finding - the sacking was a political payback against a political opponent. The manager was in a de facto relationship with a woman who was the leader of an environmental lobby group which was opposing the councillors.

The complaint was made out against the Council but dismissed against the councillors - Local Government Act protects councillors acting in their capacity as elected representatives, except in the case of dishonesty or negligence.

General damages: $30,000.00

Interest on general damages: $3,600.00

Past economic loss: $211,365.75

Interest on past economic loss: $21,136.00

Economic loss: $26,376.00

Interest on economic loss: $375.00

Future economic loss: $10,000.00

Loan costs (early repayment fees): $18,813.33

Past medical expenses: $366.98

Future medical expenses: $0.00

Total award: $322,033.06

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2010 cases

Case name Attribute and area Brief detailsRemedies
Bair v Goldpath Pty Ltd [2010] QCAT 483 (27 September 2010) unlawful requests for information; age in pre-work Complainant asked questions about date of birth, if he had any children and how many sick days he had taken in his previous employment at job interview.
Finding that the asking of questions about age and parental status were unlawful requests for information; but complainant did not prove that he was unsuccessful in getting the job because of his age or parental status.

Unlawful requests for information portion successful – apology ordered.

No financial compensation.

Irvine v Mermaids Café and Bar (No 2) [2010] QCAT 482 (27 September 2010 )

sexual harassment, pregnancy in work

direct discrimination

Woman on section 457 employment visa worked in a restaurant. If her employment was terminated, entitlement to remain and work in Australia was threatened.
Sexual harassment by the owner (putting arm round her, rubbing knee and thigh, over familiar touching, expressed feelings of physical attraction, sexually suggestive emails.)
The woman became pregnant and advised the employer she would be taking maternity leave. Employer was under the impression that he would have to continue to pay her during maternity leave (as part of visa requirements) and believed this was financially unviable. Her 457 visa was cancelled and employment terminated.

The complaint by her partner who also worked at the restaurant and was terminated was unsuccessful. He claimed association discrimination.

General damages for sexual harassment incl interest: $2,650.00

General damages for pregnancy discrimination: $15,000.00

Interest on pregnancy discrim: $900.00

Economic loss: $33,147.60

Interest on economic loss: $4,000.00

Total award: $55,697.60

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