iCare, the government insurer for NSW, has dismissed the compensation claims of a woman who was suffering from psychological trauma after she was allegedly sexually assaulted in her place of work.
The insurer, however, said that the reason for the filing was not a workplace matter, according to a report by The Australian Financial Review.
The claimant, who was working for a Sydney-based accounting firm but was eventually terminated, had been hospitalised and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, with a tendency for suicidal ideation.
The woman said her condition was the result of the alleged sexual assault encounter with a male manager, who had asked her to return to the office with him after they spent an evening drinking with their colleagues.
The man had invited her to head back to the office at 11 p.m. to discuss another staff member’s salary, but the man later sexually assaulted her in the storeroom, the woman said. In the following week, the woman was reportedly unable to focus at work and opted to stay home.
The man, who has since left the accounting firm, is now subject to a police investigation.
Outside of office hours
iCare said the incident happened outside of conventional work hours and was inconsistent with work activities despite the woman’s claim that the assault took place in the office.
“We consider it implausible that you and [the manager] would, after such a period of time and activity and at 11pm, return to the office to discuss an employee’s salary,” the insurer wrote in a decision dated 8 June 2021.
iCare also insisted that the two parties “could have discussed work matters there at the bar without needing to return to the office”. Commenting on the claim that the incident took place in the storeroom, the insurer said: “We do not consider this location to be consistent with having a discussion regarding an employee’s salary or any other work matters.”
The AFR also reported that the woman had been terminated by the accounting firm after iCare released its decision. Meanwhile, the woman is appealing her compensation claims.
A representative for iCare who spoke to AFR, however, said that the insurer had no authority to “make a legal determination on criminal matters”.