In Memory of Mummery: When is it Reasonable for Modern Employers to Foresee Psychiatric injury as a Result of Stress at Work ? Koehler v Cerebos

Australian Academic Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 2007, 14 (1), pp. 168 - 175
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The well-known racehorse 'Mummery' died suddenly after he was ridden 'hard' (as we perceived it watching the race). In this comment, we look at the recent high court decision in Koehler v Cerebos with the spectre of Mummery in the background. We argue that the High Court somewhat like a racehorse was allowed only a blinkered view of the outside world with which the case scenario dealt. A wider view of the scenario would have portrayed the effect of the dual culture of overwork and compliance in Australian workplaces. We suggest that the High Court implicitly accepted the form of management characterised by Margaret Thornton as one of 'corrosive leadership'. We consider that the High Court has been subjected to considerable unwarranted criticism over the past 5 years but, in our view in this instance, the deafening silence of the media compounds the insult meted out to Australian employees with the recently enacted Work Choices legislation.
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