MKR: Channel 7 insurer asks former candidate Piper O’Neill to undergo controversial psychological test


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A former MKR competitor who received compensation from Channel 7 had to pass a controversial psychological test.

A former My Kitchen Rules contestant who received compensation from Channel 7 has had her weekly payments suspended after refusing to undergo a controversial and ‘traumatic’ psychological test.

Piper O’Neill, who appeared in the 2019 season of the reality cooking contest where she was part of a high-profile “sex scandal” scenario, filed a workers’ compensation claim last year for psychological harm due to allegations of defamation and intimidation on the part of the producers and the network.

In April, Channel 7 was ordered to pay the former beauty queen $ 400 a week – but last month the broadcaster’s insurer, GIO, suspended her benefits after she refused to attend a go to a psychologist for “psychometric tests”.

Psychometric testing, an area of ​​personality testing commonly used in recruiting, has been criticized by some as pseudoscience, with The New York Times label it “office astrology”.

“It’s pretty traumatic for people,” said Ms. O’Neill’s lawyer Carmine Santone.

“It lasts for hours. For people who are not doing well… it is very difficult even for someone who is in a job interview who is doing well.

Lawyers acting for Channel 7 wrote in a September letter that a psychologist would “perform a forensic psychological assessment that includes your client’s diagnosis, any recommended treatment, and any treatment your client has received” and “provide a certificate. incapacity for work ”.

Ms. O’Neill refused and her payments were cut off.

His lawyers challenged the ruling, arguing that a psychologist was not a “doctor” within the meaning of the law.

The case was heard by the Personal Injury Commission of NSW, which ruled earlier this month in favor of Ms O’Neill.

Commission Member Carolyn Rimmer concluded that a psychologist was not a “physician” for the purposes of the Workers’ Compensation Act and that “the Applicant therefore did not refuse to submit to an examination by a ” doctor ” “.

“The use of the term ‘physician’ in legislation and guidelines rather than terms such as ‘health practitioner’ or even ‘medical expert’ supports the view that the term ‘physician’ should be interpreted as designating a person who is registered under the relevant law in the medical profession, ”she said.

Ms Rimmer felt that the term ‘physician’ as used in the law ‘should be interpreted in accordance with the National Health Practitioners Regulation Act NSW and that the term’ physician ‘does not include a’ psychologist ”, that is to say a person registered in the“ profession of psychology ”.

“Any right to compensation is not suspended,” Ms. Rimmer said.

Courts in New South Wales have already taken a dim view of accepting psychometric tests as evidence.

In a 2019 case, the NSW Court of Appeals called a complainant’s psychometric test results “seriously disturbing material” and noted that the validity of the methodology was “impenetrable and unproven in court.”

The New South Wales Workers’ Compensation Guidelines state that “appropriate psychometric tests performed by a qualified clinical psychologist” may be part of a larger clinical assessment of an injured worker’s psychiatric symptoms. .

“I agree that the guidelines provide for a clinical evaluation which may include the results of appropriate psychometric tests performed by a qualified clinical psychologist,” Ms. Rimmer said in her decision.

“However, these test results are not a mandatory requirement for an assessment to take place.”

Mr Santone said Ms O’Neill’s case was won on the first argument – the definition of doctor – but another issue her lawyers allegedly raised was the imbalance of power.

The GIO was trying to send him to a psychiatrist and psychologist for a four-hour two-day appointment, which Santone called “completely unfair” and out of reach for most workers.

“We find that when insurance companies organize them, the result is always the same,” he said.

“This type of test is designed to determine someone’s credibility whether they are telling the truth or not. What (insurers) normally do is use it to tell workers that they are faking, that they have the ability or that they are pretending or something like that.

Mr Santone said it was “very rare that a worker could actually get their own psychometric tests in response”.

“It essentially creates that unfair balance where the insurer has all of this unfair medical evidence to try to defeat the claim,” he said.

He said the suspension caused a lot of concern for Ms O’Neill and that she was happy the matter was now resolved.

“She is happy that her payments have been reinstated and that this has eased some financial pressures,” he said.

GIO and Channel 7 have been contacted for comment.

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