IT worker sues company over ‘fat photo’
A QUEENSLAND IT worker claims he suffered mental trauma after "fat photos" of him were repeatedly shown on a slideshow of staff on a big screen in the company's foyer, and his requests to remove them were allegedly ignored.
Jason Scott Allwood, who maintained and repaired computers for BES IT Systems, yesterday failed in a Supreme Court bid to overturn a decision that he only suffered a minor impairment.
He claimed part of his injury was caused by "his colleagues repeatedly showing his 'fat photos' in 2008/2009, despite his requests that they stop", the court decision noted.
Justice Soraya Ryan dismissed his application for a review of the Medical Assessment Tribunal's decision that he suffered a four per cent injury from comments, events and actions by his colleagues and superiors.
Allwood has not worked since July 2014, the court heard.
A four per cent injury makes him ineligible to seek common law damages, but he has been accepted for claims under WorkCover, the 44-page Supreme Court decision states.
According to an earlier ruling in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) in 2017, Allwood says he was hurt when his colleagues made light of his repeated request that they remove his "fat photos" from a slideshow playing in the company's foyer.
"For the last time, can you make sure the fat photo of me is removed from reception screen before I return. I've asked (a colleague) numerous times and it's fallen on deaf ears. It's offensive and makes me uncomfortable," Mr Allwood asked his boss, according to the IRC decision.
Allwood's colleague did not remove his photo from the slideshow and replied to his email with a photo of an overweight man standing in a plane aisle attempting to take his seat with the caption: "Let's just hope you don't get to sit beside this guy!", the IRC decision says.
Allwood was also offended when his colleague called him a "fat kid on Skittles", which is believed to refer to a type of lolly, the IRC decision says.
Allwood lost 35kg in 2008 after he started exercising to reduce work stress, the Supreme Court decision notes.
He now suffers from an eating disorder and at one point his weight fell to 66kg and he was only eating one meal a day.
Mr Allwood says his mental trauma at work was also caused by finding a child pornography file on a computer he was repairing in 2008 or 2009.
Mr Allwood believed BES IT Systems failed to adequately respond when he asked them to investigate the file and the teacher.
WorkCover accepted Mr Allwood's claim for injury between 2008 and 2014 for PTSD, major depressive disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, and generalised anxiety disorder and a second claim for the exacerbation of his eating disorder and the aggravation of his anxiety and depression between July 2014 and January 2015, the Supreme Court decision states.
WorkCover told Mr Allwood he must go to the Medical Assessment Tribunal because the various doctors he saw over the years could not agree on their diagnoses, how his injuries were caused; his prognosis and his capacity to work.
Mr Allwood declined to comment when approached by The Courier Mail outside court yesterday.
Originally published as IT worker sues company over 'fat photo'