A reality TV contestant that had previously appeared on Channel 7’s House Rules has won a worker’s compensation claim for the psychological injuries she sustained during the course of her employment.
The contestant applied for the home renovation program with another contender, Fiona, in September 2016 and agreed to be paid the sum of $500 per week, with a further allowance of $500 for her time as a contestant on the show.
In November 2016, the contestant was informed that the first renovations would take place at her house and was told to stay in a motel that contained mould – which the contestant had an anaphylactic allergy to.
Following the motel incident, the contestant said she felt “harassed and bullied” during the filming.
“During every camera interview both myself and Fiona complained on film that we were being subjected to isolation, bullying and harassment by the other teams.
“On one occasion, I witnessed Fiona be physically assaulted. When I complained to Channel Seven, I was threatened that Fiona and I would be portrayed negatively,” the contestant said.
In April 2017, an episode went to air that portrayed the contestant and Fiona in a negative light and as bullies by Channel 7, and resulted in a barrage of online abuse including threats of physical assault.
“Since our episode aired I have not been able to obtain work and have been informed this was due to how I was portrayed as a bully. I am no longer offered interviews, which before my work injury I did not have any trouble obtaining,” the contestant said.
The reality TV contestant also added that after the episode aired she was drinking more alcohol and wanted to kill herself.
As a result, the contestant claimed she suffered psychological injuries however Channel 7 argued she was not a “worker” and therefore not able to claim compensation.
The network also disputed that if she did have an injury, then the program did not contribute to it.
The NSW Workers Compensation Commission found that the contestant was in fact employed by Channel 7.
The network has been ordered, amongst othe to pay the contestant “reasonable necessary medical and treatment expenses upon production of accounts, receipts and/or Medicare Australia Notice of Charge”.