Nuclear engineer loses compensation bid

May 30, 2014 – 7:56PM

nuclear engineer who alleges he was marginalised by his managers and colleagues and who missed out on being sent to work at Fukushima has failed in his attempt to have a rejected compensation claim overturned.

Sergei Zimin claimed he had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression because of how he was treated while working at the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal noted Comcare’s original rejection conceded that if Dr Zimin’s adjustment disorder existed it was substantially caused by events at ARPANSA.

These included failure to be promoted to executive level two, inability to receive permission to work from home and exclusion from the project team going to Fukushima.

Comcare had contended Dr Zimin was not suffering from a mental ailment when he made his unsuccessful claim in February 2012.

Comcare maintained any potential mental ailment suffered by the engineer would have been the result of a ”reasonable administrative action taken in a reasonable manner” and therefore in line with the relevant workplace laws.

The tribunal affirmed the decision this week.

Dr Zimin started work at ARPANSA in 1999. He has claimed in court that in 2003 he was pressured to compromise his professionalism by modifying a critical safety audit of a nuclear reactor.

This, along with the ”mysterious disappearance” of a work colleague, made him anxious and distressed.

During this period he was having trouble sleeping and after seeing medical experts, he lodged a compensation claim that was later withdrawn when he secured a job with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He described his seven years in Vienna as a ”very happy time” and commanded respect among his colleagues.

He returned to Australia to work for ARPANSA in 2011 but alleges he soon found the working environment had not changed.

The tribunal’s decision notes he was too afraid to go to work.

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

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