Former Employee Wins Lawsuit Against Cairns Regional Council

Winning millions in damages

Article heading image for Former Employee Wins Lawsuit Against Cairns Regional Council

Former Regional Council employee Paul Ackers is successful in his lawsuit against the Cairns Regional Council.

Mr Ackers won $1.1million in damages through the lawsuit against the organisation after suffering psychiatric injury.

Mr Ackers claimed he suffered from a psychiatric injury as a result of the excessive hours he was forced to work due to the unit being understaffed.

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He then claimed he was targeted by the Regional Council via a performance management plan.

The case was first launched by Mr Ackers back in November of 2018 alongside a request for $1.3 million in damages he says was caused by the organisation’s negligence.

Mr Ackers’ lawsuit only went trial in February of this year and lasted 18 days across various dates from February to July.

Justice Jim Henry eventually awarded Mr Ackers a total of $1,099,132.69 in damages.

The prosecution argued that Mr Ackers now suffers from a stutter along with a tremor in his forearm due to severe anxiety, depression and PTSD he suffered on the job.

The trauma is believed to have occurred between 2014 and 2015 after the 51-year-old received two mandates “to fix the staff and fix the system” by former CFO John Andrejic.

An electronic payroll system was being utilised at the time which required large amounts of manual input from the payroll team to ensure pay was processed in a timely fashion every fortnight.

Mr Ackers successfully altered this system but received push back from staff who were unhappy with the changes.

This resulted in a massive exodus of staff which put massive pressure on Ackers and left the department short staffed for an extended period of time.

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Georgie Marr

16 December 2021

Article by:

Georgie Marr

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