Ex-flight attendant’s claim denied

The Employment Relations Court ruled that a former Air Pacific (now Fiji Airways) flight attendant could not claim for workmen’s compensation after suffering a stroke because her application was time barred.

She had suffered a stroke at home while on annual leave on February 17, 2020.

In her October 22, 2021 ruling, Justice Anjala Wati said the employer would only be able to know that the worker was treating the accident as one arising out of and in the course of employment when it received proper notice under section 13 of the Workmen’s Compensation Act (WCA).

“I find that the first limb of s.13 was not complied with by the worker,” Justice Wati said.

“To bring the claim for compensation within 12 months of the occurrence of the accident, the worker did not comply with this time period. “The employee cannot rely on s.13(b) (ii) proviso that due to the employer’s failure to act under s.14(1), she can now bring a claim under the WCA within 6 years.

“The employer cannot be expected to act under s.14(1) if it is not aware of the accident arising out of and in the course of the employment.

“If it was aware, then it would have had to act under s.14(1) within the stipulated timeframe and the permanent secretary then would have had to bring the claim within 12 months of the accident.

“The employee cannot rely on s.14(1) in this instance as she did not fulfill her obligations for s.14(1) obligation on the employer to kick in.

“I find that the worker had failed to comply with s.13 of the WCA and that the claim cannot be maintained.

“I will not order any costs against the worker, given her health constraints and also given the fact that she is now unemployed.”

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