46. The respondent sought to establish that any psychological injury was wholly or predominately caused by the reasonable actions in respect to performance appraisal.
In that case, his Honour determined that the circumstances of the claim were more properly categorised as “a lawful direction by the employer of the manner in which workers were to carry out their duties” such that section 11A was not applicable.
In Bottle Neilson CCJ said:
“The first decision is that of Geraghty J in Irwin v Director General of School Education (unreported, 18 June 1998, No 14068 of 1997) (Irwin). There his Honour said this:
“It is important to consider the meaning of the term performance appraisal.
The respondent submitted that it should receive its ordinary street meaning, that it is not aterm of art. But it seems to me to be a rather precious and precise expression. It is framed within the context of other processes, of crisis points in a worker's life.
It is placed in the context of processes like "transfer", "demotion", "promotion", "retrenchment or dismissal" of workers. It must be seen in this context.
Furthermore, performance appraisal in any work situation is a process, an established process involving various steps. Perhaps it will involve the completion of questionnaires and forms.
It requires discussion between various parties about performance, written appraisal, sometime even self-appraisal, maybe even a score.
It is a process in which parties are engaged and knowingly engaged.
Performance appraisal is not a vague, continuing, informal process which begins on the first day of employment although, in a sense, we can say that we are continually under scrutiny and being appraised in somewhat the same way as students in a classroom are being scrutinised on a day to day basis.
But "performance appraisal" is somewhat like an examination, not a continuing assessment.
Performance appraisal is more like a limited, discrete process, with a recognised procedure through which the parties move in order to establish an employee's efficiency and performance.”