Why TV contestant’s workers compensation victory against Channel 7 could ‘open the door to more’
In a landmark ruling by the NSW Workers Compensation Commission, a former contestant on Channel Seven’s renovation show House Rules has won her case against the network over the psychological injury she developed after her stint on the program.
Nicole Prince, who appeared on the 2017 season of the reality show, claimed the network encouraged other contestants to bully her on set and deliberately portrayed her as a “villain” and in a “negative light”.
Prior to appearing on the show Prince, like most reality show contestants, signed a contract that specifically stated she was not an employee of the network. However, the NSW Workers Compensation Commission determined that given her commitments on the show and wages paid, Prince was legally an employee during the period when she developed the injury, which is why the Commission ruled in her favour.
According to Law Partners Principal Shane Butcher, the decision can have huge ramifications for the reality television industry in Australia going forward.
“This decision could very well open the door so to speak as the networks could now find themselves vulnerable to a host of potential workers compensation claims despite having the contestants sign a non-employment contract,” Shane Butcher said.
“Going forward these networks and production companies will likely need to put measures in place and take responsibility for the welfare of their contestants – as any other employer needs to do for their employee in any other workplace.”
In her statement to the Commission, Prince claimed that the harassment and bullying she received from fellow contestants on set was the direct result of the producers selectively airing only the negative comments she made towards fellow contestants and none of the positive.
“We did not understand where all of it was coming from. We discovered months later that the ‘reveal footage’ that was shown to the other teams only contained our negative comments about their renovation work and none of the positive things that we had said,” Prince explained.
“They later told us that they had felt hurt and upset that we didn’t seem to care how hard they had worked, and they thought we were the nastiest people on the planet.”
If you’ve been injured in a work-related accident or believe you’ve suffered a psychological injury at work and want to know if you’re entitled to injury compensation, give us a call and speak to one of our specialist workers compensation lawyers for free advice today.