Former Westpac employee sues bank

A FORMER Westpac employee now suing the bank after suffering a back injury says pain now dictates her life.

Tara Kim Andrews was one of Westpac's highest performing workers in Queensland until a work chair crumpled beneath her in 2006.

On the witness stand in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton yesterday, Ms Andrews said despite suffering from bipolar disorder, systemic lupus and a past alcohol addiction, she had hoped to become a home finance manager or financial adviser at Westpac. She said she even turned down a job offer at another bank.

Ms Andrews said she loved her job at Westpac's Gladstone branch and wanted to work at the bank after the incident.

During his closing argument on the last day of the civil trial yesterday, the barrister representing Westpac, Wallace Campbell, said Ms Andrews had kept two secrets, which emerged during the trial.

Mr Campbell called Ms Andrews "manipulative", saying she should have disclosed a back injury she suffered while on a road trip to the Gemfields, which she later told a doctor "wrecked her back".

Mr Campbell said she also should have revealed a visit she made to another doctor regarding her back.

"(It was) a short-term soft tissue injury," Mr Campbell said. "It's an exaggeration, an attempt to gain compensation."

He said she had told a doctor she was not enjoying work before the accident.

The barrister representing Ms Andrews, Graeme Crow, said while there was no radiological proof of a back injury, she had undergone ongoing physiotherapy, back injections, acupuncture and attended a pain clinic.

"The biggest of the big four, Australia's largest corporation, Australia's biggest bank ... argues she's a fraud," he said.

Yesterday was the last day of the civil trial in the Supreme Court at Rockhampton.

It is unknown how much Ms Andrews is seeking in compensation.

Justice Duncan McMeekin said it was clear Ms Andrews had "long-standing psychological issues" going back many years.

The judge reserved his decision until a later date.



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