Channel 7 has been ordered to pay an ex My Kitchen Rules (MKR) contestant $22,100 a year in compensation as a result of the “psychological injury” that she suffered while appearing on the show back in 2019, news.com.au reports.
Piper O’Neill starred on the competitive cooking show alongside her best friend Veronica Cristovao two years back when she became embroiled in public scandal over a cheating storyline as she started dating rival contestant, Victor Aeberli.
The American-born model and Mrs Australia International 2015 winner was separated from her husband and father of her children, Jordan Green, when she began the consensual affair with her rival co-star.
In her workers compensation claim, she alleged that she had sustained psychological injury from the public scandal “due to vilification and bullying from producers and the network”.
She alleged that this involved “over 40-hour work weeks, control over her phone, distortions of her actions and words after editing, victimisation, bullying and harassment and unfair treatment and adverse interactions with other workers, producers and staff”.
Seven has hit back at the multitude of allegations made, including the claim that she was classified as a worker for the series and whether she had sustained any injury and became unable to work as a result.
In Seven’s response, they questioned whether “the events alleged by the applicant were not real events or did not actually occur and that the applicant did not suffer a psychological injury or that she had misperceived events.”
The matter was first brought to court via a telephone conference in December 2020, where the commission was informed that Piper had agreed to an independent medical examination arranged by the broadcaster. During a second phone conference in February, both parties said that “the matter was settled,” barring the matter of weekly compensation.
MKR contestants received $500 per week for appearing on the show and another $500 as an allowance to buy food for the meals that we saw on-screen.
She argued that Seven’s summation that the aforementioned meal allowance should be part of her remuneration was “arbitrary and did not alter the substantive reality that the applicant was remunerated in the sum of $1000 per week for each week that she worked for the respondent.”
Commission member Carolyn Rimmer later rubbished Seven’s compensation claim.
“The applicant’s claim was made on the basis that she has no current work capacity,” Ms Rimmer wrote.
“The issue of work capacity was not in dispute. However, there is a dispute as to PIAWE and as to whether the payment of $500 per week by the respondent in addition to the ‘fee’ of $500 per week as an allowance which should be included in her ordinary earnings.”
She ordered that Seven must now pay the contestant a weekly compensation of $475 for the 13 weeks between December 24, 28 and March 25, 2019, continuing at $425 per week from March 26, 2019 onwards, or $22,100 per year.
It is not clear if the annual compensation is to be paid for a certain amount of time or indefinitely.