Seven ordered to compensate MKR contestant

Seven ordered by Personal Injury Commission of NSW to pay a former reality contestant more than $22,000 a year.

The Personal Injury Commission of NSW has ordered Seven to pay a former My Kitchen Rules contestant more than $22,000 a year in ongoing compensation.

Piper O’Neill (pictured right), who appeared on the 2019 season claims she was left unable to work due to “psychological injury.” ‘Sex scandal’ storylines portrayed her as having a secret relationship with rival contestant Victor Aeberli, but her teammate Veronica Cristovao said cast already knew about the relationship.

News.com.au reports in Ms. O’Neill’s workers compensation claim she alleged sustained psychological injury over the course of her role in the show “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 disputed whether she was classified as a worker, whether she had sustained the injury and become incapacitated as alleged, and if so whether her employment was a substantial contributing factor. It also argued she had not filed her claim for compensation within the time-frame required under the law, and 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”, according to a published decision from the Personal Injury Commission of NSW.

Under a “Contestant Agreement”, Seven paid Ms O’Neill $500 per week to appear on the show, plus an additional $500 allowance meal ingredients and decor. A separate meal allowance of $500 per week was also given when she was required to travel to other cities.

Seven was ordered to pay Ms O’Neill $6175 for 13 weeks filming, continuing at $425 per week from March 26, 2019 onwards, or $22,100 per year.

“We refuse any claims in this case,” a Seven spokesman said. “There has been no settlement or lump sum payment. As this matter is ongoing, we have no further comment.”

In 2019 former House Rules contestant Nicole Prince won a landmark workers’ compensation case against Seven after being portrayed as a “villain” in the 2017 season.

It was the first time a ruling had decreed participants as being employees, not as competition entrants.