Professor Goodman-Delahunty said that conducting a psychological assessment of a complainant in a workplace discrimination case is a challenging task, and the use of the five-stage model she and Dr Foote have developed provides a best-practice method for a more complex examination of the complainant to determine the cause of complaint.
“A key feature of the five-stage model is that it brings together knowledge from academic research, psychological practice, and the law through hypothesis testing,” Professor Goodman-Delahunty said.
“First, the evaluator draws upon knowledge of the psychological, forensic psychological, and legal literatures, and upon his or her own experience with forensic cases.
“Then by looking at the contributions of events occurring before, during and after the alleged harassment, the full impact of harassment and discrimination is exposed, or alternative causes can be identified or suggested.
“The five stage model presents evaluators with a step-by-step method to evaluate a claimant’s symptoms, and to prepare a defensible report which meets court requirements. This model can be applied by experts for the plaintiff or defence and neutral assessors, including the court.
“We propose that the model enables the assessor to use findings from psychological, forensic and legal research in forming hypotheses about the cause of harm.
“The model is not limited to workplace discrimination and can be applied to any psychological assessment to determine causation and credibility in cases of civil injury or victim compensation claims.”
Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Professor Jane Goodman-Delahunty.
Dr William E. Foote is president-elect of the American Psychological-Law Society.
Evaluation for workplace discrimination and harassment contains over 500 scholarly references and is one of a comprehensive series of about 20 handbooks published by Oxford University Press on ‘Best practices in forensic mental health assessment.’ It is a sequel to the authors’ book Evaluating sexual harassment: Psychological, social and legal considerations in forensic evaluations (2005), published by the American Psychological Association, that won an award from the American Psychology-Law Society.