The victim of a horrifying bleach attack says an inaccurate ACC report has wrecked his chances of returning to his job at the Northland Regional Council.
The report also contained confidential medical information that should not have been sent to his employer, he says. ACC has since re-written the report and apologised but the NRC is refusing to destroy all copies of the original.
Mike Nager was driving to Whangarei from his home near Kerikeri on June 10 last year when he pulled over for a car flashing its lights behind him, assuming something was wrong with his vehicle.
When he stopped, however, bleach was thrown into his eyes and his face slashed with a knife. His attacker then felled him with a punch to the chest and stole his cellphone and wallet.
Mr Nager had been due in court that morning as the key witness in an Environment Court hearing against two Far North men accused of illegally draining a wetland for swamp kauri.
He returned to work ten days later, after his eyesight returned, but started getting flashbacks when he was re-assigned the ute he was driving at the time of the attack. They were so vivid he could feel the stinging of the bleach and the blade cutting into his face. Mr Nager went on sick leave on October 15 and is now on ACC.
The 45-year-old believed he had been making good progress towards returning to his role as an environmental monitoring officer.
However, he said his employer's attitude changed dramatically on February 4 after ACC sent the council a Stay at Work report which he said was both inaccurate and contained confidential medical information.
ACC agreed it was inaccurate, produced an amended version and contacted the NRC requesting that any copies of the original report be destroyed. The council, however, has kept one copy for its lawyer.
Mr Nager said the NRC had seemed happy with his progress in getting back to work but that changed after the erroneous report.
He had been told his job could be terminated on medical grounds, and that the council was concerned about health and safety of other staff if he returned to his original role.
"It's had a serious impact on my employment. I'm concerned I won't get my job back. I love my job, it's been fantastic apart from that one incident. The places you go, the people you meet, that's what I love."
Mr Nager is now considering his career options. He has lodged a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner over ACC's release of information and the NRC's refusal to destroy it. He has an ACC advocate helping him and last week took his case against the NRC to the Employment Relations Authority.
"I can't believe I'm being treated this way. I didn't ask for this to happen, it's just so wrong."
ACC spokeswoman Stephanie Melville said Mr Nager's original Stay at Work report contained some inaccurate information.
"We have subsequently apologised and actively sought the return of the original report. An amended Stay at Work report, which Mr Nager is happy with, has been sent to his employer. They have agreed to return the original but have retained a copy.
"Mr Nager has lodged a complaint with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner who will be investigating."
The report, however, did not include any confidential medical information, Ms Melville said.