Only recently this issue was addressed by this blog— Bosses are intruding on workcover doctors visits.
At this stage, unions were becoming concerned with employers demanding they attend medical appointments with injured employees and participating in discussions with employers concerning employees conditions. The answer is now final. These employers invasion of injured employees privacy has now been published.
This emerging practice has now been addressed by The Fair Work Ombusman.
Taken from the following article from OHS reps Safety Net Journal Issue 247 – SafetyNet 247 Thu 11 Oct 2012
FW Ombudsman: employers have no right to attend employee medical visits
Last week the ACTU, the VTHC and affiliates raised the growing problem of some employers insisting that they attend medical appointments with their employees. The Fair Work Ombudsman has responded by saying that employers have no reason to do so, unless invited by the employee. The Ombudsman says it ‘does not condone or support this behaviour’.
‘While an employer may request evidence that would substantiate the reason for an employee’s entitlement to personal/carer leave, a medical certificate or statutory declaration is generally considered an acceptable form of evidence. The Fair Work Ombudsman does not consider that it is reasonable for an employer to seek to attend a medical appointment with the employee for this purpose and views this as a breach of the employee’s privacy.’ Further, in terms of ‘evidence’ the Ombudsman’s site states: ‘The employee only needs to provide evidence that they were not fit to work because they were sick or injured. The cause and nature of their absence is not necessary, except in unusual or exceptional circumstances.’
The Fair Work Ombudsman does not condone or support this behaviour and sees no reason why an employer should seek to attend a private and confidential appointment with an employee, unless specifically requested to do so by the employee.
The laws around sick leave and personal leave are quite simple. While an employer may request evidence that would substantiate the reason for an employee’s entitlement to personal/carer leave, a medical certificate or statutory declaration is generally considered an acceptable form of evidence.