aworkcovervictimsdiary received a shocking email from an injured worker last night, whose employer (a large public hospital) insisted that the injured worker’s “return to work coordinator” be allowed to attend the injured worker’s medical appointment with his specialist orthopedic surgeon, in order “to clarify” the injured worker’s “current fitness for work” status with the surgeon!
When the injured worker refused his return to work coordinator to attend his private (really) medical appointment, he was told that this would be seen as unreasonably refusing cooperation with a return to work plan and that he may lose his entitlements (implying that he could well be terminated). The horrified injured worker subsequently contacted us and asked us what his rights were.
Employers including RTW Coordinators are not allowed to attend doctors appointments
In September 2012, in a media release, The Fair Work Ombudsman condemned the behaviour of those employers who insist on attending the private and confidential medical appointments of their injured or ill workers.It is concerned that such intrusive conduct is a breach of employee privacy, and may have ‘negative consequences’ for the workplace culture of a business.
The ACTU alerted Fairfax Media to complaints by members that some employers have been seeking to seriously intrude on their private medical appointments and, in some cases, forcing them to attend company doctors or pressuring medical practitioners to alter medical certificates and return-to-work (RTW) plans. How disgusting!
These allegations have prompted the Ombudsman to issue the statement clarifying its stance on employee medical conferences:
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.
Processes to deal with fraudulence
Bosses must only request reasonable evidence
When an employer questions or intrudes into the nature of an employee’s illness or injury, it may have negative consequences for the workplace culture of a business.’