Can you lodge a workcover claim after disciplinary action


Diary of a Workcover Victim receives many questions and we regularly try and answer your most frequently asked questions on workcover related issues that you may face. In this article, we briefly discuss whether a worker can make a workcover claim following disciplinary action at work.

Can you lodge a workcover claim after disciplinary action


A frequent example of the issue at hand arising at work

I have recently been (falsely or not)  accused by my employer of ‘(gross) misconduct’, including alleged bullying and refusal to undertake work/follow work instructions by my supervisor. I was summoned into a meeting (on my own) with the supervisor and his boss (my employer) and was advised that I now must show cause as to why I should not be sacked.

I left the office meeting in tears and totally bewildered and went to my doctor. He gave me a medical certificate stating I cannot return to my work place (or to work) for at least a fortnight. The reason on the medical certificates states ‘stress and anxiety’.

My question is: can I now make a workcover claim?

The question: Can a worker make a workers compensation claim for stress or related psychological condition (stress claim) following a/ or as a result of disciplinary action?

The answer: probably not! Unless the action was taken in an unreasonable manner.

Let’s assume the worker is based in Victoria (*)

In Victoria there is a provision in s82 (section 82 )of the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (VIC) covering “reasonable action by management”:


As you can see, it states that compensation is not payable in respect of an injury consisting of an illness or disorder of the mind caused by stress if it is the result of ‘reasonable action taken in a reasonable manner by the employer’.

This “reasonable action”  includes action such as a transfer, demotion, redeployment, retrenchment, dismissal or disciplinary action.

(*)Similar workcover claim exclusions are in place in other states and territories.

The “reasonable administrative action” defence is extremely heavily relied upon by workcover insurers and employers to reject “stress” claims.


More articles about stress claims (and reasonable action) can be found under our Tag ‘stress claims‘ and ‘bullying and stress