Many Victorian injured workers have asked us what will happen to their job after they have been on weekly payments for a period of 52 weeks (1 year), and, most importantly, will they be sacked. Workcover Vic legistlation states that your boss (your employer) must offer you suitable work for the first 52 weeks after your work injury.
Whether or not you have to disclose a previous workcover claim to a new employer is yet another question we often receive. In essence, if a potential new employer does not ask you specifically if you have previously had any workcover claims or have previously suffered any injuries, you are not strictly obliged to disclose this to them.
Fact: if you have suffered a workplace injury or illness it can be extremely difficult if not impossible to find new employment because injured workers “must” disclose all pre-existing medical conditions if the employer requests it. Is being honest about your pre-existing injury/illness the only way to go?
Injured and recovering workers who fail to supply medical information requested by their employers about their ability to perform their job can be sacked. Two separate and fairly recent legal cases highlight that injured workers have to allow their employer(s) to obtain medical information from their treating doctor(s), if they request so.
The following Fair Work Commission legal decision has ruled that employers are allowed to seek further clarification where medical clearances provided by (injured) workers are general in nature, or where there are genuine concerns that there is a risk to health and safety if the (injured) worker returns to work. In other words, employers can send you to attend a medical assessment, even with a company doctor!
The following legal cases highlights again that a return to work (RTW) plan must be made in consultation with the injured worker and his/her doctor. In other words, if no consultation was/is made a RTW refusal is valid.
As of 1 Jan 2014, the Fair Work Commission can deal with applications for an order to stop workplace bullying but only if a worker is bullied while they are (still) at work. This is obviously very problematic if a bullied worker has been sacked after lodging their bullying claim, as shown in the following recent legal case.
Did you know that in NSW an injured worker who has been terminated because of his injury can seek reinstatement when the (injured) worker becomes fit for employment (even with some restrictions) within 2 years of the termination.
Further to some recent comments about the widespread practice of “dodgy” rehabbers proposing bizarre “suitable/alternative work” to injured workers, courts have found that some (many!) proposed alternative occupations for injured workers are simply unrealistic.
The new (2013) workcover QLD laws which deny employment rights to workers who give misleading information about their medical history in job applications, will lead to “employment discrimination” against physically impaired or injured workers, says a Queensland judge.