Further to R’s recent comment, here is a little more information about pre-existing injuries/illnesses and job interviews. Unfortunately, many injured workers know how hard it can be to find a new job after having suffered a workplace injury/illness. It actually feels like we are labelled with a sticker on our foreheads stating “contagious” or something like that! Really! A prospective employer can seek information during an interview provided the questions are relevant to the ability of the job applicant to perform the inherent requirements of the job.
We have written about it many times (see for example “Mitigation of Damages“), but perhaps it’s time to re-highlight that an injured person who makes a claim for compensation is actually required to take all reasonable steps to mitigate his or her loss. So what does this actually mean?
We have received a reply to our previous anonymously submitted post, by a very generous lawyer!
Hi there. I’m a lawyer practicing in WA.
It seems to me a highly intrusive and potentially discriminatory question to ask a job seeker if they have ever been on Workers Compensation.
In my view employers (even including State Govt employers) who ask this questions as a matter for course are exceeding the limits of what should be considered an acceptable question, yet this question has become almost standard. I would very much like to see this issue eliminated from all job application forms as being potentially and (if it can be proven) actually discriminatory.
The following article was anonymously submitted via our “submit a guest post” section, for which we are extremely grateful. The more injured workers contribute the better!
Injured workers try to get back to work as soon as they can, however they often face hurdles from prospective employers who see them as a risk, indeed.
ccording to its chief executive, getting rid of adversarial relationships that undermine an injured worker’s ability to return to work from the workcover system remains a “big challenge” for the NSW workers’ comp regulator.
The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) is focusing on influencing behaviour and culture in the workers’ comp “ecosystem” instead of on compliance and legislation alone, with the latter being “necessary but not sufficient” to achieve more desirable results, according to Carmel Donnelly.
Speaking at the recent 19th annual National Workers’ Compensation Summit in Sydney , she says a “challenging and confronting fact” in injury management is that “people who access injury compensation schemes may in fact have worse outcomes than if they haven’t been entitled to compensation”.
In the following 2015 NSW legal case, a workcover insurer (and its client, the employer) tried very hard ( but failed) to appeal a decision which required to compensate an injured worker who resigned from his job. The NSW Court of Appeal found that the injured worker’s duties as prescribed by the worker’s injury management plan were not suitable.
We have blogged about return to work plans numerous times, but a general summary may be of use. The essence of this post is that return to work plans that are staged and developed together with the injured worker give injured workers a greater chance to return to work, quickly and safely and in a durable manner. This article also covers the VIC return to work dispute process (dedicated to ‘Porsche47’).
Return to work plans with set stages, developed together with the injured worker’s input and their treating doctor offer employers and injured workers the best chance of a timely and sustainable return to work.
One of the most frustrating things about workplace injuries is that injured workers’ employers’ interests (and those of the insurer of course) are very often at odds with the injured worker’s interests. A common example, your employer would like you to return to work as soon as possible. If you’re injured, it’s in your best interest to wait until you are healed and physically (or mentally) ready to handle your job demands. Or else, you could get injured again or never make a full recovery.
What to do when your treating doctor says you can work or return to work but you know or think you can’t, or you simply disagree? This is a good question and one we receive countless time from injured workers.