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.
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.
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.
An employer (Centrelink) ignored a bullied worker’s “clear signs of distress”, and then had the audacity to tell the psychologically injured worker to return to a role where her managers bullied her. Centrelink was found liable for the worker’s psychological injury.