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Injured workers duties unsuitable: case

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.

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Return to work plan – obtaining the injured worker’s input is vital

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.

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Employer right to direct injured worker to undergo medical assessment

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!

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Possibility of realistic suitable employment was, at best, theoretical – Vic Court

Further to our article “Alternative jobs for injured workers unrealistic” and the practice of “dodgy” rehabbers proposing bizarre “suitable/alternative work” to injured workers, here is another legal case have where a court has found the proposed alternative occupation for an injured worker to be unrealistic.

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Alternative jobs for injured workers unrealistic – weekly pay restored

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.

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IMEs are not writing reports outlining job restrictions & reasonable adjustments requirements

Doctors’ reports—particularly IME reports— on injured workers are all too often painfully lacking any understanding of the injured worker’s workplace or the inherent requirements of injured workers’ job/position. This often results in the assessment of a “fit-for-work” injured worker, without, for example, any consideration(s) to restrictions or reasonable adjustments that should be made in the workplace.

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It’s not acceptable to treat injured workers as faulty parts that can be replaced

It’s the phone call (or the letter) that any injured worker dreads and it states something like this:

“We hoped (yeah, right!) you would recover enough from your injury to go back to your (pre-injury or old) job, but, eh look, you’ve been away on extended of leave without pay for over 2  months now.”

“You’ have no more sick leave and have also exhausted your annual leave.”

“We can’t keep you,  We can’t keep your job open forever, I’m sorry (yeah right!)  but we’re going to have to let you go and replace you. Surely you understand that?”

It happens all the time! And many injured workers are pressured into accepting this situation ; others are (falsely) led to believe that their employer is within their rights to, well yes, replace them.

Guess what? It’s not on and it is illegal to terminate an injured or ill worker who is on temporary leave to recover.

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