Workers' compensation is a support system provided to Australian employees to help out when accidents happen at work or as a result of work. No one should have to struggle financially whilst also focusing on their recovery – especially if the accident was not their fault. 

Unfortunately, some job seekers worry that a previous workers' compensation claim could create a stigma or cause challenges in obtaining future work. This should never be the case, but if it is, there are laws in place to protect you. Let’s delve into the details.

Facing Discrimination after Workers’ Comp

Rest assured that claiming workers’ compensation should not affect your future employment opportunities. It has happened before, however, which is why there are strict laws in place to protect you against discriminatory employers. 

Illegal Discrimination

Australian law protects workers from discrimination based on previous work injuries or having made a workers' compensation claim. Employers cannot refuse employment or treat you unfairly due to past claims.

"Blacklisting" Practices

Companies in some industries have historically used informal blacklists to track workers deemed 'claims risks'. This practice is illegal, and any evidence of this kind of discrimination against you warrants speaking to your Union or contacting a lawyer.

Potential Hesitations & Honesty

Some employers may have underlying concerns about past injury impacting your present ability to perform a new job or fearing that you are 'prone to making claims'. Addressing these tactfully is always preferred to hiding past issues – and the law can protect you if your honesty is met with any sort of illegal discrimination.

Key Rights You Have

When applying, you typically are not legally required to disclose claims on previous jobs unless that injury's impact might directly compromise your safe handling of specific job duties in the new role.

If asked about injuries or the like in interviews or medical checks, focus on your abilities and how you have successfully managed recovery to return to the workforce.

You have the right to communicate with potential employers requesting reasonable work adjustments needed due to a past injury to aid your work success – but they should not assume these without you proactively explaining them.

Important Considerations

When seeking a new employment opportunity, keep the following notes in mind to maximise your chance of success. 

  • Honesty Is (Usually) Best: If a pre-employment health check or specific questioning leads to needing to disclose past claims, being upfront often yields better results than being untruthful and then finding out later.
  • Job Fitness: Focusing on demonstrating present fitness for the tasks within a new role minimizes bias. Recent supportive medical updates for potential employers are useful here.
  • Severity of Past Claim: A simple sprain is likely less concerning for an employer than a complex long-term impairment claim. This factors into how openly you address matters.
  • Focus on Strengths & Recovery: Frame your work injury experience as demonstrating resiliency and commitment to return to work while effectively managing a health challenge.
  • Get Updated Medical Assessments: Obtain a report detailing your current functional capabilities if relevant to address possible employer doubts.
  • Seek Advocacy Services: Organizations often help job seekers with specific challenges, like a former injury, in approaching the job market. Your rehabilitation provider connected to your claim might help if relevant.

Where to Seek Support

  • Fair Work Ombudsman: Offers protections and can advise on unlawful workplace practices: (
  • Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland: ( handles allegations of unfair treatment
  • Unions or Legal Aid: Can assist in situations of evident discrimination.

Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert car accident lawyers. We can explain your options to road accident injury claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

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Last updated:

April 4, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.

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