Many injured workers are concerned that lodging a workers compensation claim may impact their future employment prospects. But should they really be concerned?
Understandably, prospective employers may be hesitant to employ someone who has previously made a WorkCover claim as the pre-existing injury poses an increased risk of liability. A new employer may inherit liability for even slight aggravations of a pre-existing injury.
Having said that, employers are generally not allowed to discriminate against someone who has previously made a WorkCover claim.
An employer will contravene Federal Fair Work legislation if they refuse to hire a worker because they have previously exercised some workplace right, such as lodgment of a WorkCover claim.
However, an employer will be within their rights to refuse to hire a worker if their pre-existing injury prevents them from performing the inherent tasks of the job. For example, if a job applicant had a prior lower back injury for which they lodged a WorkCover claim, a prospective employer may refuse to hire them if the job involves a lot of heavy lifting or manual labour. If however, the job applicant had made a full recovery from the injury and it no longer limited their ability to perform the heavy lifting or manual labour, the employer cannot refuse to hire them, simply because they previously made a claim.
A prospective employer can request that you disclose all pre-existing injuries or medical conditions that you might reasonably expect could be aggravated by the job duties.
Employers must request this information be provided in writing. They must also advise job applicants that if they knowingly supply false or misleading information they may be denied the right to claim workers compensation if their undisclosed injury is aggravated as a result of the employment.
If requested in writing, you must disclose in writing to a prospective employer all pre-existing injuries or conditions you are aware of which you might reasonably expect could be aggravated by the job duties.
If you fail to do so, you may lose the right to claim workers compensation payments and damages if the undisclosed injury is aggravated as a result of the employment.
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