|12 February 2019
Charge 1 – Section 572A Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (the Act) – Use of a workers' compensation document for a purpose relating to the employment of a worker
|Townsville Magistrates Court
|Employer using a workers' compensation document for a purpose relating to the employment of a worker
The worker sustained a work-related back injury. The insurer accepted the claim as an aggravation of an underlying condition and the claim was eventually closed on the basis that any ongoing need for treatment was in relation to a pre-existing condition.
The employer subsequently wrote to the worker, advising that in order to understand the worker's capacity to safely carry out their work duties, they would be seeking the opinion of a medical specialist and then determine how that would impact on the worker's future employment with the employer.
The employer sought the opinion of a specialist after providing them with various documents, including a medical certificate and return to work plans. Following receipt of the specialist's report, the employer advised the worker that they were unable to allow them to return to work at that time.
The documents provided by the employer to the specialist were workers' compensation documents. The purpose of providing these documents to the specialist was to inform their assessment of fitness for work, and thus was a purpose relating to the worker's employment, in breach of s572A of the Act.
A complaint and summons was filed with the Townsville Magistrates Court charging the employer with using workers' compensation documents for the primary purpose of determining whether the employment of the worker was to continue. A plea of guilty was indicated without the matter being set down for trial.
The Magistrate fined the employer $7,500.
|Common Law rights extinguished?
|Consideration for Prevention