VIC Asked to Have Fitness for Duty Assessment by My Employer

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Shane D

9 October 2014
4 years ago, I injured my right knee in a workplace accident. After several surgeries and physio I was advised by my orthopedic surgeon that my right knee would need a total knee replacement but due to my age (early fifties). It was advisable to put off the surgery until I was older. Pain medication worked, so I was able to return to work and continue my duties. 9 months ago my left knee started becoming more and more painful and I was unable to perform my duties at work. I had however several months of sick leave saved, so after scans an arthroscopy cleanout of my left knee was scheduled and performed and I was off work for approx. 6 months.
My arthroscopic surgeon advised that the injury to my left knee was probably because of over compensation to the injury on my right knee. I am ready to return to work. Have been cleared to return by my Orthopedic Surgeon and my GP but my employer now wants a Fitness-For-Duty Assessment performed by an Occupational Physician. I think this is a ploy to deny my return to my position and terminate my employment altogether. Can they do this? Any advice would be appreciated.

Victoria S

Well-Known Member
9 April 2014
Hi @Shane D,
Your employer is entitled to give a "lawful and reasonable" direction to an employee. This includes the right to direct you to attend a fitness for work assessment, in the context of your current medical condition.

If you're assessed as fit for work and they terminate your employment anyway, you may have an adverse action, unfair dismissal or unlawful termination claim (See the Fair Work "Ending employment" page). But its not unlawful if you’re unable to perform the "inherent requirements" of your job.

Hope that helps.