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WA Employment Law - What are Employer's Obligations in Assisting Injured Employees?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Jon exmouth, 28 May 2016.

  1. Jon exmouth

    Jon exmouth Member

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    It was a non-work related injury and I was not able to work my 12-hour shifts or for consecutive days. My work changed my role but not enough to suit my injuries as the doctor had stated that sedentary work would best for my recovery.

    Whilst at work, I aggravated my injury and suffered more pain. Work immediately changed my role for 2 weeks to an sedentary job to accommodate my work related injury. After two weeks had passed, they signed off on my injury as a strain and required me to go back to physical labor. Whilst most of my work was reasonable and manageable, there were tasks there that would aggravate my condition.

    I tried to find ways of completing these tasks as I was worried that they would terminate my employment. I would require 1 to two days a week off as the pain would become unbearable and I was struggling with sleeping properly. Work insisted that I attend work every day but I stated that it was unsafe for me to drive to work on medication and that their policies were the same that I can not work under the influence prescribed drugs.

    This was after 2 near misses on the road returning from work that I decided it was not worth the risk when suffering server pain. 18 months of work gave me 3 months off, without pay to improve my health and then required me to return fit for my occupation. I was unable to obtain work because it would end my employment contract.

    After 3 long months, they terminated my employment stating I was not fit for my occupation and their doctor had informed them I was unlikely to be able to return to my role for an unknown time.

    Should my employer have found me suitable work as requested by my doctor to help with my recovery at the start? And what obligations under employment law does the employer have to assist with return to work policies?
     
  2. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jon,

    If you have sustained a on work related injury - (i.e. one that didn't arise in the course of your employment) your employer is required to give appropriate support and assistance and ensure you can return safely to work as soon as possible. They also must ensure you are not disciminated against or treated unfavourably because of your injury.

    If you have a pre-existing non-work related injury and you return to work and your work exacerbates your condition, then it can be viewed as work-related and could later be claimable on workers compensation.
     
  3. Jon exmouth

    Jon exmouth Member

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    Hi Victoria, thanks for your information. Would this apply even if i have not returned to work in full capacity? And how long do I have to claim before a time limitation would apply?
     
  4. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    Yes as long as you were at work, doesn't matter that you were not working in full capacity you would most likely be covered by WorkCover. You will need to prove however that your existing condition (which arose as a result of the non work related injury) was exacerbated by an incident at work. This would include any incident report at work - or notification to your employer of that incident, any doctor's or medical reports which evidence the exacerbation etc. I believe in WA, you need to lodge a Workers Compensation claim within 6 months of the injury (that would be the injury that occurred at work to exacerbate your existing condition).
     

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