It should come as no surprise that at times injured workers who are considering compensation abandon the plan in fear that they may lose their job. In this podcast, Associate Tim Driscoll explains the legal recourse that may be available to injured workers who face this predicament.
Dan: It goes without saying that if you’ve been injured at work, you have enough on your plate dealing with the injury, let alone worrying about what will happen to your employment if you seek compensation for your injury. In other words, will you potentially be sacked as a result? Well, to find out what your legal rights are in this respect, I’m with Tim Driscoll, a personal injury law expert at Beilby Poulden Costello. Tim, you must hear this question asked a lot.
Tim: Absolutely. Apart from the benefits which are payable under the workers compensation scheme, the question of what rights an injured worker has in relation to their ongoing employment is something that worries many a worker in this kind of situation.
Dan: So Tim, for an injured worker that contacts you, who is concerned about losing their job if they make a claim, what do you say to them?
Tim: Well, we ordinarily say to them that they have some protections, which are provided for within the workers’ compensation legislation. Those rights depend upon what their capacity for work is. For example, if a person makes a claim for workers’ compensation, they have a protection under the legislation for the first six months from the date in which they have been certified as being unfit for work. In that period, their employer cannot terminate their employment due to their work related disabilities.
Dan: So going forward, if it was a case that somebody was put off work six months later, does that impact their compensation claim at all?
Tim: Not really. What the legislation tries to do is try too, I suppose, have a comfort with the fair work legislation, which provides for some protections in relation to unfair dismissal. In relation to the legislation and benefits situation, we have a protection there that the insurance company must take into consideration the availability of work and capacity in relation to the question of compensation. If a worker is, for example, certified as being unfit for their work and the employer cannot find them any other suitable duty, then it is really a case of going and approaching the insurance company with a work cover medical certificate to that effect and asking the insurance company to pay weekly wage compensation as a consequence.
Dan: So, a person that is listening to this podcast that has been injured and is concerned about losing their job, that they really shouldn’t be, but they should seek legal advice early.
Tim: Absolutely. If there is going to be an application, for example, a reinstatement order, etc, then it has to be made within two years of the termination. Time is certainly ticking, and it’s best to get legal advice straight away so that appropriate measures can be made and advice given.
Dan: Tim, thanks for joining me.
Tim: Thank you very much.
Thank you for listening. If you have any questions, please call BPC on 02 8280 6900.