Many job seekers often struggle with the question….do I have to disclose pre-existing injuries or medical conditions to my prospective employer?
A prospective worker must, where requested in writing by a prospective employer, disclose all pre-existing injuries or medical conditions of which they are aware, that could reasonably be expected to be aggravated by performing the employment related duties. If the prospective worker is engaged before making the disclosure (or being requested to make the disclosure), his or her entitlement to compensation is unaffected.
In certain circumstances, workers may not be entitled to compensation or damages if they aggravate a pre-existing condition at work. Since the law changed on 29 October 2013, a prospective employer:-
- may request a prospective worker to disclose all pre-existing injuries or medical conditions existing during the period of the employment process that could reasonably be expected to be aggravated by performing their employment related duties
- must request disclosure in writing and this request must be accompanied by details of the nature of the duties that are subject to the employment
- must advise prospective workers that if they knowingly supply false or misleading information, they will not be entitled to compensation or damages under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the Act), for any event that aggravates the non-disclosed pre-existing injury or condition
Workers with pre-existing injuries/conditions are often placed in a position where they know if they disclose a prior injury or condition to a prospective employer they will find themselves on the bottom of the pile of applicants. Many employers discriminate against potential employees (at the hiring stage) based upon previous injury and/or compensation history. This was recognised by His Honour Baulch SC DCJ in the case of Turner v Turner & Anor  QDC 106 where he states:-
“Even if he (the plaintiff) was minded to pursue a career of that sort, he would be faced with the significant difficulty in obtaining such employment by reason of the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. Sensible employers would be likely to make inquiries about the matters raised in those sections (of the Act) and would, in my opinion, be unlikely to employ a man with the plaintiff’s level of incapacity.”
If you are unable to obtain work after disclosing a pre-existing injury you may be eligible to apply for a total and permanent disability insurance benefit via your superannuation fund. Contact our office on 13 58 28 for a free consultation to discuss your options.