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Boss not welcome at medical appointments

Here is another common question injured workers ask – Can your boss attend a medical appointment with you? And the answer is definitely NO!

Does the boss have the right to attend a medical appointment with a worker?

We are becoming increasingly concerned with what we see as the growing pattern of employers  (bosses) subjecting workers to intrusive and discriminatory behaviours. These include:

  • Employers or their representatives (e.g a return to work coordinator) attending medical appointments with injured  or ill workers
  • Injured workers forced to attend  constant medical assessments even after their doctor has cleared them to return to work
  • Groups of doctors that are funded by employers are being seen more frequently, and are allegedly providing substandard care to injured workers, including forcing injured workers to return to work prematurely
  • Employers seeking access to ALL of an injured worker’s health information (medical history) rather than seeking only relevant and directly work-injury related medical information
  •  We have heard that certain employers are  even sharing medical information with third parties, such as insurers and superannuation funds, without the injured worker’s consent

These concerns have been raised by Unions, the Australian Medical Association and the Fair Work Ombudsman.

With regard to employers or their represenatives attempting to attend medical appointments with injured workers, the Fair Work Ombudsman has said it ‘does not condone or support this behaviour and sees no reason why an employer should seek to attend a private and confidential appointment with a worker, unless specifically requested to do so by the worker.

The Fair Work Ombudsman even said in a media release that: “The laws around sick leave and personal leave are quite simple. While an employer may request evidence that would substantiate the reason for an employee’s entitlement to personal/carer leave, a medical certificate or statutory declaration is generally considered an acceptable form of evidence.”

The current advice on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website states the following

Employers attending medical appointments

We don’t consider it reasonable for an employer to go to a medical appointment with an employee unless an employee requests this.

We also don’t consider it reasonable for an employer to contact the employee’s doctor for further information.

See: Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) section 107

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