One of the most common questions we get asked is: “Can I be fired for lodging a workers compensation claim?”.
The short answer is: “No”.
If you suffer a restriction on your capacity to undertake normal work duties due to a work injury, your employer (being the employer from whose employment the work injury arose) has a legal obligation to provide suitable work duties that accommodate your injuries (subject to some exceptions).
Your claims manager, doctor and employer should consult with each other and you to determine what modifications you require at work due to your work injury. They should also discuss what your employer needs to do to provide work that accommodates those restrictions. These topics are usually discussed during a medical case conference.
If your employer cannot provide suitable duties (whether due to the nature and extent of your restrictions, the nature and size of their business operations or other factors) your claims manager should discuss retraining options, with a view to returning you to work with an alternative employer.
You are entitled to income support whilst this process is undertaken, for a period of up to two years from the date of your work injury (and potentially longer in some circumstances).
If you believe your employer (being the employer from whose employment the work injury arose) can provide suitable employment but they are not meeting their obligation in this regard, the Return to Work Act 2014 (SA) allows you to provide a formal written notice to your employer seeking the provision of suitable employment. If suitable employment is not provided, you can apply to the South Australian Employment Tribunal for an Order/Direction that your employer provide you with suitable employment (in the event they do not provide an appropriate response to the formal written notice).
If you believe that your employer is not complying with their obligations to provide you with suitable work duties, and you would like to provide a formal written notice seeking the provision of suitable work duties, it’s worthwhile having a conversation with the DBH team so that we can provide advice on the best way to approach the issue (and legal representation if you would like our ongoing assistance).
At DBH Lawyers, we offer you an obligation-free first interview and, in most workers compensation matters, will act on a “no win, no fee” basis. One of our experienced workers compensation lawyers will be able to assist you in ensuring you get the most out of your claim.