When considering employment, if a prospective employer does NOT ask you if you have previously had any workers’ compensation claims or have previously suffered any injuries which could affect your ability to work, you do not have a strict obligation to disclose any injuries to them.
However, with today’s legislation, in the modern workplace, both employers and employees have an equal obligation to ensure the health and safety of ALL workers whilst at work.
So as a matter of workplace health and safety, if you have an injury or condition which might affect your ability to do the job safely (whether you have lodged a workers’ compensation claim in relation to it or not), some may argue that you SHOULD disclose that injury or condition to the prospective employer even if they do NOT specifically ask you about it.
If the prospective employer refers you for a pre-employment medical, the doctor SHOULD ask you about any existing or previous injuries which could affect your work, and you SHOULD disclose those injuries (although not necessarily whether you claimed workers’ compensation or not).
The overriding issue should be the safety of yourself and other workers at your workplace. If you have an injury which may affect that, then you SHOULD disclose that injury to your prospective employer.
The prospective employer should NOT be asking whether you have had a previous workers’ compensation claim or not – they have no legitimate interest in knowing this. They DO have a legitimate interest in knowing whether you have an injury or condition which could affect your ability to do the job safely or impact the safety of their workplace.
It is unlawful for a prospective employer to refuse to offer a job to a person because that person has made a workers’ compensation claim. However, if you are dishonest on a job application and you are offered the job and later your employer discovers that you have not been honest, you may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
Honesty is the best policy and even if you had a workers’ compensation claim in the past, it most likely has been resolved and would not impact on your ability to do the current job or place yourself or others in jeopardy in the workplace.
For detailed information you can refer to:
(This information is provided by Andersons Solicitors in South Australia and relates to Australian Federal legislation)