BOSS GUILTY OF DISCRIMINATION IN BLOCKING RETURN TO WORK

An diesel mechanic who suffered an injury outside of work and sought to return to his job has been awarded $44,000 in damages, after a court found his employer discriminated against him by ignoring medical advice and refusing to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate his return.

The court found Don's Mechanical and Diesel Services in South Australia refused to accommodate his return despite medical advice and made discriminatory decisions.

Even though the worker’s injury was not work-related, the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 requires the employer to make reasonable adjustments to prevent discrimination.

The worker had provided medical certificates showing he could return to work, but his employer ignored them instead arguing the injury affected his ability to perform the inherent requirements of his role.

The court disagreed finding the employer's actions were discriminatory, ordering them to pay the worker $44,000 in damages and highlighting that the employer could have made simple adjustments to help the worker return to work.

The Judge found the employer treated the worker less favourably than it would have a person without a disability.

Source: Panazzolo v Don's Mechanical and Diesel Services Pty Ltd [2023] FedCFamC2G 665 (2 August 2023)

 

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