Ask Renata

Why do companies ask future employees if they have ever made a WorkCover claim, or are waiting on a response to a claim?

Companies asking potential employees if they have made any claims are presumably assessing risks associated with hiring that person with a view to vetting workers living with pre-existing conditions.

Discriminating against such workers is unlawful. They are not allowed to ask you about your claims history.

This is separate to an employer asking if you have an injuries or illnesses that would prevent you from performing the role. 

WorkCover Victoria, the government agency responsible for managing Victoria's workers' compensation scheme, has advised that employers should not ask potential employees about their workers' compensation claims history, or medical history, during the recruitment process.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) provides advice, education, and training on discrimination, sexual harassment, and victimisation in the workplace, and also investigates and resolves complaints of discrimination and human rights breaches.

The VEOHRC is also responsible for enforcing the state's anti-discrimination laws, including the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, and the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

According to VEOHRC asking questions about a job candidate's workers' compensation history can be seen as discriminatory and could breach anti-discrimination laws. This is because a candidate's past claims history may reveal information about their health status, which could be used to discriminate against them.

WorkCover Victoria recommends that employers focus on assessing a candidate's ability to perform the inherent requirements of the job, rather than their medical history or past workers' compensation claims.

If an employer needs to make adjustments to accommodate a candidate's health condition, they should engage in a confidential discussion with the candidate about their needs and consider making reasonable adjustments to the workplace or job duties to enable the candidate to perform the job.

Candidates are not obligated to disclose any claims they may have made. Candidates have the right to privacy and can choose not to disclose this information if they do not feel comfortable doing so.



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