Taking an injury into an interview


One of our clients was delighted when a perfectly-suitable applicant applied for an advertised admin position.  However there was something this potential employee did not disclose at the initial interview, which later became a big issue …. that she was recovering from a broken wrist injury sustained at her previous workplace.

After twelve months in the new job, the injury flared up and required further surgery.  WorkCover agreed that this was related to the previous workplace injury and paid for the surgery and benefits.  Three months of rehab followed and the employee realised that she wasn’t going to be able to return to her role in the company.  She duly put in four weeks notice.

Our client, her boss, had not been required to pay sickness benefits related to the injury but asked our advice on entitlements that he would be liable to pay out for the four months the employee had been unable to work. 

In the end, our client had to pay accrued annual leave for the time the employee was having the second surgery and recovering, even though she had not disclosed her injury and it was not related at all to the work in our client’s firm.

GOOD INTERVIEW TECHNIQUE. This is an example of how an interview needs to be in-depth enough to uncover an applicant’s prior work history.  Although this applicant did not deceive with a view to fraud and could not have anticipated further surgery, her performance was affected and employer costs were incurred owing to previous circumstances.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY requires that employers must ensure the health, safety, and welfare at work of all employees. It is important to be aware of any special workplace requirements for an employee and to ask about this in the initial discussions with a job applicant.