In Queensland, it is illegal for employers to terminate the employment of a worker subsequent to them incurring a work-related injury in the 12 months following the incident, and any employer found guilty of doing so faces a maximum penalty of a fine up to $5,338.00.
Workplace incidents can cause devastating, often life-altering mental and physical injuries, that can sometimes take many months or even years to recover from, which is why laws around this issue were introduced. To support injured workers, it is also illegal to deny them other opportunities such as a promotion or their regular working hours or pay due solely to the fact they are injured, and demoting or suspending a worker on this basis is also not allowed.
Can I be made redundant while on WorkCover??
In cases of genuine redundancy, an injured worker may be made redundant while on WorkCover, however, the employer should ensure they are following the same rules as they would for any other redundancy. This means employers must offer the injured worker a minimum notice period or payment in lieu of a notice period as well as redundancy pay and a payout of any applicable entitlements such as accrued annual or long service leave.
If your employer has made you redundant while you are on WorkCover and you do not believe it was a genuine redundancy (for example, they have hired someone else to do your job) or they did not follow the correct procedure (such as paying out your notice period) then you should seek independent legal advice about what rights you may have.
My employer has asked me not to make a WorkCover claim. Is this legal?
It is illegal for your employer to stop you from making a WorkCover claim, however, some employers will, unfortunately, try to pressure their workers into not reporting their injury or making a claim with WorkCover. This usually occurs because a claim will make the insurance premiums paid by the employer to their WorkCover insurer increase.
It is important to remember that your employer knows it is illegal for them to stop you from making a claim and it is also illegal for them to withhold from reporting a notifiable incident, such as the death or serious injury of an employee, to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and WorkCover Queensland.
My boss is threatening to fire me if I make a WorkCover claim. What should I do?
If your boss is threatening to terminate your employment if you make a WorkCover claim you should rest assured that they cannot legally do so. It is important to focus on healing after your workplace injury, so try not to worry about their threats.
What can I do if I have already been fired for making a WorkCover claim?
If your employer has terminated your employment and it was not a genuine redundancy, you have the right to pursue an unfair dismissal claim or a discrimination claim. For unfair dismissals, you only have 21 days from the date of the termination of employment and for discrimination claims the timeline is one year from the date of the termination of employment.
If you are feeling very stressed about the proposition of losing your job, you might like to read some of the materials on the Fair Work Australia website or seek the advice of a legal professional to help you better understand your rights and exactly what your position is if your boss does unlawfully terminate your employment.
If you need legal advice because you have been fired while on WorkCover, your employer has asked you not to make a WorkCover claim or you have been receiving threats for making a claim, our personal injury lawyers can assist on (07) 40520700.