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Medical Divulgence (During Employment)

A request/demand for medical information is likely to be a lawful and reasonable direction if it relates to the employer’s concern to provide a healthy and safe workplace or to make changes to accommodate a worker with a disability.

Disclosure of Information

All employees are obliged to obey the lawful and reasonable directions of their employer. Any failure to obey a lawful and reasonable direction may amount to serious misconduct. This means that the employer may be entitled to dismiss the employee without notice.

A request/demand for medical information is likely to be a lawful and reasonable direction if it relates to the employer’s concern to provide a healthy and safe workplace or to make changes to accommodate a worker with a disability.

There is no general rule regarding what directions are lawful and reasonable and each request/demand made by an employer has to be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Do I need to tell my employer why I was sick?

Generally, you do not need to give information to your employer about a condition which does not affect your ability to work. If you need to take sick leave, you do not usually have to inform your employer of the details of your illness or injury. Although, you must make sure that you:
• notify your employer as soon as possible; and
• provide a medical certificate or statutory declaration that covers the period of your absence within 24 hours or as soon as reasonably possible.

To better protect your rights, you should also advise your employer of the expected period of your sick leave.

What medical information must I disclose to my employer?

You may be obliged to tell your employer about your illness or injury where your ability to perform the inherent requirements of your job is affected. The inherent requirements of a job are the key tasks or skills needed to do the position.

If you feel you are able to return to work if your employer makes reasonable adjustments to your job, you have the right to request those adjustments. An employer is obliged to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your illness or injury. If you request adjustments, it will usually be lawful and reasonable for your employer to request medical information about what duties you can and cannot do.

For further support

More detail can be found in the fact sheet which you should download.

Call our Telephone Information Service on Melbourne Metro (03) 9662 1933 or Regional Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania on 1800 331 617.

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