This page discusses whether or not employers or their representatives have the right to attend a workers comp medical appointment with their employees after an accident at work.
Firstly, unless your employer, boss, supervisor or injury manager is a qualified medical practitioner, there is no benefit whatsoever of them being present during your medical consultation. So why is it that they so often insist on being present during appointments? Well, there’s a couple of reasons that initially spring to mind.
- To influence a doctors decision making, and
- to put employees under undue pressure to agree to return to work
Employer influence during a medical appointment
In instances where injured employees have been persuaded to see the ‘company doctor’, it is incredibly easy for a representative of the employer to influence any medical decision making. Now, this may seem a little far fetched to some people but believe me, it happens. It is especially common in the construction industry where companies can be somewhat penalised because of lost time due to injuries.
In one shocking example of influence, a representative of the employer who attended a medical appointment influenced the medical practitioner to return a man to work on ‘light duties’ one day after hand surgery to avoid lost time penalties. However, once at work, he was then coerced into performing his normal job, which he did because he thought it was the ‘right thing’ to do. One year later after enduring persistent pain and receiving substandard care from the companies medical provider, he visited a private doctor only to find out that he has now done some serious long term damage to his hand. He also learnt that he will likely not be able to work as a metal fabricator for much longer.
This is just one sad case, there’s many more out there. If you are in a similar situation, don’t let your employer’s greed ruin your future.
Undue employer pressure during medical appointments
Many people, feel pressured during medical appointments when, however, having another person there who simply doesn’t need to be there only aggravates that pressure.
One of the first things to remember about a medical appointment is that it is all about you. So ask yourself, why do employers insist on being present during medical consultation?
A breach of your privacy
Medical appointments are traditionally held in a strictly private and confidential environment. So why would a workers comp medical be any different? There is no difference, unwanted employer attendance at a WorkCover medical appointment is a flagrant breach of your privacy. In a recently published statement by WorkCover, a spokesman for them said.
“There is no legal or operational basis for employers or their representatives to be present during a medical consultation between an injured worker and a treating doctor,”
- If your employer asks or unwantedly attempts to enter your medical, you have the right to ask them to leave.
- If you feel pressured to return to work too soon, get a second opinion or call us on 1800 106 107.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up, if something feels wrong, it probably is.
- Report any unacceptable behaviour to fair work or your trade union.
- It is your right to speak with a work injury solicitor after an accident
If yore having trouble with your employer and you would like to find out where you stand, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We have a team of WorkCover experts ready and waiting to help you with all facets of the claims process.
Need more help?
Due to the contrast in legislation throughout Australia, if you had an accident at work in any of the states below, please follow the relevant link to view location-specific information or start the claims process online.
- View New South Wales information or claim online here,
- visit our dedicated Victoria page or start online,
- click here for Queensland specific info or lodge online now,
- select Western Australia or make a claim here.