Reinstatement workers compensation claim dismissed

Date: Mar 26, 2019

Workers compensation claims can take on numerous forms, such as unfair dismissal, injuries caused in the workplace and discrimination. The subject of such cases can even extend to reinstatement of employment, as the below case demonstrates.

History of the proceedings

The applicant commenced employment with a well-known Australian airline as a flight attendant on October 16, 2006. While initially employed on a full-time basis, in 2012, at his own request, he shifted to part-time employment. This change was due to take effect on November 1, 2012. However, during this transition, the attendant was absent from work for health-related reasons, and had not been at work since July 2012.

On November 27, 2012, at the airline's request, the applicant was examined by a medical professional. In the report, the doctor stated that the applicant was suffering with chronic pain syndrome. However, the reasoning for his diagnosis was not completely related to physical causes. The doctor believed the attendant was experiencing a pain amplification syndrome resulting predominantly from psychosocial issues, such as the man's long-standing relationship with depression. 

How did the employer respond to the medical findings?

On February 14, 2013, after regarding the medical report and the applicant's ability to fulfil duties, the airline informed the attendant that it had terminated his employment with effect from that day.

What happened following the termination?

On February 28, 2014, the attendant made an Application for Reinstatement of Injured Worker under the Workers Compensation Act 1987. The airline asked for further medical examinations to conclude whether the applicant was fit for work. The practitioner concluded he was fit for work as a part-time flight attendant. Having received the medical certificate, the airline reinstated the applicant as a permanent part-time flight attendant, effective October 2, 2017.

Despite his reinstatement, the attendant submitted an application stating that while he may have re-commenced employment with the airline, he had not been properly reinstated under the Workers Compensation Act. He referenced his position before the termination. He argued that he was extremely close to being promoted to Cabin Manager and was promised the promotion in the near future. 

However, the court did not accept that his terms of reinstatement included any guarantee of promotion to Cabin Manager or any assurance of an upgrade to the position. The attendant's application was subsequently dismissed.

The above case proves just how complex workers compensation cases can be. Don't run the risk of failure – enlist the help of the experts. Give the workers compensation lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners a call today to see how we can help. 

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts or email your enquiry.