In a recent case in the Federal Circuit Court an employer, Corrective Services New South Wales, was ordered to pay a former probation and parole officer employed by it the sum of $180,000 plus interest as a result of discriminatory treatment of her.  The employee suffered from Crohn’s Disease and took sick leave on a number of occasions.

The employer had access to a report from the employee’s doctor, but failed to follow the doctor’s advice. 

The employer decided that the employee should be medically retired unless she was found fit to return to her original job. 

The Court found that there were reasonable adjustments that could have been made to enable the employee to return to her original job.  However the supervisors of the employer failed to consider the inherent requirements of the employee’s position and what reasonable adjustments could have been made to enable the employee to return to that position.

This case highlights the obligations on employers under the Disability Discrimination Act to carefully consider medical advice in relation to an employee’s disability, consider what the inherent requirements of the employee’s position are, and whether any reasonable adjustments can be made, taking into account medical advice, to enable the employee to return to their position.

For more information contact:

Jim Rutherford
Principal
Harwood Andrews
T: 03 5226 8579
E: jrutherford@harwoodandrews.com.au

Sonia McCabe
Senior Associate
Harwood Andrews
T: 03 5226 8558
E: smccabe@harwoodandrews.com.au