Recent Fair Work Ombudsman audits of the hospitality industry revealed that 72% of businesses had breached workplace laws. The...
Policies, Procedures & SafeguardsFebruary 29, 2016
A Customer Service Operator, who worked in a call center department for a not-for-profit organisation, has had her workers compensation claim accepted after her employer failed to make reasonable adjustments to her working conditions.
The Customer Service Operator suffered neck and shoulder injuries, allegedly caused by repetitive overuse from talking on the telephone. Whilst her employer originally modified her working hours, they ultimately decided the Customer Service Operator could not perform the requirements of her pre-injury position, so terminated her employment under the belief no further reasonable adjustments could be made.
The Customer Service Operator took her case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), where she claimed she was discriminated against on the grounds of a disability.
The VCAT found the employer had in fact failed to make reasonable adjustments for their employee’s disability. They found the employer did not consider whether or not the employee could perform an adjusted role involving less telephone use.
The VCAT stated that when considering whether adjustments are reasonable, an employer is entitled to consider the impact the adjustments would have on business efficiency and productivity. Whilst employers are not obligated to create a new role for an employee who is disabled, they do need to exhaust all possible options available to support the employee, including a move to a similar role, if available.
The Customer Service Operator could have reasonably been moved to an adjusted customer service role in another department. In fact, she had worked in a similar role in the past.
The applicant was awarded $3,325 for economic loss and a further $10,000 for hurt and distress. The damages could have been a lot higher, however the applicant found alternative employment shortly after the dismissal.
Employers need to ensure all avenues for reasonable adjustments are considered for disabled employees. Employsure can assist employers who are not sure what is deemed ‘reasonable’ adjustments, as it can be tricky to navigate. Contact Employsure today on 1300 651 415, as these types of scenarios must be managed case by case. Employsure supports employers in ensuring that all employment obligations are met when dealing with injured or disabled employees.
Sourced via Smart Company