Workers Compensation

Can my employer require me to have a covid test?

By LHD Lawyers

A common question during the worldwide COVID pandemic is “Can an employer require COVID testing?” It is likely that, within the employment contract you have with your employer, there’s a clause that requires you to follow “lawful and reasonable directions” given by your employer. In some cases, these reasonable and lawful directions can include getting a COVID test before returning to work after being unwell.

Your employer may require COVID test before you return to work if you are experiencing COVID symptoms such as a cough, cold symptoms or a runny nose, or if you have been in close or casual contact with someone who has had COVID-19.

Can employers ask employees for medical clearance before returning to work?

A lot of employees are wondering “Can my employer legally ask for medical information?” With COVID-19 present in the community, collection of information like vaccination status and information surrounding medical tests can only be collected by employers if it is reasonably necessary for one or more of your employer’s functions or activities.

When a medical clearance (for example proof of a negative COVID test) is required to protect the health and safety of all employees, it can be considered reasonable and therefore legal for your employer to direct you to provide one.

Cases when it may not be reasonable include if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms of being unwell, do not need to self-isolate, and where you are healthy and able to attend work.

Can employers require temperature testing in the workplace?

Temperature testing is one way employers can quickly determine the health of their staff before they commence work, because a heightened temperature can be an indicator of infection with COVID-19.

Temperature testing is often undertaken using a thermal scanner, which is an infrared thermometer that can measure a person’s temperature in a quick and contactless way. Temperature testing at work is likely to be lawful because it is a reasonable direction to ensure the health and safety of all employees. If you are turned away from your workplace after a temperature test and it is possible for you to work from home, you may be able to do this instead of using sick or holiday leave.

Can employers mandate COVID-19 vaccines?

Vaccinations are considered one of the most effective ways to protect ourselves from COVID-19, and with vaccinations across Australia being readily available, employees are encouraged to be vaccinated against the virus. But can employers mandate vaccinations for their employees?

Often referred to as “No Jab, No Job”, the legislation surrounding the mandating of vaccinations varies from state to state. Examples include the Public Health Amendment (Vaccination Compensation) Bill 2021 in New South Wales and the Authorised Worker Vaccine Mandate in Victoria.

If you are confused about your rights at work in relation to COVID-19 vaccinations, mandatory testing and the laws surrounding COVID-19 generally, clarification may be possible via legal advice.

Make a Workers’ Compensation claim today

Have you experienced what you believe to be unfair treatment in relation to COVID-19, or have you contracted COVID-19 in your place of work? LHD Lawyers help everyday Australians receive the benefits they are entitled to for their Workers Compensation claims. We are so sure of our abilities to win your case that we stand firmly by our No Win No Fee Policy: if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call 1800 455 725 for a no-obligation consultation about your case.

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