Sick staff bullied

22 August 2012

Employers lack understanding when it comes to long-term illness and sick leave, an employment law expert says.

Maurice Blackburn principal Givi Sivaraman said employees with long-term illnesses were often subjected to bullying and even fired.

"The reality is different from the rhetoric . . . there is no appreciation of the pain and suffering created by long-term illness," he said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is pursuing Perth panel beater Pasquale Minniti and his company AJR Nominees over allegations he forced a sick employee to resign to prevent him from taking leave. The ombudsman alleges spray painter John Bill was told repeatedly he had to resign after being diagnosed with blood cancer in late 2010.

Mr Pasquale denied sacking Mr Bill. "If someone wants to walk out I can't make them come to work," he said.

The case comes before the Federal Court on Monday 27 August.

In its submission to the Fair Work Review, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said employers should be allowed to ask for statutory declarations or sick leave certificates from regulated health practitioners only.

Practice Areas: