Mental Health Case summary: requesting additional medical information
A Qantas pilot who suffered from clinical depression took extended sick leave in July 2012.
He provided a medical certificate saying he would be unfit for work until October of that year.
His employer then requested to have his treating doctor provide report about the “prognosis, diagnosis, capacity to return to his pre-injury duties and the anticipated time frame”.
The union alleged Qantas had taken adverse action by threatening to take disciplinary action against the pilot who had exercised a workplace right to provide a medical certificate as evidence of being unfit for his duties.
The case was brought to the Federal court, which found that Qantas had not interfered with the pilot’s workplace rights by requiring more information. Qantas had respected those rights and did not challenge the pilot’s entitlement to sick leave.
The court determined it was “quite unrealistic to expect Qantas, as an employer, to be left with substantively no right or ability to require a sick employee to provide it with information, of the kind sought here, about the present and future position of a crew member who had been on extended sick leave”.
It found that the airline did not take adverse action by threatening to discipline the pilot for failing to provide medical report detailing his full prognosis and ability to return to his full duties.