UNFAIR: Ben Cooke speaks out after Herbie Ricks’ stuggle to find work
UNFAIR: Ben Cooke speaks out after Herbie Ricks’ stuggle to find work Chris Ison Rokcwork

Anti-discrimination office’s reminder about job applications

REGIONAL Manager of Central Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commission office has a message for job hunters; you don't have to disclose any medical condition to a prospective employer.

Ben Cooke's message came in response to The Morning Bulletin's Tuesday article on Herbie Ricks, a Rockhampton man who believed his epilepsy had prevented him from finding work for nearly a decade.

Mr Cooke said he suspected Mr Ricks was advising employers of his epilepsy in circumstances where it was not necessary to do so, potentially allowing employers to act in a discriminatory manner by not considering him for employment because of his impairment.

He said the commission was seeing cases like Mr Rick's more often, likely due to the increasing prevelence of pre-employment medical inquiries and testing.

"A person is not obligated to disclose any impairment (medical condition) to a prospective employer unless it is likely to be aggravated by the genuine occupational requirements of the position," he said.

"I believe that the law around this topic is not clearly understood by employers and those seeking work.

"I think there are industries that are unaware that requesting this sort of information can be unlawful and I think it is quite common-place for certain industries to request this sort of information.

"As a general rule it is against the law to ask questions about a person's medical condition. It is also generally unlawful for an employer to make recruitment decisions based on a person's impairment."

In an effort to educate the public, Mr Cooke said the ADCQ delivers training modules through public sessions which are open to everyone and can deliver on-site to businesses, in addition to an online training module which could be accessed at a "very moderate cost".

A place at the next Recruitment and Selection public training session on March 10 was extended to Mr Ricks, free of charge.