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Do I need to tell my boss I have hepatitis B?

Posted 19 August, 2019
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Congratulations, you got the job!! But you have hepatitis B….

  • Do you need to tell your employer?
  • What do you do about the blood tests your new boss is asking you to have?
  • All these forms say you need to have a hep B vaccination…. well that’s not necessary but what do you tell your employer?

These are questions the education team at Hepatitis Queensland has been asked quite a bit lately.

Who you have to tell

If you are living with hepatitis B it is your choice who you tell – and this includes your new employer. The only exceptions are the Defence Force and health care jobs where you are performing exposure prone procedures such as dentistry and surgery.

Consider how hepatitis B is transmitted and how that will impact on your work. Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact, through sexual contact and often occurs during child birth. Within a work context it is unlikely that you will have any of these occur – so there is no reason you shouldn’t get the job because you have hepatitis B!

Pre-employment medical checks

If you are offered the job and then have to go for a pre-employment medical as part of your induction, again it is your decision to disclose if you have hep B. By law you are protected by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 and the Anti-Disability Act 1992 and your position can’t be affected if it comes out through this process. This would fall within the boundaries of discrimination.

How to deal with vaccination requirements

If your new job is in the health space you may be asked to have a hepatitis B vaccination – which for someone who is living with hepatitis B isn’t necessary. What you can do, without having to technically disclose your status is to request a letter from your doctor that states you are not at risk or susceptible to contracting hepatitis B in the course of your work. It is a personal decision, and one to give some consideration.

If you have any questions, please contact the Hepatitis Queensland Infoline on 1800 HEP ABC (1800 437 222).

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