Disclosure within work and healthcare

Posted 17 September, 2020
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Do I need to tell people at work that I have
hepatitis?
People living with hepatitis are under no legal
obligation to tell their employer they have hepatitis
(unless they are entering the Defence Force, or
performing exposure prone procedures, such as
surgery). This is your private health information and
who you tell is up to you. Anti-discrimination laws
classify hepatitis as a disability or impairment, and
it is against the law to discriminate against a person
with hepatitis in the workplace.
All workplaces are covered by workplace health and
safety legislation. So, if there is a blood spill in the
workplace, all blood should be treated as infectious.
Remember, not everyone knows if they have a
blood borne virus. If you are concerned about your
workplace’s first aid standards in the event of an
accident, you could nominate yourself as the first
aid officer, so you can be sure all the standard
precautions are followed for everyone. (For more
information see factsheet ‘First aid and standard
precautions’.)
Pre-employment medicals
If you are asked about your hepatitis (when it is not
relevant to the inherent requirements of the job)
you may have to decide how you will respond. A
pre-employment medical should only be assessed
by a doctor in relation to your fitness to work, and
information about your status is not relevant to be
passed on to your employer. If you were the
preferred candidate, but due to hepatitis did not get
the job, this is a breach of anti-discrimination law.
What if I need to manage treatment while
working?
Many people who are quite private about their
health often find that treatment is a time when they
may need to talk about hepatitis with their employer

for the first time. Some people disclose to everyone
at work. Others may choose a trusted friend to talk
to about being on treatment. If you talk to your
manager, your health information should still remain
private and confidential, and your workplace has a
legal obligation to make ‘all reasonable adjustments’
to support you through treatment and allow you to
change tasks or have time off for appointments.
Some people choose to disclose that they are on
treatment (but not that they have hepatitis) and
simply talk about a private health issue, saying that
they are undergoing a type of treatment for a liver
health condition and will need some flexible hours
to attend appointments. Other people choose to
work through their treatment without disclosing. It
is your choice who you tell, and any information you
disclose about your health should remain
confidential and private.


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