Supermarket giant Woolworths pleaded guilty in the Dandenong Magistrates Court to failing to provide an injured worker with suitable employment as required under Victoria’s workers compensation legislation.

The court heard that the injured worker was employed as a trainee night-fill manager at a Safeway store when he suffered a stress injury. His workers compensation claim was accepted and he was later certified by his doctor as having a capacity to return to work on alternative duties.

However, Woolworths failed to provide suitable employment, even after eight months, despite the worker being able tow work on alternative duties.

Under the state’s workers compensation laws, an employer is required to provide employment to an injured worker who has a capacity for work.

The company was fined $1000 without conviction and agreed to pay costs of $15,000.

WorkSafe executive director, Len Boehm said helping an injured worker return to work is good for the worker, their family, their workmates and for business.

“Under the legislation, an employer must keep an injured worker’s position open for 12 months and if the worker has a capacity they must be provided with suitable employment.”

Boehm said that employers need to be aware of their legal obligations to support injured workers and recognise the importance of helping an injured worker return to work.

“WorkSafe is committed to doing everything it can to ensure injured workers receive the care and support they need to re-enter the workplace. Employers who ignore their responsibilities will be penalised.”