(0)
Loading... Updating...
Your cart is empty
Checkout View Cart
View all resources
(0)
Loading... Updating...
Your cart is empty
Checkout View Cart
View all resources
Cart & Checkout (0)
Loading... Updating...
Your cart is empty
Checkout View Cart
View all resources
Hepatitis B and workplace disclosure

Hepatitis B and workplace disclosure

Home All about hepatitis B Hepatitis B and workplace disclosure
Hepatitis B and workplace disclosure

How is hepatitis B passed on?

Hepatitis B is the most common liver infection in the world, usually passed on from mother to baby during birth, or through blood-to-blood contact (usually through unsterile medical procedures). This is when the blood of someone with hepatitis B gets into someone else’s blood stream.

Hepatitis B in the workplace

Hepatitis B is not passed on through general contact between people. Because of this, there is very little risk in the workplace – except for jobs such as tattooing, body piercing and medical fields involving “exposure prone procedures” (work procedures where there is potential contact between a healthcare worker’s fingers or thumbs and sharp surgical instruments or bone splinters in body cavities or confined body spaces). Any blood or body fluid spill in the workplace should be treated the same way, whether or not a person is known to have an infectious disease. This is called “universal precautions”.

Who do you have to tell in the workplace? 

Except for the jobs and workplaces below, employees do not have to tell anybody whether they have viral hepatitis or not – including workmates, employers or customers. 

There are some workplaces where you legally have to tell someone if you have hepatitis B:

Employer obligations 

In line with Federal Privacy legislation, employers must not disclose the viral hepatitis status of any employee, contractor, customer or client to anybody else. This means if you need to tell your employer that you have hepatitis B, they can’t tell anyone else.

You can call the HALC advice line to learn more about workplace disclosure, on 02 9492 6540

Pre-employment medicals 

Many employers routinely use pre-employment medical tests (“medicals”) as part of their selection process for advertised jobs. These tests can be valid and useful for employers but they are obliged to protect the privacy of job applicants. Employers are also obliged not to use the medical results to discriminate against individual applicants. 

Some examples of misuse of medicals include:

A pre-employment medical test should relate solely to the particular responsibilities and duties of the advertised job. Any special physical attributes required for the job should be appropriate, reasonable and clearly spelt out. 

You can read more about Employer obligations in our factsheet, Hepatitis and workplace issues >>

Anti-discrimination law relating to the workplace

In general, discrimination against someone because they have viral hepatitis is against the law. Within a larger range of circumstances, this includes, for example, when someone is applying for a job, when they are in a job or when they are leaving a job. Employers should not prevent someone from getting a promotion or dismiss them because they have viral hepatitis. Employers also have a legal duty to provide employees with any special facilities or services they need to help them do the job, as long as it won’t cause the employer ‘unjustifiable hardship’. 

Legal advice with the HALC advice line

You can call the HALC advice line to learn more about who you have to tell, on 02 9492 6540. The HALC legal centre is an accredited community legal centre that provides free advocacy and advice on a range of issues including viral hepatitis related discrimination, privacy, and health care complaints.

Did you find this helpful? Share with someone else.