Registered nurse unfairly dismissed due to skin allergy

February 2022

Louise* worked as a casual registered nurse within a hospital. She was offered a permanent nursing role position.

She developed a skin allergy to the handwashing products used in the hospital. A staff doctor who saw Louise, decided that because of her allergy she was unfit for the duties of a nurse. The offer of a permanent nursing position at the hospital was retracted.

Louise found casual nursing work elsewhere. Her new employer agreed to make alternative handwashing products available to her which did not cause a recurrence of her skin allergy. Louise felt she had been treated unfairly in her previous role because of her allergy and made a complaint of disability discrimination to ADNSW. 

During the conciliation conference, Louise informed the hospital that her skin condition had improved using alternative products at her new workplace and that her allergy was not affecting her working as a nurse.

The hospital did not admit liability, however they offered Louise $1000 compensation and apologised to her for their earlier decision. They encouraged Louise to apply for any suitable permanent nursing positions and steps were taken by the hospital to make sure there would be no barriers to her application progressing through recruitment fairly. This was accepted by Louise and the complaint was resolved.

*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual

Last updated:

22 Feb 2022

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