At WorkLegal we have broad experience in the heath care industry including: 

  • medical practitioners and specialists;
  • public and private hospital workers;
  • physiotherapists and chiropractors;
  • dentists and dental assistants;
  • pharmacists and pharmacy assistants;
  • veterinarians and veterinary assistants;
  • public sector health care workers;
  • private sector health care workers.

Public sector health care workers

As well as their employment contract, public sector health care employees are usually protected by public sector employment legislation.

Some of the processes that may affect public sector health care employees include:

  • code of conduct investigations;
  • disciplinary action;
  • conflict of interest allegations;
  • changes to workplace entitlements and conditions;

Private sector health care workers

Some particular needs that private sector health care workers may have are:

Understanding the differences between contracting and employment

A significant proportion of medical practitioners, dentists and other health care providers are engaged as contractors rather than employees.  WorkLegal can advise about the differences between them, implications arising and how your situation may be optimised.

Understanding and negotiating an employment contract

WorkLegal can explain the meaning and effect of an employment offer and help you devise a negotiation strategy and list of desired outcomes to help guide the negotiation process. 

Taking care with Restraint of Trade

Employment contracts for some health care providers – particularly medical doctors, dentists and veterinarians – are likely to include a restraint of trade clause that will apply after the employment ends.   It is essential to take advice about the restraint clause before you agree to it, as agreeing to onerous restraint terms may significantly limit your career options after the employment ends.

Responding to a Workplace Investigation

Workplace investigations can be very stressful.  WorkLegal can advise you about the investigation process, so that you know where you stand.

Protecting your Reputation

Your reputation is an asset that you need to protect.  Reputational outcomes always need to be front of mind at every step in the employment journey, especially when dealing with a disciplinary investigation or negotiating terms of separation. 

For advice about your employment as a health care worker Contact WorkLegal today.

Have you experienced difficulty working in the health care industry? Contact us for early advice.

1300 223 398


Case Study – Medical practitioner restrained from setting up a Competing Business

Dr Yang was a general practitioner who was engaged as an independent contractor by Epichealth at a medical practice in Melbourne.  His contractor agreement included a clause restraining him from providing medical services to any other person within a distance of 25, 10 or 5km from the practice, within 12, 6 or 3 months after the termination of his contract.  In late August 2015 Dr Yang stopped providing medical services at Epicentre’s practice, about a month before the period of his termination notice to Epichealth was due to end.  It was revealed that from 1 August 2015 a rival medical practice had commenced business.  The rival practice was owned by a company of which Dr Yang was a director.  Epichealth successfully brought an interlocutory injunction in the Supreme Court of Victoria, and an order was made restraining Dr Yang from engaging in a rival medical practice for a period of 4 months after he ceased providing services for Epichealth.

Epichealth Pty Ltd v Yang [2015] VSC 516

Case Study – Order to “stop the bullying” in a hospital

Ms Watts was a catering assistant at a private hospital.  She made two complaints to HR and her direct manager about bullying by co-workers who she said were accusing her of inappropriate behaviour such as taking breaks that were too long, smelling of alcohol, not doing her job properly, and that she smelled of alcohol.  The Fair Work Commission observed that some of the complaints were not investigated by the employer even though it had a policy about workplace harassment.  An order was made to protect Ms Watts from further bullying.

Watts v Ramsey Health Care [2018] FWC 1455

Case Study – Dentists were employees not contractors, and unfair dismissal claim allowed

A dental clinic employee brought an unfair dismissal claim after her employment was terminated.  The dental clinic contended the claim should be dismissed as it was a “small business employer” that had complied with the small business fair dismissal code.  The FWC was required to rule if the dentists at the clinic were employees or contractors.  If they were employees then the practice was not a “small business” and the defence of compliance with the small business fair dismissal code was not available.  The Fair Work Commission examined the “contractor agreements” by which the dentists were engaged.  It observed that some clauses were indicative of employment – such as a restraint of trade clause, 2 weeks termination notice, and requirement to produce a medical certificate if unavailable for work due to illness, whereas other clauses were indicative of contracting – such as the remuneration structure and that no PAYG tax was deducted.   It was found that the dentists were employees, the small business code defence did not apply, and so the unfair dismissal claim could continue. 

 Chan v Advanced Health Invest Pty Ltd t/as Mastery Dental Clinic [2019] FWC 7824

Processes Affecting Health Practitioners

Click here for more information about processes affecting health practitioners. 

Need help?

Don’t leave it too late. Wherever you are in Australia we can help.


Call us for a no-obligation chat to assess if we can assist you:

1300 223 398


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Office: 155 Varsity Parade, Varsity Lakes, QLD 4217

Based in Gold Coast Queensland, we assist our valued clients wherever they are in Australia.