What happens if I am under surveillance?

Monday 10 June 2019
Grace Bowran-Burge

At any stage during the life of your WorkCover claim the Insurer may place you under surveillance.  This is particularly common if you have just lodged a WorkCover claim; have made a lump sum claim or Serious Injury Application; or if you have legal proceedings on foot.

Surveillance must be conducted by a Private Investigation firm which has been registered with WorkSafe and the Victoria Police Licensing and Regulation Division.

Private Investigators are required to conduct surveillance activities in accordance with the Code of Practice for Private Investigators and the WorkSafe Claims Manual. 

What can a Private Investigator do?

  • A Private Investigator can conduct surveillance and record film from a public vantage point during an investigation.
  • A Private Investigator must keep written records of all investigations (and recorded whilst they are conducting the investigation), including surveillance, for 7 years.
  • A Private Investigator must keep any surveillance material confidential and cannot provide it to any other person or company without the express written permission of WorkSafe (unless that disclosure is required by law).

What can’t a Private Investigator do?

  • A Private Investigator must not communicate with any person other than the person under surveillance in a way which reveals surveillance is being conducted or indicates the person under surveillance is involved in dishonest conduct.
  • A Private Investigator must avoid any behaviour which might unreasonably interfere with a person’s legitimate expectation of privacy. For example, a Private Investigator should not undertake surveillance within private residential premises used solely for domestic purposes, at any religious or ceremonial occasion, or at any educational facility.

If you are under surveillance and believe the Private Investigator is not complying with their obligations, you can make a complaint to WorkSafe. If your complaint is supported by WorkSafe, they may issue a caution to the Private Investigation firm, suspend or cancel the firm’s WorkSafe registration or refer the matter to the Victoria Police Licensing and Regulation Division.

What should I do if I am under surveillance?

Surveillance has the potential to be damaging to your claim if it indicates an inconsistency, i.e. if it demonstrates you have a greater capacity for work than you or your doctors have stated.

For this reason it is important to be honest with your doctors about the nature of your injury and the restrictions you experience in your everyday life. It is also important that you comply with your doctor’s instructions and any restrictions they recommend.

If you have been injured at work, it is important you get the right advice early.  Contact one of our friendly lawyers today for free advice on (03) 9321 9988.

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