Dealing With Obstructive Employee’s

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Dealing With Obstructive Employee’s

On Wednesday, 21st June, mlcoa QLD hosted an educational event called “Dealing with Obstructive Employee’s” presented by Barrister Mr. John Dwyer.

Barrister Mr. John Dwyer provided framework around lawful and reasonable direction for an IME. The presentation assumes back ground of lawful and reasonable direction and will deal with practical advice for dealing with obstructive employee’s and their representatives.

Mr. Dwyer educated the group avoiding conflict with strategies included to minimise these, including communicate, documents, offer reassurance, take personal approach, if in doubt think about how it will sound in court.

Mr. Dwyer also provided broad education in regards to types of obstruction:

  • Passive – avoidance, non-communicative, puts up barriers.
  • Aggressive- goes on the attack, criticises the process and creates doubt.
  • Both of the above statements have the same goal to derail the IME
  • If managed properly, the merely delay the inevitable.

Further detail of the above points:

Passive Obstruction

  • Seeks to avoid
  • Best tactic for avoidance isnot being at work
  • Personal/ carers leave
  • Stress leave
  • Annual leave
  • The extent to which an IME direction can override these absences depends on the factors of each case.


  • Never force the issue
  • Strive for consensus
  • Communicate
  • Documents
  • Be Patient!

Aggressive Obstruction

  • This approach usually supported or facilitated by union rep/ advocate/ lawyer
  • Undermines confidence in process


  • Never force the issue
  • Strive for consensus
  • Communicate
  • Document
  • No one engages rep/ lawyer to settle
  • Litigation has commenced
  • Litigation not for amateurs

Mr. Dwyer concluded in advising that:

  • Each situation will be uniquely different
  • Obstructive employees are delaying not avoiding
  • Communicate
  • Be patient – you will prevail
  • Document
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