Employment Law Solicitors - Compensation Lawyers
We deal with claims arising throughout Australia which has one of the most regulated and legally complex employment markets in the world offering thorough protection to employees through national and state legislation. We offer access to specialist employment law solicitors for employees and executives, who give advice on how to deal with employment issues in a fair, equitable and lawful manner. Recent changes in legislation have extended the arsenal which can be put to use by employees to ensure that they receive a fair deal from employers and our employment law solicitors offer advice on a wide range of issues including industrial relations, discrimination, harassment, unlawful dismissal, redundancy and employment rights. Our employment law solicitors deal with all classes of employees ranging from the most junior staff up to senior executives who have been unfairly treated. We also draft and advise upon restrictive covenants and deeds of release which apply if an employer has offered an employee financial terms to preclude an application for damages.
Employment law solicitors can take advantage of extensive Australian anti-discrimination legislation which makes it unlawful to discriminate against an employee or potential employee on the basis of a wide range of issues including sex, race, sexual preference. pregnancy, disability, religion and age. Discrimination can be either direct or indirect which may be simply a more subtle approach to a deliberate intention. Discrimination is still unlawful even if it was not intended. The legislation utilised by employment law solicitors, covering issues of discrimination, is contained in the following statutes :-
- Racial Discrimination Act 1975
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992
- Age Discrimination Act 2004
- Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986
- Fair Work Act 2009
- Workplace Relations Act 1996
Harassment is unwanted conduct usually based on gender, race, sexual orientation or age which is unwanted and affects the dignity of men or women whilst at work. It does not matter that the behaviour was not intended to be offensive to the recipient, what counts is the effect that the behaviour actually had on the recipient. This behaviour can include unwelcome or hostile act or a series of acts and includes abusive language and jokes, offensive behaviour, name-calling, damage to property, offensive written or visual material including graffiti/vandalism. A slightly different form of harassment is victimisation which occurs when a person is treated less favourably than others due to seeking legal advice on employment matters. Harassment issues can be complex legal matters and if you have been a victim of this type of behaviour you should not hesitate to take advice from a qualified employment law solicitor.
Australian law classes wrongful dismissal as either unfair, which occurs when the dismissal is harsh, unjust or unreasonable or unlawful, which occurs when the dismissal is based on unacceptable reasons which are outlined in the Workplace Relations Act 1996. Both unfair dismissal and unlawful dismissal amount to wrongful acts justifying an application for compensation or reinstatement. In addition the doctrine of ‘constructive dismissal’ is often used by employment law solicitors, which occurs when an employee has no other realistic alternative than to terminate their own employment due to unlawful behaviour by the employer which entitles the employee to claim wrongful dismissal and seek compensation.
An employee may be entitled to redundancy pay if an employer decides that they no longer want that employees job to be done by anyone and terminates their employment. This can occur due to new technology, business recession, relocation, mergers or restructuring. There are strict regulations that an employer must follow to justify a redundancy situation. In certain circumstances a dishonest employer may use a sham redundancy as a method of terminating employment which is cheaper than other alternatives and this amounts to unlawful dismissal for which damages are payable.
Deed of Release
There may come a time when an employer and employee decide by mutual consent to terminate the employer/employee relationship and in doing so both may want a clean break with no possibility of further retribution in the future. In these cases both sides may consult employment law solicitors to draft a legally binding agreement whereby an employee accepts financial recompense in exchange for agreeing to certain contractual terms. The advantage of a deed of release is that it provides certainty for both parties and precludes the possibility of expensive court proceedings in the future. Many of these agreements are generous to the employee – some are not.