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Home | Employment & Industrial Relations | Employment Disputes

Resolving Workplace Disputes

Many people encounter difficulties in the course of their employment. Our expert employment law team offer pragmatic, sensible advice which can assist in the resolution of a workplace issue or, if needed, a negotiated release from the employment.

Common types of issues that may arise in a workplace include:

  • Discrimination
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Adverse Action
  • Underpayment of Wages and Entitlements
  • Harassment and Bullying

FAQ

What is dispute resolution?

What is dispute resolution?

Many workers are entitled to formal dispute resolution procedures in their workplace. Turner Freeman can provide clear, confidential advice to ensure that you are in the best position possible.

At Turner Freeman, we believe that we serve our client’s interests in relation to their employment by providing clear advice on the best course of course of action to deal with the problem. Often this advice will be against the immediate commencement of legal proceedings, or even formal representation in the dispute by lawyers.

Instead we will often look to internal dispute settlement processes and grievance procedures, as well as dispute settlement processes under awards and agreements. Where possible, it is important that a workplace problem does not inevitably lead to the end of the employment. Sensible advice will often not be to commence legal proceedings.

These dispute settlement procedures are sometimes required before legal steps can be taken.

Turner Freeman is able to provide discrete pragmatic advice throughout the conduct of dispute procedures. This advice can include defendant allegations of misconduct so as to avoid the possibility of termination, or assisting in finding sensible outcomes to other clashes between work colleagues.

What is adverse action?

What is adverse action?

If you are terminated from your employment for one of the abovementioned reasons such as race, disability, age or other unlawful reason you may also be able to make an adverse action claim in Fair Work. (See the termination section of our site).  Time limits apply.

What do I do if I believe I have been underpaid?

What do I do if I believe I have been underpaid?

Employees will generally have entitlements arising under their contract of employment, workplace policies, Awards or industrial instrument (such as an EBA) as well as legislation.

Generally, when there is conflict between the different entitlements, workers should receive the most beneficial of their wages and entitlements.

If you believe you may have been underpaid or that you are owed employee entitlements contact Turner Freeman for advice.

Time limits apply to the making of underpayment claims.

What is unlawful discrimination?

What is unlawful discrimination?

Unlawful discrimination occurs when a person treats another less favourably because of a specific quality or attribute that that person has, or is believed to have. The specific qualities and attributes protected by law include:

  • A person’s race
  • A person’s sex
  • A person’s pregnancy or marital status
  • A person’s religion
  • A person’s sexual preference
  • A person’s age
  • A person’s disability
  • A person’s family or career’s responsibilities
  • A person’s political opinion

What is bullying and harassment?

What is bullying and harassment?

Bullying and harassment are far more difficult to define than they are to understand when experienced.

Harassment is generally understood to include conduct that is unwelcomed and that humiliates, offends or intimidates. Bullying, a form of harassment includes conduct such as:

  • Unfair or excessive criticism;
  • Treating some employees differently to other employees;
  • Publically insulting the victims;
  • Constantly changing or setting unrealistic work targets; and
  • Undervaluing employee’s efforts at work.

What can I do if I have been bullied or harassed at work?

What can I do if I have been bullied or harassed at work?

People who are being harassed and bullied potentially have a number of different remedies available to them.

  • Discrimination complaint - If the bullying and harassment is due, in whole or in part, to their race, sex, age (or another prohibited ground).
  • Adverse action claim - if the bullying and harassment is because they sought to exercise a workplace right (potentially including making a complaint about workplace bullying and harassment)
  • Complaint to the employer under under workplace policies, or under their contract of employment.
  • Workers Compensation claim - if you develop a recognised psychiatric disorder as a consequence of bullying and harassment at work then you may have entitlements under Workers Compensation and you should consult your general practitioner.

What is sexual harassment?

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is generally considered to be a form of sex discrimination.

What happens if I am accused of discriminating against another person?

What happens if I am accused of discriminating against another person?

For people responding to allegations Turner Freeman are able to assist by:

  • Ensuring that people are aware of the precise nature of the allegations being made against them;
  • Ensuring that the process of investigation is fair;
  • Advising on a response;
  • Assisting with dealing with the findings of any investigation, including as the possible termination of employment.

Are there time limits that apply to making a discrimination claim?

Are there time limits that apply to making a discrimination claim?

There are very strict time limits for the commencement of a claim alleging discrimination. A general protections application which led to the termination of employment (for example termination on the grounds of race), must be commenced within 21 days of termination.

A claim in the Australian Human Rights Commission must be brought within one (1) year of the discriminatory treatment that is the subject of the complaint.

You should however contact us as soon as possible to prevent such discriminatory conduct.

The law relating to discrimination is complex. Turner Freeman has expertise in advising clients through the maze of different rights, entitlements and protections.

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