Employment Law is one of the key areas for businesses that you will have to navigate routinely. It’s also an area that if businesses don’t comply then it can be quite costly. If your business does not comply with the right employment laws, your business can be at stake as your business reputation will take a major hit both internally and externally.
We routinely act for clients in a wide variety of workplace related matters and disputes. For more specific information click below:
We understand the needs of employers and provide concise advice and quality agreements.
Click here to see the range of legal services our employment lawyers can help with.
See more on what legal advice we provide for Contractors & Sub-Contractors.
We can offer advice on a wide range of employment related matters:
Our employment lawyers understand a wide range of commercial and business matters and legal requirements. We will work hard to ensure that your rights are protected and you achieve your commercial outcomes.
Our team are professional commercial lawyers and our work is of a very high quality. We work with you to ensure that your agreements and advice is comprehensive and that your employment agreements and contracts are fully effective once in place.
To discuss your employment legal needs further contact us on 1300 907 335 or complete an online enquiry form.
An employment contract in simple terms is a contract which sets out the rights and responsibilities of both the employer and the employee. These rights include remuneration or wages, work hours, the duration of employment, duties, tasks, entitlements and benefits etc. From an employer’s perspective such employment contracts may cover confidentiality, handling employer’s social media sites and content (communication), non-compete clauses, information on solving disputes at work etc.
An employment contract plays a major role in clearly defining the job and the role offered by an employer or prospective employer. Such contract must not provide less than the legal minimum set out in the National Employment Standard (NES) or any enterprise agreements, other registered agreements or awards that may apply. It is important to note that all employees who are eligible to work in Australia are automatically covered by the NES regardless of whether they sign an employment contract.
Differences exist between employment contracts in each sector because the nature of the work and goals of an employer are different. There are also different types of employment contracts based on whether the employee is a full-time, part-time, casual or fixed term employee.
All persons working in Australia are entitled to general workplace protections. Some of the general protections provided in the Fair Work Act 2009 include workplace rights, the right to engage in industrial activities, right to be free from unlawful discrimination, the right to be free from undue influence or pressure in work places.
These rights are protected from certain unlawful actions such as adverse action, coercion, misrepresentation, unfair dismissal etc. General protections are important to regulate the conduct of such adverse action by an employer against employee.
A general protection claim refers to an action taken by a person whose rights under the general protections have been infringed. There is no minimum employment period for lodging such claim.
There two general protection disputes:
It should be noted that a general protections dismissal dispute cannot be heard by a court without both parties attempting to resolve the issue at a conciliation mediated by the Fair Work Commission. (Commission). If the dispute is not resolved at such conciliation, the Commission will issue a certificate and the party can chose to make an application to court within 14 days of such certificate being issued.
If the claim involves an adverse action against a person (not involving dismissal), such as being demoted, or being denied a pay increase, harassment due to political opinions etc, then such person can chose to make an application to the Commission or make an application to court. Such application can be lodged at the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court and should be lodged within 6 years from the date of the alleged adverse or unlawful conduct.
Constructive dismissal refers to a resignation where an employee feels that they have no choice but to leave their place of work because of poor work conditions, bullying and harassment, underpaying, poor treatment etc. This could also refer to situations where they have been offered a resignation instead of a termination and have no recourse but to take it.
The Fair Work Act 2009 provides that a person will be deemed to have been unfairly dismissed if “the person has resigned from his or her employment, but was forced to do so because of conduct, or a course of conduct, engaged in by his or her employer”.(section 386(1)(b)).
A few examples of constructive dismissal include:
It must be proved by the employee when bringing an action against an employer for constructive dismissal that the employer’s conduct was the principal contributing factor to which led the employee to resign, as they had no other option.
A restraint of trade clause is a clause that could be included in an employment contract which limits employees from working for prospective employers who may be direct competitors of their current employer. Employers often use these clauses as an attempt to protect their business interests or trade secrets. Some clauses may seek to prevent employees from starting up competing businesses for a set period or within a specific location.
Restraint of trade clauses typically operate for a particular period, such as three months six months, or twelve months after the termination of an employment contract and within a geographical area in proximity to the employer’s place of business.
A restraint of trade clause will be enforceable only if the court deems it is reasonable. An employer cannot rely on a restraint clause where the employee has deemed to be constructively dismissed. Restrictive clauses are not an essential component in employment contracts because there is an inherent protection regarding confidential information.