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Employment Law: Contracts, Disputes, Dismissal and Discrimination

Our employment practice is geared to the realities that confront people in a challenging, increasingly pressured modern workplace.

We offer legal advice and counsel on every aspect affecting you in negotiating a new employment contract, responding to the offer of a job, dealing with issues once in employment, and finally with post-employment matters such as dismissal and redundancy.

As one of Australia’s most respected industrial law practice, with a history of landmark cases spanning 40 years, individuals can tap into our expertise to deal with issues that arise within the scope of their employment.

An executive employment agreement advisory service

We operate an expert service for senior executives who are negotiating positions, including advice about the terms of contracts or agreements with prospective employers.

This high level service has a particular focus on the sectors of health, IT&T, and banking & finance.

Screening a job or employment offer

Employers often draft contracts that predominantly reflect their needs. We can strengthen your hand to ensure your interests are protected. Often we find that organisations simply copy or modify an existing contract or old template that is faulty and does not meet basic standards demanded by relevant legislation or the needs of a particular employee.

It can pay in the long run to obtain the right expert advice on your contract before you sign. Otherwise, you run the risk of signing away additional entitlements.

Many clients seek us out for advice when negotiating the terms of a job offer, or in vetting a draft employment contract offered by a prospective or existing employer. We will review your contract, advise on unusual or onerous conditions, and determine whether it complies with relevant national employment standards like the provision of annual leave, sick leave and parental leave; assess the severity of any disciplinary measures, and the adequacy of any termination and redundancy provisions.

In our extensive experience, common deficiencies within employer-offered contacts include:

  • Inadequate termination and redundancy provisions
  • Onerous restraints of trade after the employment relationship ends
  • Unreasonable powers reserved for the employer to reallocate duties and responsibilities to staff, or even to demote or relocate employees to new locations.

Issues arising during employment

Hopefully you are never in conflict with your employer. The reality is that many people are, often through no fault of their own. These occasions can be stressful and intimidating, where the balance of power feels almost entirely in the hands of your boss.

Disciplinary matters

We stand by clients who are intimidated or feel aggrieved by having a performance or conduct warning issued without justification. Disciplinary and performance issues may lead clients to be suspended from duties, with or sometimes unlawfully without pay.

Furthermore, employers who are determined to sideline or remove an employee will conduct their own internal investigations on the basis of allegations of misconduct, fraud, bullying and theft. Sometimes external private consultants carry out these investigations. The conduct of these investigations can be at odds with company policy, dispute settlement procedures in enterprise agreements or principles of fairness.

We advise clients on a full range of disciplinary matters and can represent you on issues where tribunals may be involved. If for example you are issued with warning that you feel is unjustified, we can advise you on what to do.

Anti-discrimination and Equal Opportunity Law

We also advise clients on matters of discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. For more on these services please refer to our Discrimination and Harassment page

Breaches of Contract, Awards and Agreements

Our team will advise you on any concerns you may have about possible breaches of your contract, Award or Agreement, including the underpayment of wages and other entitlements.

Post-employment problems

Redundancy payouts and contract terminations

We find that it is not uncommon for workers who have been dismissed to be shortchanged their proper entitlements, including in relation to redundancy. After the employment relationship ends, workers may also face onerous and unreasonable restraints on their ability to continue working in the industry or profession.

Often, the terms under which an employee, and in particular a highly paid employee, has their employment terminated prematurely, are either contested or else are not specified within an agreement. Contractual disputes can be protracted and require expert legal counsel.

Even if you have no written contract of employment, you could have significant rights on dismissal.

Unfair dismissal

Our team regularly acts in matters covering claims of unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal.

Call 1300 366 441 or find us at an office near you for advice on any industrial, employment or discrimination matter.