When you encounter a situation that doesn’t make sense or feels wrong, it usually is. This could apply to various situations, but in this context, we’re talking about your employment conditions.

It’s a good idea to have a professional look over your Employment Agreement. This is a document that outlines the terms and conditions of your employment. They can help challenge or invalidate contracts that are unfair or unjust. They can also review your work environment to ensure you’re being treated fairly and correctly.

Our work is guided by several key pieces of legislation:

  • The Fair Work Act of 2009: This is an Australian law that provides a safety net of minimum entitlements, enables flexible working arrangements and fairness at work, and prevents discrimination against employees.
  • Industrial Relations Act: This is a law that governs the relationship between employers, employees, and unions in the workplace.
  • Act on Occupational Health & Safety: This law ensures that workplaces are safe and healthy for all employees.
  • Laws on Privacy: These laws protect your personal information from being misused by your employer.
  • Details regarding various awards (State and Federal): Awards are legal documents that outline the minimum pay rates and conditions of employment. There are both state and federal awards, which apply to different groups of employees.

In summary, it’s important to understand your rights and obligations as an employee, and to seek professional advice if something doesn’t seem right. This is where we come in, using our knowledge of the above laws and regulations to ensure you’re being treated fairly.

In this case

Leah is a barista. She was underpaid 47 cents per hour because her employer had incorrectly classified her. The error lead to underpayments of Leah’s ordinary hourly rate, as well as her weekend and public holiday penalty rates over several months.

After being informed through an intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman, the café repaid her, as well as remedied the underpayment of 5 other café workers.

If you work in the restaurant industry, check with us that you are being paid correctly and in accordance with the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.

Whether underpayments are careless or malicious, they are wrongs that need to be made right.

In another case

Dean had worked at a coal mine for 17 years when he organised a protest against cuts to laundry services at the mine. The laundry services had been a condition of Dean and others’ enterprise agreement for many years.

Dean was initially suspended on full pay, and later sacked, with the employer claiming among other things that the publicity from this industrial action had damaged their reputation. The Fair Work Commission ruled this was adverse action and an unlawful dismissal and Dean was reinstated and repaid for lost work.

It is unlawful for employers to retaliate when workers stand up for their rights. If you are being threatened or intimidated for taking industrial action, ask us to assess your matter. You might be protected.

For employers, it is always recommended to consult an experienced advocate when making changes that will affect your workforce. Head to our employer page to find out more.

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