EMPLOYMENT LAW

Melbourne Lawyers & Mediators is an experienced employment law firm having been involved in a range of workplace employment and unfair dismissal matters. We can assist with:
  • Advising you and providing representation for cases of unfair dismissal
  • Negotiating the resolution of industrial and workplace disputes
  • Drafting and reviewing employment contracts, terms, and conditions
  • Advising on termination of employment
  • Drafting terms and conditions of internet and email usage
  • Discrimination and harassment issues
Employee disputes and unfair dismissal
If you have been dismissed from your job in Melbourne with very little or no warning and you think your dismissal fits the definition of being dismissed in a ‘harsh, unjust, or unreasonable manner’, you may be eligible to apply for unfair dismissal and to receive reinstatement, damages, or compensation.
What counts as unfair dismissal?
You may have been unfairly dismissed in a ‘harsh, unjust, or unreasonable manner’ if:
  • there wasn’t a valid reason for your dismissal
  • you were not notified of a reason before you were dismissed
  • you were not given an opportunity to respond to the reason for your dismissal before you were dismissed
  • you were not previously warned about unsatisfactory performance
  • you were dismissed because of your race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, or nationality, or due to a temporary absence from work due to an injury
If any of these or similar circumstances sound familiar, you may have been unfairly dismissed and entitled to pursue a claim.
Making an unfair dismissal claim

If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed, you can file an unfair dismissal application with the Fair Work Commission for reinstatement or compensation.

It is critical to lodge an unfair dismissal application within 21 days of your dismissal becoming effective. Day one commences the day following your dismissal. If you miss the deadline, the Commission may extend the time period for lodging the application only if it is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances for not lodging the application on time.

If you need legal advice regarding an unfair dismissal in Melbourne, our employment and discrimination lawyers can help.

Have you been made redundant?

Under the Fair Work Act 2009, an unfair dismissal is one which is harsh, unjust, or unreasonable, or not as a result of a genuine redundancy. Redundancy occurs when an employer no longer requires the employee’s job to be done by any other person. Subject to the employee’s length of service and type and conditions of employment, the employee may be entitled to redundancy pay.
Typically, redundancy occurs when a business needs to restructure or downsize due to economic decline, and/or new technology is introduced to improve efficiency resulting in fewer employees being required. Redundancies may also occur when a business shuts down, transfers ownership, or becomes insolvent.
If a purported redundancy is not genuine, an employer could face an unfair dismissal claim. If your employment has been terminated due to a purported redundancy and you do not consider this to be a genuine redundancy, speak to one of our employment lawyers.

Employee or contractor?

The distinction between an employee and a contractor has been tested frequently in various cases and is even more relevant as we move further away from traditional forms of employment.
Employees generally have PAYG tax withheld, and superannuation paid by the employer. Contractors generally look after their own tax obligations. However, it is rarely as simple as that. The entirety of the relationship must be analysed to determine the correct status, which might consider the following:
  • the degree of control the employer has over the worker
  • whether the worker works exclusively for the employer
  • the provision of a uniform, business cards, etc. from the employer
  • whether the worker undertakes work personally or is free to delegate to others
  • the method of payment for the work performed – whether at an hourly rate or on completion of a specific project
  • the responsibility for acquisition and maintenance of equipment
  • the allocation of risk and profit associated with the work
  • the degree of integration the worker has with the entity for which it works
Working as a contractor when the arrangement should really be that of an employer/employee, means you could be missing out on important workplace entitlements and protections. If you have been working as an independent contractor or have been asked to work as a contractor rather than an employee and wish to determine the proper status of your relationship, we can help.
Managing risk in the workplace – employer advice
Employers may not be expert in every aspect of employment law. They should, however, understand their primary obligations and anticipate when a potential problem requires the advice of an expert.
Education and information are key to minimising workplace disputes. Employers should understand and comply with their workplace responsibilities and ensure that their employees are educated and encouraged to contribute towards a safe work environment. Amongst other things, this requires recognising the types of conduct (whether intentional or otherwise) that could breach a workplace law and proactively identifying and managing at-risk behaviour through well-structured policies and systems.
We can help manage and mitigate a range of workplace matters and potential issues by providing advice and guidance, and drafting contracts, policies and procedures.
Melbourne Lawyers & Mediators is a progressive and culturally sensitive law firm based in Broadmeadows and central Prahran. We have extensive experience in employee disputes and unfair dismissal claims and represent clients from a range of industries facing many different workplace issues. We have experience in contract law, discrimination law and workplace law. If you are facing a workplace issue or have been subjected to a breach of contract, an unfair or wrongful dismissal, workplace discrimination, bullying, harassment, or work-related stress, we can help.
If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 1800 99 31 32 for expert legal advice.