Employment & Industrial Relations
The team at DSA Law can provide advice on a range of Employment Law matters. We have assisted both employers and employees with contract negotiation and preparation, policy and procedure, and termination and redundancy.
- Employment Contracts
- Unfair Dismissal
- Disciplinary Issues
- Confidentiality and Restraints
Employment and Industrial Relations is a highly politicised area of law, and as such, is constantly in a state of flux. It is an extremely complex area of law, which also involves aspects of Constitutional Law, Contract Law, International Law, Discrimination Law, and Superannuation and Taxation Law.
It is an area that can seem like a minefield – at DSA Law, we will provide legal advice to assist employers and employees alike, to navigate this minefield.
We provide legal advice as to all aspects of employment, including, but not limited to:
- Employment Contracts, the National Employment Standards, Modern Awards, and Enterprise Agreements.
- Workplace Policy and Procedure, and workplace grievances, including claims for workplace injuries, sexual harassment, discrimination, and bullying.
- Ending employment, whether by termination or redundancy.
At DSA Law, we have advised a wide range of employers, whether it be family businesses employing less than fifteen employees, or big corporations with a large workforce.
All employees are now covered by the National Employment Standards (“NES”). The NES provide all employees with ten minimum standards including workplace entitlements such as annual leave, personal leave, parental leave and other rights such as minimum notice periods for termination and requests for flexible working arrangements.
Most employees are also covered by the Modern Awards scheme, which provide further standards specific to different industries and professions. The Modern Awards provide for standards including minimum wages based on employee classification, penalty rates, overtime rates, and procedures for consultation, representation and dispute settlement.
At DSA Law, we will assist in the negotiation of employment and the preparation of employment contracts, and provide detailed and specific advice as to the effect of the NES and Modern Awards in your specific area of employment.
Workplace Policy & Procedure
There is a multitude of legislation, in both State and Federal jurisdictions, which provides for specific processes and remedies available to aggrieved employees. This includes the following:
- Workers’ Compensation for workplace injuries under the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).
- Complaints relating to Discrimination under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) or the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth).
- Applications for Stop Bullying Orders under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
We will help employers implement the correct procedures and policies to deal with workplace grievances. By implementing strong procedures and policies, employers can better place themselves for dealing with employee grievances and avoid the unnecessary stress and cost of formal legal complaints.
We have experience assisting employees who have sustained injury in the workplace, or been the victim of bullying or discrimination, to seek redress for their grievances.
We also have experience in representing employers when responding to complaints or applications lodged by employees.
Termination & Redundancy
At DSA Law, we will advise employers as to how to lawfully terminate an employee and limit the employer’s exposure to claims for unlawful termination. Equally, we advise employers as to the proper process to carry out redundancies, and the legal consequences, including an employee’s entitlement to redundancy pay.
Whilst we can advise as to lawful terminations and thereby limit your exposure to claims for unlawful termination, there is no guarantee a terminated employee will not attempt to seek compensation. An employee may claim they have been wrongly terminated, and lodge either an application for Unfair Dismissal or General Protections with the Fair Work Commission (“the FWC”).
An Unfair Dismissal claim is brought where the terminated employee believes the termination was carried out in a manner which was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. In an Unfair Dismissal claim the FWC considers how the termination was carried out.
On the other hand, a General Protections claim is brought where the terminated employee believes he/she was terminated for a prohibited reason (e.g. where an employee is terminated because they exercise a workplace right). In these cases, the Court considers why the termination occurred.
At DSA Law, we have experience dealing with Unfair Dismissals and General Protections applications, acting for both the employer and employee, at both the FWC and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. If you are an employer who is responding to an Unfair Dismissal or General Protections application, or an employee who wishes to make such an application, we can assist you at all stages of these proceedings.
Restraints of Trade
Employees are often in receipt of confidential information and intellectual property of an employer, including the employer’s client lists and trade secrets. At DSA Law, we understand the importance and significance of protecting that confidential information and intellectual property. We will assist employers to draft employment contracts which may help to protect that information.
Where an employee leaves an employer, we will then advise the employer as to how to further protect their confidential information and intellectual property. We have experience in proceedings against employees for injunctive relief in the Supreme Court of Victoria, where employees have left and stolen employer’s confidential information.