Dealing with Workplace Disputes
As lawyers, we can readily take matters to a Commission, Court or Tribunal. However, to save legal costs and to avoid the uncertainty of any contested hearing, the better way is mediation. This requires a skilled and qualified mediator to facilitate discussions, with the disputing parties to devise their own solutions. We have a nationally accredited mediator on our team who can assist with mediation and help avoid the expense, trouble and uncertainty of contested legal proceedings.
In a broader sense, industrial action can involve strikes, work bans, productivity interference or a lockout. Such action will be either protected or unprotected. Protected industrial action can happen during the course of enterprise bargaining and is advisable to avoid adverse legal consequences such as damages claims and the like.
If an employee’s protected rights are being infringed by an employer during the course of their employment but their employment is ongoing, then a complaint can be made to the Fair Work Ombudsman or an application for adverse action can be made to the Fair Work Commission seeking compensation and/or orders.
In instances of bullying, the legal consequences can be severe for the bully and the employer. There may be actions for breach of health and safety laws, Work Cover laws, the Fair Work law, as well as proceedings for breach of a duty of care in negligence or for breach of the contract of employment. If the bullying amounts to a crime, a police prosecution may result. Complaints about bullying can be made to the authorities and damages sought.
In cases of sexual harassment or discrimination, the legal consequences can also be severe for the perpetrator and the employer. Complaints can be made to the Fair Work Commission for compensation and orders about future conduct if there has been adverse action. Alternatively, complaint can be made to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission which will convene a Conciliation and then, if the complaint is not resolved, it can be determined by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Can we assist you with issues relating to workplace disputes?