Workplace disputes often arise from disagreements over duties and rights within the workplace.
The most common type of workplace disputes concern underpayment of wages or other entitlements such as accrued annual leave and redundancy pay. However, disputes can also involve allegations of bullying, unequal opportunities often known as anti-discrimination, as well as entitlements under contracts of employment, modern awards or enterprise agreements.
Disputes can commonly be resolved internally. However when they can’t, it is not unusual for employees to escalate that dispute to approach the Fair Work Commission (Commission) or anti-discrimination bodies/tribunals, the Fair Work Ombudsman, or a court in certain cases. This will depend on the type of dispute involved.
Business owners must understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to workplace disputes to ensure they are complying with their legal responsibilities.
When there is a bullying, harassment or anti-discrimination dispute, employers are required by law to have a policy in place which includes a grievance process to enable the matter to first be dealt with internally.
In other cases where the dispute involves a modern award or enterprise agreement, these instruments provide a dispute settlement process and often mandate that the internal process must be followed before the matter could be referred to the Commission.
Most commonly, with modern award disputes, the Commission can only make a binding decision if both parties agree. However, the Commission can conciliate the matter. In the case of most enterprise agreements, the Commission can make a binding decision if it is unable to resolve the dispute by conciliation.
Even when there is no legal requirement to have an internal grievance procedure in place, it is recommended that business owners do so in order to resolve disputes where they can internally and reduce the risk of an employee or ex-employee taking the dispute to an external body.
Business owners should also ensure that any internal grievance process is up to date.
Employsure Law is the partner law firm for Australia’s leading workplace relations consultancy company, Employsure. It provides litigation workplace law services to Employsure clients.
Employsure Law understands how the small business sector works and offers business owners high quality, cost-effective, practical legal advice and representation. Business owners can take comfort knowing that they are supported by an expert legal team if they are facing claims or litigation.
In its first year of operation, it was Employment Law Specialist Firm of the Year and its Head of Legal was a finalist for 2019 Workplace Relations Partner of the Year.
The dedicated legal team will support Employsure clients with advice and, if need be, representation in all aspects of claims or litigation.
Access to a dedicated legal team who will help you through all stages of your claim.
Competitive or fixed fee services for Employsure clients.
A fast, personalised service.
Call us to speak with a member of our team for immediate assistance or send us an enquiry.
Not an Employsure client? That’s ok, we will first refer you to Employsure for an initial discussion.