Employment Law

Employment Law

Employment law covers employees’ rights, obligations and entitlements in the workplace, but it also deals with workplace safety, bullying and discrimination.

Employee

We can represent both employers and employees and provide advice in relation to:

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Restrictive covenants (such as restraint of trade clauses)
  • Employment contracts
  • Any breach of an agreement, award or employment contract
  • Subcontract agreements
  • Disputes with employees, employers or contractors
  • Unpaid wages, benefits and entitlements
  • Bullying or discrimination in the workplace

Unfair Dismissal Claims

If you are have been dismissed by your employer, and you feel that your dismissal was unreasonable, unjust or harsh, as an employee you may be able to lodge an application for an ‘Unfair Dismissal Remedywith the Fair Work Commission.

Generally, your dismissal takes effect on the day you stop working (regardless of any notice period) and so an application to the Fair Work Commission must be made within 21 or 28 days depending on whether Commonwealth or State law applies. It may be possible to seek ‘leave’ to bring an application out of time depending on the circumstances.

Not every employee is entitled to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. An employee may not qualify because he/she earns more than a prescribed amount or has not worked long enough for an employer.

Restrictive Covenant

Employment

As a condition of employment, employers sometimes require an employee to agree to a restrictive covenant as a condition of employment.  Restrictive covenants are usually designed to protect employers from losing customers or staff should employees decide to leave and set up their own business in competition.

Whether restrictive covenants are enforceable can be highly technical and legal advice should be obtained as early as possible to avoid legal disputes.

Subcontract Arrangements

Subcontractor

Many businesses engage subcontractors (tradespeople for example). A subcontractor issues invoices to the business for services rendered and is not an employee.

From an employer’s point of view it is very important to ensure that a subcontracting arrangement is legitimate.  Any written agreement will not assist if the subcontractor is in fact an employee (having regard to the relevant tests).  If, for example, the subcontractor is considered to be an employee by the Australian Tax Office, then the employer may be liable for PAYG payments that should have been made as well as interest and penalties.  The employer may also be liable retrospectively for superannuation and any other entitlements/payments, which the person who is deemed to be an employee, should have received. For more information visit;

https://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/fact-sheets/rights-and-obligations/independent-contractors-and-employees

Subcontract arrangements in place of employment arrangements have become common. Some subcontract agreements can be very long and complex depending on the industry you are in. If you find yourself in a situation where you are asked to sign unfamiliar and complex legal documents you should consider seeking legal advice. We will provide a realistic estimate of the cost. In some cases we may be able to provide a fixed fee or cap our fees.

Signing complex documents without fully understanding them is risky and could lead to costly disputes.

Our commercial lawyers can review, draft and negotiate a range of subcontract agreements and employment contracts. We can provide you with practical advice to ensure that you are not taking on unnecessary risks and obligations. We will point out any unusual terms and ensure that you understand your contractual obligations and the consequences of not fulfilling them.

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