Employment & Industrial Relations Law
One of the most critical aspects of a business is its employees. From hiring staff to defending a wrongful termination claim, our employment lawyers have experience advising on all areas of employment law.
Our employment lawyers work with a wide range of businesses from small start-ups to large multinational companies to ensure they are compliant with the ever-changing requirements of employment law.
We are also well-versed in advising in the areas of industrial and workplace relations and work with our clients to manage the process of collective bargaining and provide strategic advice when industrial issues arise.
Employment and industrial relations law services
- Advising on employee termination
- Terms and Conditions for systems use
- Business policies and procedures
- Advising on employee vs contractor engagements
- Independent Contractor Agreements
- Advising on protection intellectual property
- Advising on restraint of trade clauses
- Advising on employee rights, unfair dismissal and confidentiality agreements
- Advising on employee disputes
- Providing representation for cases of unfair dismissal, redundancy and general protection
- Advising on discrimination and harrassment issues
- Contractor disputes
- WorkCover matters
Industrial and workplace law
- Drafting and negotiating the resolution of industrial disputes
- Drafting and negotiating Enterprise Agreements
- Risk management of workplace hazards
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Words from our clients
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I have been working with these guys for years now. With lots of hard work and timely communication, they made sure they delivered the best to me. Highly recommended.
We are so relieved as our business is now confident we have every employment agreement and document in place that we need to manage our large team of employees.
JJ Ryan Consulting
We had some gaps in our legals and we were confused with what was and wasn’t a priority. Before finding Legal Kitz and Business Kitz we were having issues finding access to quality, thorough and easy to navigate legal advice that was also affordable for a start up/small business budget. Legal Kitz provided fantastic and easy to understand legal support for our business. Both teams have been incredibly helpful and friendly. They are now our ‘go to’ for business and legal support.
Agreements created by high-quality solicitors. They are comprehensive so you don’t have to worry about it, or engage expensive lawyers which we have done in the past. I was amazed by the quality of the documents and they are very consistent as well. Companies our size wouldn’t normally have the chance to access services like these.
Why Legal Kitz employment lawyers?
Our employment lawyers have real-world commercial experience and deeply understand the potential legal pitfalls. This gives us the ability to help you navigate both legal issues and legal opportunities to get the best possible outcomes.
- Outstanding commercial experience
- Real clarity on costs
- Great communication with our clients
We pride ourselves on providing the best, most comprehensive employment law and policy advisory service.
We help give businesses security so they can make better decisions and grow on their own terms.
Commercial & effective
As business owners ourselves we intrinsically understand the drivers and challenges of business.
Employment and Industrial Relations Law FAQs
How long does an Enterprise Agreement last?
The period in which the agreement is in effect is dependent on when the Fair Work Commission approves the agreement. In an enterprise agreement, the expiry date must be no longer than four years from the date of the Fair Work Commission’s approval of the agreement. This term must be contained in the agreement for both parties to clearly identify the duration of the agreement. Once the Fair Work Commission has approved the agreement, it is in force and legally binding on all employers and employees who are covered by the agreement.
If your business is considering entering into an enterprise agreement, you should seek legal advice. Legal Kitz employment lawyers can assist with ensuring that your enterprise agreement is drafted so that you may avoid disputes from vague terminology or missing essential clauses for the operation of the enterprise agreement.
What is victimisation in employment law?
Victimisation in the context of employment law occurs when the unlawful treatment of a person occurs within the workplace. Such acts of victimisation occur when the actions of an individual or group of people subject or threaten to subject another person to any detriment. The main feature of victimisation is when a person feels that they are being punished for speaking out or they are inhibited from raising their concerns due to the repercussions that follow in doing so.
An example of when a person may be victimised is when:
- A person who has complained to their manager or colleague about being targeted or discriminated against.
- A person has ‘blown the whistle’ on illegal activity by reporting the misconduct to the appropriate authoritative members, whether that be internally within a business or externally to the Police or Fair Work Commission.
- A person who has received threats of harm or punishment.
- A person who is excluded from social events, opportunities or have been demoted for no plausible reason based on work performance.
- A person who has been abused, belittled, insulted or criticised. The person may feel that they are unable to share their views and values without the fear of being punished or berated.
It is important that as an employer you ensure that you and your employees do not engage in victimising behavior. The best and most proactive approach a business can undertake is to enact policies to firmly position a zero-tolerance policy on this behaviour. By implementing the appropriate policies into your business, you can assure that there will be repercussions for breach of these policies.
The next step is to seek legal advice as each circumstance and policy is unique to each business. At Legal Kitz we can help you understand more about victimisation laws and employment law matters.
When to terminate an employee?
When considering whether to terminate an employee it is crucial for you to understand your obligations as an employer. Ending a person’s employment can be due to several factors, however, as an employer, you must ensure that the termination of an employee is lawful.
When terminating an employee, you must consider the sound reasons for their dismissal to minimise the risk of unfair dismissal. The following reasons provide guidance as to when the dismissal of an employee may be considered sound:
- If an employee lacks the capacity or required skills to complete the job. However, the employer must ensure that there are no other reasonable steps that can be taken, like training and mentoring of an employee, before making such decision to terminate the employee.
- The failure to perform in the role which was clearly outlined to the employee. As an employer you must be clear on the expectations you set for your employees and if there is an error in their performance you must ensure that the employee aware of this concern to allow them to rectify the issue. If the employee fails to rectify their errors and their performance is not to the required standard, then you may have reasonable grounds to terminate the employee.
- If an employee fails to adhere to workplace standards or is involved in serious misconduct, an employer may terminate an employee due to the failure to follow the organisation’s procedures and policies set in place by the business.
- An employer may terminate an employee if the role completed by an employee is no longer necessary for the business and there is no other suitable role for the employee to continue employment with the business.
It is important to ensure that as an employer you are aware of your obligations in the employment contract to safeguard your business from an unfair dismissal claim. As an employer, you must ensure that the terms of the employment contract, such as notice periods, are complied with so that the termination is lawful. As dismissing an employee can be difficult, there are clear legal guidelines for how each situation should be handled and the penalties for failing to do so can be significant.
If you are thinking about terminating an employee, your organisation should consider its legal obligations carefully. At Legal Kitz we can assist with ensuring that you are following the correct procedure and the correct guidance before you dismiss an employee.
Is it law to have a contract of employment?
A contract of employment is an agreement between an employer and employee which sets out the terms and conditions of employment. Under the law an employee must have a contract of employment to be considered an employee, whether the agreement is in writing or verbal. It is important as an employer to ensure that their employees have a contract of employment and maintain a record of the terms of employment to help reduce the risk of a dispute arising in the future.
Although it is not law to provide an employee with a written agreement if a dispute arises there is no formal record of the terms of employment. It is important for both an employer and employee to know the terms and conditions of their employment with the business and to ensure that obligations are clearly agreed upon in the initial stages of employment.
At Legal Kitz we can provide guidance on constructing a contract of employment or assist if you are disputing a matter in the contract. Our business specialists can assist with ensuring that your concerns are heard and provide you with advice that is tailored to your situation.
How do equal employment opportunity laws protect job applicants?
In a business, it is crucial to understand how equal employment opportunity laws protect the interests of individuals and job applicants who are entering a new workplace. Both at a federal and state level, these laws are enacted to protect the interest of individuals and ensure that the actions of employers are not of a discriminatory nature towards current and future employees.
The enactment of such laws ensures that during the job application process that employers are not discriminatory at any stage of the employment process, whether that be in the job advertisement, interview process and in the final determinations of an applicant’s application. This offers potential employees security and equal opportunity in their application to gain employment within any business.
It is crucial as a business owner to ensure that you are following these laws. Implementing policies that announce your stance on the matter, would likely reduce discrimination from occurring as employers and employees are clear on the expectations set by the business.
At Legal Kitz we understand that equal employment opportunity laws contain a lot of information that you must grasp and drafting a policy can be complex. If you are considering implementing an equal opportunity policy or require further guidance you should seek legal advice. Legal Kitz employment lawyers can assist with ensuring that your business is meeting your obligations as an employer to your current or future employees.
What should be included in an Enterprise Agreement?
There are several components that make up an enterprise agreement. The terms and conditions within an enterprise agreement are crucial in establishing how the relationship between the employer and employee will operate.
An enterprise agreement pertains terms and conditions that concern the following matters:
- The terms about the relationship between an employer and the employees.
- The terms about any wage deductions, entitlements or matters related to the general operations of the business (i.e., meal-breaks, allowances, accruals, etc.).
- How the enterprise agreement will operate and who is covered by it.
The enterprise agreement must contain the following key terms:
- The period in which the enterprise agreement will be in effect.
- A dispute settlement procedure that authorises either the Fair Work Commission or an independent party to settle the dispute about matters that may arise concerning terms of a Modern Award or the National Employment Standards.
- A flexibility term that allows for employers and employees to make individual flexibility arrangements for the purpose of meeting their genuine needs and the ability to vary business operations.
- A consultation term which requires an employer to consult their employees covered by the enterprise agreement of any major workplace changes that would likely have a significant impact them. If the enterprise agreement fails to have a consultation term, the model consultation term as set out in the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth) will be applied.
When drafting an enterprise agreement, it is also important to consider terms and conditions that cannot be included within the enterprise agreement. In the Fair Work Commission’s review, an enterprise agreement will not be approved if it contains unlawful content. When drafting the enterprise agreement, the terms and conditions must be of the intention of acting in ‘good faith’ to the agreement and for the betterment of all employees and employers who will be covered.
If your business is considering entering an enterprise agreement, you should seek legal advice. Legal Kitz employment lawyers can assist with ensuring that your enterprise agreement is drafted so that you may avoid disputes from vague terminology or missing essential clauses for the operation of the enterprise agreement.
What is unfair dismissal in employment law?
In employment law, the term unfair dismissal refers to a situation where an employee’s employment is terminated at the discretion of the employer without lawful reasoning or a situation in which the employee was forced to resign because of the misconduct engaged by the employer.
In the assessment of unfair dismissal, the Fair Work Commission will assess whether a dismissal is harsh, unjust, or unreasonable. The following reasons will be taken into consideration by the Fair Work Commission in their assessment of a claim:
- Whether the employer had a valid reason for the termination of the employee;
- Whether the employee was correctly notified of this reason;
- Whether the employee was given the opportunity to respond to the claim;
- Whether the employer refused the employee from any reasonable support or the presence of a support person during the process of discussing the termination;
- Whether the employee was made aware of the concern raised by the employer as for the reasoning for the termination;
- Whether the employer’s business will be likely impacted following the termination, which raises other concerns for its operations;
- Whether there was an impact to the procedure of the dismissal or if there was an absence of a human resource manager or expert in handling the matter; and
- Any other consideration that the Commission considers to be relevant factors.
If an employee believes that they have been unfairly dismissed and that they can demonstrate that the dismissal was harsh, unjust, or unreasonable, the employee may be able to lodge an unfair dismissal claim with the Fair Work Commission for review. The Fair Work Commission has ultimate discretion in determining each matter, and each claim is unique.
At Legal Kitz we can provide assistance if you are individual seeking guidance on their dismissal or if you’re a business wanting to terminate an employee. Our Legal Kitz employment lawyers can assist with ensuring that your concerns are heard and provide you with advice that is tailored to your situation.
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