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Employment Law

Employment Law. Mildwaters Lawyers Kadina South Australia. Image: Employees only by GuiGui Les Bons Skeudis via Flickr

In relation to workplace and employment law, we are here to assist with workplace disputes.

These types of disputes are usually extremely stressful for those involved and so our aim is to help you sort out the dispute promptly and effectively.

Duties of Employers

Workplace disputes can arise simply because when people work together, they are not always tolerant of each other or act appropriately towards each other.

An Employer has a duty of care towards their Employees to keep them safe in their workplace which includes recognizing and minimizing hazards such as:

  • bullying and harrassment
  • incompetent fellow staff
  • substance abuse by fellow staff
  • unsafe plant and equipment
  • unsafe systems of work.

If any of these hazards are present in your workplace, whether you are an Employer or Employee, we can help you deal with and eradicate the problem.

Duties of Employees

Apart from the duties of the Employee set out in their employment contract, the Employee also has general duties that they owe their Employer such as the:

  • duty to obey lawful and reasonable orders of their Employer
  • duty to look after the property of their Employer
  • duty to provide faithful service to their Employer
  • duty to hand over inventions created by the Employee during their employment
  • duty of confidentiality.

If you have an Employee that has breached or continues to breach their duties to you as an Employer, then we can guide you through the process of taking the proper steps to remedy the situation.

Dismissal – when is it fair and lawful?

The current state of the law provides certain protections to the Employee by providing them with a range of remedies against their Employer if their dismissal has been unfair or unlawful.

Dismissal is unlawful if it is based on reasons like:

  • discrimination
  • trade union membership or
  • a temporary absence from work due to illness or injury.

The Fair Work Act provides that an Employee may make a claim for unfair dismissal if they have been employed for at least 6 months (or at least 12 months if employed by a small business employer) by the Employer and if they are covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement and their wage is not over the high income threshold.

The Employee will only receive a remedy if their dismissal was in fact unfair.  Some cases of unfair dismissal that have occurred in the past involve circumstances in which:

  • an employee journalist who was unfairly dismissed after they accidentally sent a message to a government minister which was regarded as offensive
  • an employee who was intoxicated in an isolated incident in a festive situation who was later dismissed unfairly
  • an employee truck driver who was unfairly dismissed after he posted disparaging remarks about other employees of his employer on his Facebook page without being aware that the information was accessible to the public.

Whether or not a dismissal is fair and lawful depends on all of the circumstances of the case.  Before you make any decisions to dismiss an Employee, it is wise to obtain legal advice first, so that you can approach the situation knowing what your lawful options are.

Contact us today if you are an Employer or Employee needing legal advice about your workplace situation.


Image: Employees only by GuiGui Les Bons Skeudis via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

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