AREAS OF PRACTICE

Solving workplace problems.

Workclaims Australia provides legal services for problems encountered by Australian workers in the workplace.

Most of our work is with people who have matters that need to go to the Fair Work Commission or to the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission. We are leaders in unfair dismissal services, but also take care of worker’s compensation claims with a special boutique division devoted to Seafarers and also Comcare covered workers.

Have you become aware you have not been paid your correct entitlements? Even if you have already left the employment, this can be remedied.

Incorrect payments can arise from changes to the relevant Award governing your employment (such as the rate of pay, allowances or overtime) not being implemented. It may be the payment of annual leave accrued during the employment, or it may be Long Service Leave or pro-rata Long Service Leave.

In this case.

It was in Brett’s employment contract that if he met certain performance indicators, he would receive a quarterly bonus.

Brett worked hard, putting in extra hours to meet and exceed his targets. The bonus never came.

After attempts to claim the amount failed, Brett sought professional advice.

Having established that Brett was entitled to this performance pay and the employer was withholding his entitlement, the matter was swiftly rectified.

If you are frustrated and being fobbed off, talk to us. Often simply the intervention of an industrial agent is all it takes for a remedy, without going to a hearing or tribunal.

Bullying is defined as repeated instances of unacceptable behaviour towards you by another worker in the workplace which is likely to be a danger to your health. This means that if the repeated adverse conduct is causing medical problems such as stress or depression then it will be within the jurisdiction of the Fair Work Commission.

Bullying is often a problem in the workplace both for the worker who is being bullied and for the employer who may have problems and difficulties dealing effectively with the issues.

The Fair Work Act 2009 now has provisions where a worker who is being bullied in the workplace can make an application to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop the bullying. It is important to act quickly where you feel you have been bullied.

In this case

Naomi’s sales manager made rude remarks to her that Naomi felt were designed to embarrass her. He asked her personal questions and teased her when she looked uncomfortable.

Her manager was careful not to act in this way in front of other people that outranked him, and he rarely intimidated her when others were around. The company had no formal procedure in place for managing this type of complaint, so Naomi sought expert advice.

National anti-bullying laws meant Naomi was protected and could apply for an order for the bullying to stop. A settlement was negotiated and Naomi was awarded damages by the company, and they were required to adopt clear policies.

Do you think you have been bullied at work? Do you have an order from the Commission that is not being followed? Workclaims Australia can help.

Workclaims Australia can also represent you in the Australian Human Rights Commission if you have been discriminated against in the workplace on the grounds of age, sex, race or any other prohibited reason.

If you have been dismissed for redundancy and you believe that it is not a genuine redundancy, you may have grounds for unfair dismissal.

In most circumstances, when an employee’s job is made redundant they are entitled to receive redundancy pay.

In this case

Anya is a FIFO worker in the catering industry.

When she was made redundant, she was not paid any redundancy as the dismissal was due to the ‘ordinary turnover of labour’.

When her case was reviewed, it was identified that the employer had failed to attempt to re-deploy her to another available position for which she was well qualified to do. This meant that it was not a case of a genuine redundancy and amends were made.

If you are being made redundant, it is always worth asking us to assess the redundancy. We know the Act back to front and inside out!

Many industrial agreements oblige the employer to cover their workers for income protection, sometimes called salary continuance. There are also provisions in statutory superannuation policies for income protection in cases of injury, and many workers unable to work often miss out on this benefit.

In this case

Aaron was injured in a weekend fishing accident and was unable to continue his role as a forklift operator in a brick yard, so was told he was no longer needed.

As the incident happened outside work hours, he assumed it was fair enough. All the same, he was under pressure to pay his mortgage, so asked an expert to review his situation.

An assessment of the matter revealed he was covered by an income protection policy. Had he not sought advice, he would have missed out on this benefit.

Workclaims Australia has a long track record of successful income protection claims.

If you have a feeling something is not quite right, it often isn’t.

It pays to ask a specialist to review your Employment Agreement, challenge or set aside unfair contracts, review your working conditions to ensure you are being treated correctly, etc.

Our work is informed by:

  • The Fair Work Act 2009
  • Industrial Relations Act
  • Occupational Health & Safety Act
  • Privacy Laws
  • Information about the various awards (State and Federal)

In this case

Leah is a barista. She was underpaid 47 cents per hour because her employer had incorrectly classified her. The error lead to underpayments of Leah’s ordinary hourly rate, as well as her weekend and public holiday penalty rates over several months.

After being informed through an intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman, the café repaid her, as well as remedied the underpayment of 5 other café workers.

If you work in the restaurant industry, check with us that you are being paid correctly and in accordance with the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.

Whether underpayments are careless or malicious, they are wrongs that need to be made right.

In this case

Dean had worked at a coal mine for 17 years when he organised a protest against cuts to laundry services at the mine. The laundry services had been a condition of Dean and others’ enterprise agreement for many years.

Dean was initially suspended on full pay, and later sacked, with the employer claiming among other things that the publicity from this industrial action had damaged their reputation. The Fair Work Commission ruled this was adverse action and an unlawful dismissal and Dean was reinstated and repaid for lost work.

It is unlawful for employers to retaliate when workers stand up for their rights. If you are being threatened or intimidated for taking industrial action, ask us to assess your matter. You might be protected.

For employers, it is always recommended to consult an experienced advocate when making changes that will affect your workforce. Head to our employer page to find out more.

Specialty Areas –Seacare and Comcare

Working on ships and fixed platforms in Australian waters is a unique workplace environment. Workclaims Australia has extensive experience in representing workers from the Australian maritime industry.

The rights and entitlements of a seafarer injured in the course of their employment is governed by the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992. We specialise in Seacare cases in the Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The Seacare scheme is a national system of occupational health and safety, workers compensation and rehabilitation arrangements. The scheme is overseen by the Seacare Authority. It is compulsory for the shipping companies to have insurance, but the sheer size of these companies means seafarers are up against some tough international insurers, insurance brokers and top law firms. There is no need to attempt to face this proposition alone when expert help is available.

The rights and entitlements for workers injured while working for a Commonwealth employer or a national employer is administered by Comcare and disputes over these claims are processed in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Any seafarer or Comcare covered worker with a claim – disputed or otherwise – should contact Workclaims Australia’s on 08 9301 0850.

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