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Employment Disputes

Employment Disputes

There are a number of matters in respect of which there can be employment disputes which do not necessarily involve the termination of employment. The relationship between an employer and an employee is a contract with obligations on the part of both employer and employee. It is easy for there to be differences of opinion or for the employer and the employee to fall into dispute.

Employment disputes can be dealt with through a range of processes.  In some cases, the employee can approach the Fair Work Ombudsman or the Fair Work Commission.  In others, approach can be made to a court.

Types of employment disputes include the following:

  • Disagreements over wage and salary entitlements, in particular commissions and bonuses;
  • Disagreements as to whether a direction from an employer is a reasonable one;
  • Disputes as to restraints against competition after the ending of employment (many contracts providing for restraints that could not be enforced);
  • Disputes over whether an employer has retaliated against an employee over a protected matter, such as discrimination, or as a reaction to a complaint made by the employee (called a general protections matter);
  • Unfair dismissal disputes over whether a termination has been unfair (in the case of an employee under the high income threshold of approximately $160,000), or in breach of the contract – the difference being that if an employee earns over the high income threshold, the matter cannot be dealt with through the Fair Work Commission, and the unfair dismissal provisions of the Fair Work Act will not apply;
  • disputes as to whether the employee has been dismissed in contravention of a general protections matter, in which case the matter can be dealt with with the involvement of the Fair Work Commission even if the employee is over the high income threshold;
  • Whether a dismissal of a person within the first six months of their employment (or the first 12 months of their employment, if the employer is a small business) was motivated by a prohibited reason, and is accordingly actionable;
  • disputes as to whether a redundancy is a genuine redundancy;
  • disputes as the whether a person is truly a contractor.

QBM Lawyers can provide advice to employers and employees in relation to employment, disputes and differences. Please contact Peter Muller at peterm@qbmlaw.com.au

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