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Employment Law for Employers
Wallace & Wallace Lawyers’ experienced Employment Law team can assist you by providing the necessary advice to avoid employment related disputes wherever possible. If, however, a dispute does arise, we can help you to resolve the dispute without unnecessary legal fees and with minimal impact on your business operation.
Employment documents are an essential part of any employment relationship. From the outset, a properly drafted employment contract will set out the rights, responsibilities and obligations of both the employer and employee. Generally speaking, an employment contract will, at a minimum, set out the terms of the employment relationship (such as hours of work, duties, position description and remuneration). In our experience, however, an employment contract should also set out expectations of the parties, information on employee entitlements and details of how the employment contract can be terminated.
In addition to drafting employment contracts, our experienced employment law team can assist with the following:
- Drafting a suite of employment related documents including employment contracts, policies and procedures;
- Drafting various agreements, including confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements;
- Advising and acting in respect of forming an enterprise agreement between an employer and its workforce;
- Advising on modern award coverage and minimum terms of employment;
- Providing advice on workplace health and safety matters including WorkCover and SafeWork claims;
- Carrying out or overseeing workplace investigations, including to provide detailed findings and recommendations;
- Assist in the disciplinary process, from drafting warning letters through to termination of an employee;
- Provide advice regarding properly terminating an employee’s employment in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and any relevant modern awards, including whether such termination can be justified on the basis of poor performance, redundancy or summary misconduct; and
- Defending employers against demands and claims from current and/or former employees for applications for unfair dismissal, general protections/adverse action and bullying.
Employee or Contractor?
There is often some confusion about the nature of the employment relationship, meaning that, at times, an entity may engage a person as a contractor, when they are actually an employee. This is also known as a “sham contracting arrangement”, which occurs when an employer attempts to disguise or misrepresent an employment relationship as an independent contractor relationship. This may be completely innocent or inadvertent, or may be attempted to avoid certain obligations (such as avoiding employee entitlements or superannuation obligations).
Sham contracting arrangements are prohibited under the Fair Work Act 2009. As such, it is imperative that an employer understands the true nature of how they engage their employees and/or contractors. In the event that an employer is found to have engaged in a sham contracting arrangement, it may be required to back pay employee entitlements that should have been paid (i.e. annual leave), or worse, face penalties imposed by the Fair Work Commission for breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009.
We can assist in determining whether or not someone is an employee or a contractor, and help you to avoid any future liability to your business. Further, our experienced lawyers can also assist if a dispute arises with respect to this issue.
Every now and then it becomes necessary to terminate an employee. Whether by way of redundancy or dismissal, our experienced lawyers can provide you with advice to ensure you are following all of the relevant laws before you terminate an employee.
We can assist with:
- carrying out workplace investigations;
- advising on the disciplinary process;
- determining whether an employee has engaged in serious misconduct, and providing appropriate recommendations;
- preparing show cause letters;
- preparing termination letters;
- assisting and advising on redundancies, including overseeing or managing the consultation process;
- preparing redundancy consultation letters; and
- advising on and calculating employee entitlements for any termination event.
Defending Fair Work Applications
Defending an application to the Fair Work Commission can be time consuming and costly, whether you have experience with similar disputes or not.
We can assist you in defending any claim made against your business to the Fair Work Commission, including:
- unfair dismissal;
- general protections;
- sexual harassment and bullying;
- discrimination; and
- unlawful termination.
Running a business can be complicated and time consuming, so when you have a dispute with an employee, it can be difficult to deal with if you don’t have someone to help. We pride ourselves on our no-nonsense, commercial and client-focused approach, and will strive to achieve the best outcome for your business.