Workplace Lawyers Melbourne

Employment Contracts & Disputes – Negotiating Employment Contracts For Employers & Employees

Employment Law

Employment law is a complex area of law to understand. It is now governed by the Fair Work Act 2009 and administered by Fair Work Australia. It is overseen by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The number and complexity of award structures that exist in different industries today make it more complex to seek civil damages.

It is important to start any employment relationship with sound legal advice and a well drafted Employment Contract. You will then establish a fairer and more stable framework to start your workplace relations. After an employment contract is entered into, if both parties to the contract are in agreement, it may be varied, amended, renewed or extended.

Our Workplace Lawyers can advise, negotiate and draw up individual Employment Contracts or Negotiated Workplace Agreements, called Enterprise Agreements.

These contracts will ensure that conditions of employment comply with the National Employment Standards (NES), and that all parties are aware of their rights and responsibilities. We will work closely with you to include the necessary workplace policies and procedures.

Enterprise Agreements ensure that all parties in the workplace understand from the beginning the obligations, rights and the consequences of breaking the contract.

What are the most common issues in employment relation disputes in the workplace?

  • Redundancy
  • Performance review criteria and the assessment of performance
  • Transfer of employment (including request to transfer and forced transfer)
  • Leave entitlements (including maternity leave)
  • Demotion (including demotion after returning from maternity leave or demotion after a company restructure)
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Dismissal and the necessary grounds for Summary Dismissal
  • Unfair Dismissal or Wrongful Termination
  • Flexible workplace arrangements, changes in hours and shifts
  • Non-compliance with the National Employment Standards (NES)
  • Salary and underpayments including sham contracts, award rates & overtime rates
  • Working condition issues
  • Misinterpretation of conditions of employment due to implied conditions
  • Executive Contract Disputes

If any of the above Workplace issues are concerning you or your employee, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Workplace Lawyers Melbourne for a no obligation, confidential chat about how we can help.

Breaches of Employment Contracts & Workplace Relations Issues

For Employers

If you discover that your Employee has breached the terms of a Contract with you, you have certain rights to enforce these terms.
If you would like to talk to an experienced Employment Lawyer about either dismissing an Employee for breach of contract, or taking action to recover damages for breach of the contract, we can give you clear advice as to the likelihood of success, and the potential outcomes.

For Employees

Breaching terms of the Contract:
If you think you are breaching the terms of your contract, and/or you have been caught breaching the terms of your contract, there are certain things you can do to minimise the damages payable if the Employer tries to enforce the terms of the contract.

Unfairly Dismissed or Sexually Harassed:
If you have been dismissed unfairly, or you have experienced harassment including sexual harassment, there are many things we can do to help you, including seeking damages, and/or gaining your job back.

See our page on Unfair Dismissal & Sexual Harassment.

If you would like to talk to our experienced Workplace Lawyers about either negotiating the conditions of your employment, or minimising any damages if the Employer wishes to enforce the contract, we are able to advise you of your likelihood of success and the potential outcomes.
We have successfully acted for Employers and Employees in all courts for more than 35 years. Over that time, sadly we have seen the same mistakes made by both parties many times.

Contact our Workplace Lawyers Melbourne for a no obligation, confidential chat.

Workplace Law FAQs

Q. What can I do if my Employee is not performing in their job?

As an employer you have a number of things that you can do to rectify the situation in your workplace.

  • Conduct a performance review and notify the employee that they are under performing according to the job specifications detailed in their contract of employment.
  • Give the employee a specified time period to improve their performance and guidelines of what you expect (key performance indicators “KPI’s”).
  • Conduct a further performance review at the specified time. If the employee is still not meeting their KPI’s, you may be able to dismiss them on the grounds of non- performance.

If you do not want to keep the Employee on, because you do not think they are not capable of undertaking the job to your requirements, you will need to go through the process of warnings before terminating their contract of employment.

A contract of employment can only be terminated if the employer has undertaken these specific actions. If you would like to explore what options you have to terminate the employee’s contract, please contact our office to speak to our Employment Lawyers in Melbourne.
The most important thing to do is to gather all the facts quickly and ask us at CKL Lawyers for legal assistance and advice before undertaking any action.

Need a quick response to what could be a highly inflammatory employment situation? Call our Workplace Lawyers Melbourne.

Q. Can I sack an employee without notice?

That is called Summary Dismissal.
It depends on a number of factors, including what they were doing.

Read on to find out when you can action summary dismissal.

Q. What are some reasons for Summary Dismissal?
  • Substantial stealing from the business
  • Sexual harassment
  • Physical damage to the business
  • Physical injury to or gross abusive behaviour to employees or customers / clients / patients of the business
  • Intellectual property damage eg. posting on websites false and damaging statements about the business
  • Selling or releasing in any way confidential information of the business
  • Sabotaging hardware or software of the business

It is very important to understand that minor infringements of the above list may not constitute grounds to summarily dismiss an employee, and if as an employer you do, the employee may make a counterclaim on you and your business for unfair dismissal.

If you would like to discuss if your situation constitutes immediate summary dismissal, please do not hesitate to have a confidential conference with our experienced Workplace Relations Lawyers to see if you have valid grounds.

Q. I want to employ a friend. Do I really need an employment agreement?

Yes. You do need an employment agreement. Especially when it is a friend as any problems become extremely personal and have a tendency to accelerate very rapidly into a full blown fight.

If something goes wrong, even if it was not any fault of yours, you will need the protection of an employment agreement as it sets out the conditions of employment and details dispute resolution pathways.

We can assist you by drawing up a standard employment contract that fits the needs of your business and that you can use each time you employ a new staff member.

Q. Can I get a Standard Employment Template?

We do not recommend you download a free Employment Contract template off the internet, as every business is different, every industry has different labour laws and requirements, and laws can differ between states in Australia.

If you need an Employment Agreement for many similar employees, we can save you time and money by drafting a standard document that you can use everytime you employ a new employee into that position.
If you would like to get the right advice on an employment law issue, contact our experienced Workplace Lawyers Melbourne.

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