Employment & discrimination

We recognise the value of work, and the effect that the loss of work can have on individuals and families.

In a perfect world

no one would ever need an employment lawyer to help you deal with a crisis caused by an unfair dismissal, redundancy, workplace discrimination or bullying. Unfortunately, employment relationships do break down for a variety of reasons, some lawful while others — not so much.

How we help

We understand the importance of a healthy workplace and so we will strategise, advise and equip you for your desired outcome.

However there are occasions when employers need to act in response to inappropriate behaviour, or where they are placed in difficult financial circumstances.

Employees can also be targets of unlawful discrimination or unfair dealings from their employer.

Our lawyers act for both employees and employers. This approach gives us a full perspective of employment law to service you with comprehensive legal advice you deserve.

Advice you can trust

If you’ve been wronged in the workplace, our employment lawyers can advise you on your legal options related to employment such as:

  • Advice in the pre-selection and contract formation stage;
  • Advice on the relationship between employee and employer; and
  • Advice when the employment relationship comes to an end including representation in legal proceedings if necessary.
Employment contracts
Employment relationship
Dismissal / employment termination
Employment with religious bodies

It is important to take legal advice before you employ someone or before you sign an employment contract. Taking advice early can save grief later.

Our employment lawyers advise on all aspects of the hiring process such as:

  • Advice on and drafting of employment contracts including drafting restraint of trade clauses, confidentiality agreements, intellectual property ownership, employee and employer expectations and obligations;
  • Drafting of enterprise agreements and assistance in negotiating;
  • Independent contractor and service agreements including service provider expectations and obligations, confidentiality agreements, restraint of trade, intellectual property ownership, sham contracting protection, unfair contracts advice.
  • Avoiding unlawful discrimination in your hiring practices.

You’ve attended an interview and you have you been given a letter of offer or an employment contract. We recommend that you have the contract reviewed before you sign it. We can advise on the relationship between employer and employee and how to preserve and enforcing intellectual property rights, confidentiality obligations, and restraint of trade obligations including how to safeguard valuable goodwill.

We have designed a fixed fee Employment Contract | Independent Contractor Agreement High Point Advice which may be suitable for efficient advice in relatively short time.

During the employment relationship, there is frequently the need for legal advice because of the serious nature of the relationship. If this relationship is not handled correctly, it can lead to legal action.

Our employment lawyers can provide you with comprehensive advice to help navigate potential minefields.

In particular, we advise on the following:

  • Managing employee and employer expectations and promises;
  • Implied duty of mutual trust and confidence
  • Drafting and reviewing employment policies and procedures;
  • Advising on employee entitlements (including personal and carer leave) under modern awards and enterprise agreements;
  • Advising on employee complaints including grievances against other employees, complaints of bullying, and harassment etc;
  • Assisting and conducting independent investigations to about complaints of improper conduct, bullying or harassment by employees;
  • Representing employees at grievance, discipline, or show cause meetings;
  • Advising on workers compensation and WorkCover claims for both employees who have been injured or employers who have been the subject of a complaint or claim;
  • Drafting settlement deeds and separation agreements for employers or advising employees regarding settlement deeds and separation agreements.

If your employment ends in what you believe are unfair circumstances or you have been forced to resign from your employment, you may have a claim for unfair dismissal with a range of options to protect your rights.

Unfair dismissal and termination of employment claims are usually complex and require employment law experts to achieve a just outcome for everyone involved.

Our employment lawyers can guide you through the legal process and advise you on the following:

  • Claims for unfair dismissal where the dismissal is considered harsh, unjust or unfair, or not a genuine redundancy.
    • For employees: We can assist in drafting a claim if you believe you have been unfairly dismissed.
    • For employers: We can assist in responding to a claim and represent you.
  • Assist with genuine redundancies for both employers and employees.
  • Advise on adverse action where a claim has been made regarding an exercised workplace right discrimination.
  • Draft and advise on settlement deeds or separation agreements.
  • Initiating or defending proceedings for breach of the employment contract

Employment with the Christian, religious and faith sector is different to “usual” employment relationships. In our experience, having an employment lawyer who understands this sector will assist you in achieving your ministry objectives.

For example, we routinely consider and advise faith-based clients on the following types of issues:

  • Employee, spiritual appointee or volunteer? Determining the best method for engaging your employees;
  • Exempt fringe benefit issues for religious practitioners;
  • Treatment of Family Tax A, Family Tax B and Parenting Payments for religious practitioners;
  • Dealing with morality and lifestyle clauses within the contract of employment.

Types of questions to ask when in an employment relationship

What are the expectations of the employer and employee?

  • As an employer – are there certain budget expectations or performance requirements that you are expecting? These should be documented in the employment contract to avoid any confusion or potential argument later.
  • As an employee – have you been made any promises to induce you to accept an offer of employment?

What protection does the employer need to prevent unfair competitive practices?

  • Is there confidential information that must be protected?
  • Does the employee need to be prevented from working with a competitor for a period of time following end of employment?
  • What impact will such clauses have on the employee and will the clause be legally enforceable?

What about your rights regarding intellectual property?

  • Will the employee be creating intellectual property, and if so how will it be owned?
  • Is there intellectual property that the Employee owns and is bringing with them?
  • How will that be used by the Employer?
  • Do you need a licence agreement to allow for this use?

What entitlements will apply to the employee?

  • Does a modern award or enterprise agreement apply?
  • How will this impact on their salary and penalty rates?

Should the employer engage an employee or an independent contractor?

  • What are the legal, taxation and superannuation consequences of such a decision?
  • Is it “sham contracting” to engage the person as an independent contractor?

How does the unfair dismissal process work?

The easiest way to understand the unfair dismissal process is through a process diagram. We’ve illustrated one below, which takes you through the process.

Note the strict 21 day time limitation to make an unfair dismissal application.

If you miss this deadline, your options may be severely limited.

These and many other questions demonstrate the importance of taking legal advice before the employment relationship starts.

We aim for clear, practical solutions that lead to a renewed sense of purpose and hope. Your matter and documents will be presented with clarity and integrity.

Talk to us today

We seek to deliver Just, Redemptive Outcomes®