Workplace Relations

We help our business clients to succeed by working with them to properly manage their workers’ entitlements within the complex regulatory landscape.

Our focus is on avoiding conflict in the workplace and facilitating productive relations, but if the need arises our team has considerable experience in alternative dispute resolution and litigation. We provide employment advice to both commercial businesses and not for profit organisations.

What we do

We can assist with all employment requirements including:

Employee engagement

  • Advice on minimum entitlements including Award coverage
  • Preparing/reviewing employment contracts
  • Advising on specific issues arising with executive appointments
  • Preparing/reviewing independent contractor agreements/consultancy agreements
  • Advising on necessary record keeping
  • Restructuring advice

Industrial relations advice

  • Advising on IR strategy
  • Drafting enterprise agreements
  • Advising on process
  • Assisting with communications with unions
  • Managing union rights of entry

Managing worker claims

  • Discrimination and sexual harassment claims
  • Bullying claims
  • Unfair dismissal claims
  • General protections claims
  • Work health and safety (WHS)

Managing performance issues

  • Advising on your rights to demote, suspend or terminate a worker
  • Conducting or advising on workplace investigations

Compliance with government requirements

  • Work health and safety (WHS)
  • Building Code compliance
  • Drafting Workplace Relations Management Plans (WRMPS)

Workplace training for your HR team and/or your general staff

The MV difference

  • Our Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety Team is led by William Ward, an Accredited Specialist in employment and industrial relations law. Collectively our team has over 35 years of employment law experience.
  • We offer a quarterly HR Managers’ Forum, which is a friendly and informative workshop, led by our employment law experts. With ‘Chatham House rules’ is an ideal environment for you or your HR manager to get the latest legal updates and discuss topical employment issues with colleagues. The forum is free to attend (although places are limited).
  • Although we have off-the-shelf documents that can be purchased, what we really love is getting to know our clients well. By allowing us to develop an ongoing relationship with you, we can become an extremely cost-effective resource. Once we understand your business, we work with you as your HR partner, and many of your questions or issues can be solved on-the-spot in a short phone call or single meeting with our experienced employment lawyers.

FAQs

Under the Fair Work Act there are numerous types of proceedings and claims that an employee can commence against an employer. Each type of proceeding has its own defences and it is important to seek appropriate expert advice at the outset in relation to any such proceedings.

While the Fair Work Act contains many protections for employees it also contains many exemptions to those protections. If you are properly informed about the exemptions, and properly document what you are doing, it can often be a relatively straight forward process to dismiss an under-performing employee.

You should document your business’ policies about how workers should conduct themselves. Not only do policies clearly set out your expectations, but they can also protect your business from liability for unfair dismissal, general protections, work health and safety, sexual harassment and discrimination.

Policies you should consider adopting include:

  • Work Health and Safety
  • Anti-Discrimination & Sexual Harassment
  • IT & Social Media
  • Workplace Surveillance
  • Flexible Working Arrangements
  • Employee Leave
  • Drug & Alcohol Use

These policies are all available for purchase from us as templates. Alternatively we can tailor a policy specifically to suit your business.

There are many reasons you might want to restructure your business from time to time and it’s your prerogative to do so, but there are processes that need to be followed in order to avoid claims by employees. If not done correctly, a restructure could result in employees claiming breach of the Fair Work Act, breach of an industrial instrument and/or unfair dismissal proceedings — and some of these claims could also result in fines of up to $63,000 per breach.  Whenever you are considering a restructure, make sure you include an employment lawyer on your panel of advisers.