As an employer or contractor, is it important to be aware that all people working in Australia under relevant Commonwealth workplace laws are entitled to general workplace protections, and it is unlawful for you to take adverse action against them – for example, demoting them, or sacking them.
Those protections include:
- workplace rights
- the right to engage in industrial activities
- the right to be free from unlawful discrimination
- the right to be free from undue influence or pressure in negotiating individual arrangements.
For example, it is unlawful to sack or demote someone because they complained about their working conditions, like inquiring about the amount that they’re paid.
It is also unlawful for you to sack or demote someone on the basis of their race, colour, age, physical or mental disability, sexuality, gender, marital status, religion, political opinion, or family or carer responsibilities.
This is called discrimination.
Adverse actions can include:
- dismissing an employee, altering their position to their detriment, or discriminating between them and other employees
- refusing to employ a prospective employee
- a principal terminating a contract with an independent contractor, or altering their position to their detriment, refusing to use their services or to supply goods and services to them
If you are found to have taken unlawful adverse action against an employee, you risk having to pay uncapped remedies, and you also risk being exposed to court action.
Employer Advisors team of expert consultants can advise you the best way to manage troublesome employees, and can represent you against any claim of a general protections contravention, but it’s important that you act fast!
We are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm (Queensland time) Monday to Friday, but will make appointments after hours as well by arrangement.