Workplace rights and adverse action

All employees have workplace rights and you can't be harmed or subjected to an adverse action by an employer for exercising these rights. At Maurice Blackburn we lead the way in prosecuting successful adverse action claims in Australia. We have won and settled cases against some of the biggest employers in the country and the wins have set precedents for compensating employees.

Workplace rights and associated protections apply to all employees, from construction workers to Senior Executives, irrespective of what you earn. At Maurice Blackburn we are committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that you receive appropriate compensation for any injuries or wrongs you suffer for exercising such rights.

Talk to us today to find out how we can help you.

We can protect your workplace rights

Many matters can be settled by negotiation, and in a number of particularly successful cases we have obtained substantial six-figure settlements without ever going to court. If a matter does proceed to court, it will be up to your employer to prove that they did not take adverse action against you because you exercised a workplace right.

Time limits apply for making adverse action claims so it is important to get legal advice as soon as possible. For example, in cases where a person has been dismissed applications must be made within 21 days after the dismissal took effect. The Fair Work Commission can only grant extensions of time in exceptional circumstances.

Complaints and enquiries

It is unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against an employee because the employee has made a complaint or enquiry in relation to their employment.

Courts have taken differing views on what constitutes a complaint or enquiry. However, there needs to be a sufficient connection between the complaint or enquiry and the employee’s employment.

In circumstances where you have been dismissed after making a complaint or enquiry, it is important to promptly seek legal advice to assess whether you may be entitled to make a claim.

Successful cases

Settlement against International Aviation Service Assistance

Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association v International Aviation Service Assistance Pty Ltd [2011] 193 FCR 526

In 2009, in the first successful case under the Fair Work Act 2009, Maurice Blackburn prosecuted International Aviation Service Assistance for dismissing an employee because he had complained about his employment, and because he had taken his employer to court. Maurice Blackburn's employment lawyers proved to the Federal Court that the employer had lied about his performance, and then relied on those lies to terminate the employment.

The employee was awarded a year's pay, interest, and compensation for the hurt and humiliation he had endured.

Murray v QANTAS

Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association v Qantas Airways Ltd [2012] FMCA 711

In 2012, Maurice Blackburn prosecuted Qantas in the Federal Magistrates Court for taking adverse action against a licensed aircraft engineer. We proved to the Court that Qantas cancelled all possible international postings for Mr Murray because he made an enquiry about his pay when he was posted overseas. We also proved to the Court that Mr Murray was intimidated by a senior manager at Qantas who was trying to coerce Mr Murray into dropping his claim.

Qantas and the manager in question were ordered to pay $16,000 in penalties to Mr Murray.

Talk to us today to discuss how we can protect your workplace rights.