Lawyers for disabled workers welcome Labor’s move to block unfair payment scheme

28 August 2014
Employment law firm Maurice Blackburn has welcomed Labor’s announcement that it will oppose a Federal Government proposal to force disabled workers to waive their right to legal action in return for payment.

Under the Government’s bill, workers with intellectual disability whose wages were calculated using a discriminatory tool could sign up for a payment scheme to recover part of their lost wages – but only if they abandoned their right to pursue legal action.

Maurice Blackburn is representing more than 10,000 workers with an intellectual disability in a class action claim over the unfair wages. The firm is running the case on a pro-bono basis.

Josh Bornstein, a principal in the employment law section at Maurice Blackburn, said it was encouraging to see Labor pledge to vote against the bill unless its amendments are accepted.

“It is welcome to see the Opposition stand up for the legal rights of these workers, who are some of the lowest paid and most vulnerable members of our community,” he said.

“Every worker in Australia deserves a fair wage for the work they do. And every Australian worker should have the right to seek justice through our courts if they have been discriminated against or treated unfairly.”

Mr Bornstein also welcomed Labor’s proposed amendments to include extra safeguards around the appointment of nominees to act on the behalf of disabled workers.