Public sector
employment lawyers

Public sector employment entitlements

Public sector employees generally have greater protection than private sector employees—particularly while they are still employed.

Federal and state public sector employees have legal rights covered by specific public sector employment legislation.  They may also be covered by a written employment agreement, and in some instances, an award or enterprise agreement.

Maurice Blackburn's employment lawyers are experienced in advising and representing both Federal and State public servants and have successfully acted for a range of executive and managerial level public sector employees.

If you are a public sector employee facing disciplinary action, dismissal, code of conduct investigations, a workplace investigation, inquiries, termination, bullying, or a change to pay or conditions, we can assist you.

For example, some public sector enterprise agreements provide for detailed processes and extensive rights in relation to disciplinary proceedings and workplace investigations. These rights are generally enforceable under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), at the Fair Work Commission or the Federal Court. We can help you access these rights to ensure that you are treated fairly during such processes, and to help you respond to any allegations of misconduct or underperformance.

In addition, some public sector employees are also able to seek judicial review or a merits review of decisions relating to their employment. Whether employees can access these review mechanisms depends upon their employer, the nature of the decision made and the legal instruments governing their employment. We can help you access these avenues, if they are available to you.

Public sector expertise

Maurice Blackburn lawyers are public sector employment law experts. We can advise you on your legal rights, help you navigate and understand the system and your options, and represent you in negotiations, inquiries, investigations, processes or proceedings.

Some recent examples of successful outcomes include:

  • We successfully represented a senior Victorian public servant who had been suspended for 6 months in a disciplinary process initiated after an ombudsman inquiry. This case resulted in the Federal Court issuing a landmark decision requiring the agency to rescind the suspension and reinstate the employee during the process.
  • We successfully represented a Commonwealth Senior Executive public servant in responding to extensive allegations of misconduct which were without merit and which were investigated through a flawed and deficient process.

We protect your rights

Client Story

Peter was a Senior Executive with a Government Agency who was employed on a fixed term contract, with four years remaining.

Peter was suspended from work following a series of politically-motivated inquiries by his employer regarding his fitness for the role.

We wrote to Peter’s employer demanding that he be allowed to return to work and be given duties back. As a public servant, Peter also had the benefit of legislation which required his employer to make fair decisions regarding his employment. In this case, it was clear that the employer’s decision to suspend Peter from work was unfair and contrary to law.

The damage that had been done to Peter’s reputation as a result of the suspension meant that he could not return to his role. To compensate Peter for this, we successfully negotiated a settlement payment equivalent to two years’ wages for the damage caused to his reputation and mental health.          

Josh Bornstein

National Head of Employment Law, Melbourne

"When the forces of darkness are on your back, you want Josh at your side," Julian Burnside QC

Kamal Farouque

Principal Lawyer, Melbourne

"I know how to navigate the myriad of issues in this increasingly complex and ever-changing area of law."

Experts in Employment law

Our team has an outstanding record of achieving terrific outcomes for employees in both the private and public sector. We assist our clients with a combination of strategy, tenacity and compassion.

Step 1

Call us on 1800 810 812 to book an initial consultation. Your first consultation costs $690 (incl GST).

Step 2

At your one hour consult our lawyers will provide advice on your situation, the best action to take, and next steps. This consult is charged at a fixed fee.

Step 3

Most of our cases are resolved out of court, and discretion is assured.

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