Hiring an Employment Lawyer in Sydney

What is an employment lawyer?

An employment lawyer represents both employers and employees. The role of an employment lawyer can be broad – it is reflective of the complex world of work. Sometimes you might need advice about a new contract; other times, you might be in dispute about conditions your employer is proposing, the bonuses that they might be proposing to pay (or not to pay) or performance-related issues, including termination of employment. 

At Gordon Legal, our no win no pay employment lawyers act for employees in matters such as unfair dismissal, disputes at the workplace, discrimination, disciplinary matters, unlawful termination/general protections applications, bullying at the workplace, underpayment and wage claims.

 

How can I get an employment lawyer?

You can arrange an appointment with Gordon Legal and attend an initial consultation for a flat fee. In this initial consultation, we will review your documents and provide initial guidance and advice. You can then choose to engage the lawyer to work on your matter.

 

How much do no win no fee lawyers take in NSW?

No Win No Fee employment lawyers will only charge you if your claim is successful. 

 

When should I hire an employment lawyer?

You should consult an employment or workplace lawyer for advice on employment law matters, such as being called into a meeting that might affect your employment. You should engage an employment lawyer at the earliest stage possible so you can get guidance on your case and to take the appropriate steps to protect your position.

 

How much does an employment lawyer cost?

Fees between firms will vary. At Gordon Legal, charge a flat fee for the initial consultation. From there, we disclose our hourly rate – if you continue with us, you will be charged at this rate. We will provide you with an estimate of total legal fees to run your matter.

 

What is unfair dismissal?

The Fair Work Act establishes protection from unfair dismissal. The protection from unfair dismissal does not apply to all employees and there are a number of criteria that must be satisfied in order to make a claim that the termination of your employment was unfair. 

Put simply, an unfair dismissal is one found by the Fair Work Commission to be harsh, unjust or unreasonable. These are very wide concepts and the Fair Work Commission can take into account a number of factors in answering the question as to whether the termination of your employment was unfair. It is why the jurisdiction is often referred to as being at large. 

 

Can I be dismissed without warning?

Yes, in cases of serious misconduct. Such cases might include situations where theft or workplace assault is involved. In other less serious cases, ordinarily, there is an expectation that you are given a warning about any concerns around your poor performance or conduct prior to dismissal. However, there is not a fixed rule. 

The myth that your employer must give you three warnings before terminating you is untrue. In cases where employees are dismissed without prior warning (especially in cases involving alleged poor performance), there is a reasonable case to be made that the dismissal was unfair. 

 

Who cannot claim unfair dismissal?

There are eligibility thresholds for unfair dismissal claims. Permanent full-time and permanent part-time employers, as well as casuals with regular shifts and expectations of ongoing work, are eligible if they have worked for a small business for at least 12 months and a larger business for at least six months.

Those who cannot claim unfair dismissal include:

-   Employees on fixed-term contracts that have ended

-   Workers on apprenticeships and training schemes

-   Employees who earn more than the high-income threshold (updated annually, most recently $153,600 excluding superannuation)

-   Those covered by the modern award

-   Workers who have been made genuinely redundant

 

What are the general protections available to employees?

Under the statute, employees cannot be terminated for discrimination on the grounds of sex, gender, age etc, for taking sick leave, or for exercising workplace rights, such as making complaints and union activity. Unlike unfair dismissal, general protections do not require an eligibility claim for length or type of employment. Like unfair dismissal, it is dealt with by the Fair Work Commission and needs to be filed within 21 days of termination.

Your circumstances may be more appropriate for a general protections claim – consult your lawyer to find out which route is right for you.

 

Does sexual harassment come under employment law?

Typically, sexual harassment is dealt with through the Equal Opportunity Commission or the Federal Human Rights Commission.

In Victoria, the case will start with the Equal Opportunity Commission and conciliation will be run. If the case is not resolved through the conciliation, it will go to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal at no cost.

At a federal level, it will go through the Human Rights Commission, then Federal Court to bring your claim – at this point, it is a cost jurisdiction, meaning that if you win, your costs will be paid for.

Unfair dismissal generally is not relevant for sexual harassment cases, but general protections could be, as it may fall under discrimination. Talk to your lawyer for advice.

 

What happens if I make an application and someone challenges my eligibility?

If a claim is made by an employee, the employer can make a jurisdictional objection. This is dealt with first as part of the jurisdictional hearing.

If your eligibility is challenged, you can get legal advice or access materials through the Fair Work Commission, which will outline your rights.

 

What happens if I lose my employment law case?

The Fair Work Act comes under a no-cost jurisdiction, so if you lose your case you do not have to pay legal costs for the other parties. The exception is if you brought a case vexatiously or for a collateral purpose to frustrate, or with no merit.

 

What to do if this information applies to you

At Gordon Legal, we understand that workplace disputes are a personal issue.

For personalised and individual advice, we offer consultations to discuss your matter.

Please call Gordon Legal on (03) 9603 3000 or our Geelong office on (03) 5225 1600 to speak with a member of our team.

Given the current environment, we are providing consultations over the phone or via video conferencing platforms.

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