Terms and conditions of employment are often the first thing reviewed when questions arise about employee behaviours or performance and this speaks to the importance of clear concise employment contracts and agreements from the outset of the employment relationship. We assist our clients with the development and regular evaluation of employment contracts, policies and procedures in order to ensure a good fit with the employer’s practices as well as the necessary compliance with legislation and principles of contract law.
Employee handbooks and other policies and procedures have been found to be terms and conditions of employment in some cases and the drafting of those documents may also be critical to an employer’s relationship with employees. We work with our clients to ensure policies and procedures are clear, unambiguous and compliant.
As with contracts of employment, in environments where an enterprise agreement is in place, clarity in the drafting of the agreement and assistance with interpretation of obligations is of considerable importance to any workplace. We provide assistance with drafting and interpretation to employers. We are also able to assist with drafting individual flexibility agreements in compliance with the Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement requirements.
Building on solid terms and conditions of employment and sound policy and procedure, we offer training programs based on the employer’s own unique environment and specific employment practices. These training modules are designed to focus on a diverse range of issues, from performance management, to termination of employment, to discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Training can be tailored for employers’ specific needs – contact us to discuss.
We are also frequently called upon to assist our clients with performance management and discipline strategies to ensure compliance with legal and procedural obligations.
We assist our clients by providing guidance to ensure compliance with procedural and substantive fairness requirements and legislative obligations when dealing with certain types of performance management and discipline where discrimination or adverse action elements could complicate the situation.
From time to time we are also called upon to assist with termination of employment and to assist employers to manage various obligations when considering termination. Differing obligations apply depending on the type of termination of employment contemplated such as redundancy, summary dismissal or termination of injured workers. These matters may be complicated by workers compensation claims, bullying and harassment allegations, union involvement or other matters that must be navigated with assurance when dealing with such matters.
Management of contractors and the liabilities associated with the various methods of engagement of contractors is a constantly developing area of concern for a wide variety of organisations. We assist with the development of a strategy to engage contractors in accordance with the needs of our clients’ business. This approach is designed to ensure that there are no “nasty surprises”, where contractors are deemed to be employees under various State or Federal laws for certain purposes (eg: payroll tax or workers compensation). An understanding of the liabilities and the management of risk by a properly constructed contractor’s agreement is essential for businesses engaging contractors generally.
Where litigation cannot be avoided or where litigation provides the best course of action for our clients, our experience in all forms of employment related litigation proves to be an advantage to our clients. We have represented clients in Tribunals, Courts and Commissions dealing with unfair dismissal, adverse action, unfair contract, industrial disputes, enterprise agreement related matters, discrimination or harassment claims, prosecution under WHS legislation and for breach of an industrial instrument.
An employer’s intellectual property and its confidential information often represents the core of its business. We are able to assist at the front end in terms of the drafting of confidentiality agreements and intellectual property contract clauses to protect this valuable information. At the back end we are able to assist with recovery actions and urgent injunctions seeking protection of or return of intellectual property and confidential information.
With the regulation of employee entitlements now on sale or purchase of business under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) we provide advice and assistance for vendors and purchasers, including redundancy payment issues, ongoing employee entitlements for transferred employees and the potential application and effect of any Award or Enterprise Agreement for the purchaser.