Employment lawyer Stawell

Employment law advice in Stawell

Claven Burdess are employment lawyers serving the Stawell region.


We can assist in relation to the following employment issues:

    • Pay issues
    • Unfair dismissal
    • Entitlement issues
    • General protections
    • Contract advice
    • WorkCover
    • Redundancy
    • Discrimination
    • Workplace investigations
    • Workplace harassment

What is unfair dismissal?

If an employee is dismissed under the following circumstances, it is considered unfair dismissal:

  • ‘harsh, unjust or unreasonable’ and
  • not in accordance with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code where the person was employed by a small business and
  • not a case of a genuine redundancy

The following considerations are taken into account when deciding whether the termination was “harsh, unjust, or unreasonable”:

  • whether there was a legitimate reason for the dismissal that related to a person’s capacity or conduct. This includes any impact on the safety and welfare of other employees.
  • Whether the person was told of the reason;
  • Whether the person was given an opportunity to respond to any reason related to capacity or conduct;
  • And, if the dismissal was due to unsatisfactory performance, whether the person was warned of any unsatisfactory performance prior to the dismissal.
    the extent to which the size of the company would have an effect on the procedures followed in effecting the dismissal
  • An employer’s unfair refusal to allow you to have a support person present during any discussions about dismissal
  • Any other matters that the Fair Work Commission (FWC) deems appropriate

Who is covered by the unfair dismissal provisions of the Fair Work Act?

  • If an employee has worked for at least 12 months in a small business (with less than 15 employees), they are covered.
  • Employees of larger companies are covered after six months of employment.
  • Employees in small businesses face an additional hurdle. If an employee has worked for the company for at least 12 months, a dismissal would not be considered unfair if the company has followed the Small Business Unfair Dismissal Code.
  • A dismissal would not be considered unreasonable under the Fair Work Act if the employer could demonstrate that the dismissal was a “genuine redundancy.”

What does it mean to have “genuine redundancy”?

The following are the elements of a genuine redundancy:

  • Because of changes in organisational conditions, the employer no longer requires the employees job to be completed by that employee or any other employees. For example, a downturn in business.
  • That the employer has met any consultation obligations.
  • That redeploying the employee who was made redundant within the employer’s company or related organization would not have been reasonable.

Employment lawyer Stawell

Employees should bear in mind the following:

Employees have 21 days from the date of their dismissal to lodge an unfair dismissal claim. The Fair Work Commission can consider late applications in special situations.

A claim can be made by filling out the application form available on the fair work commission’s website.

When a form is filled, the Commision reviews it to determine that it is valid and complete, and if it is, a copy is sent to the employer.

The Commision will then schedule a conciliation meeting between the parties, which normally takes place over the phone. This is supposed to be an informal and private process.

If the matter does not resolve at conciliation and the employee wants to continue with the application, the employer and employee will be notified by the Fair Work Commission any further hearing.

If you need an employment lawyer in Stawell to assist with an unfair dismissal matter, we can assist.

Employers should bear the following in mind:

Employers must be cautious when terminating an employee to ensure that proper procedures are followed. And if an employer feels they have enough grounds to fire an employee, they must follow the proper procedures. This might include issuing warnings, offering training, or gathering evidence. The easiest way for employers to prevent unfair dismissal claims is to understand their responsibilities under the Fair Work Act.

When an employee lodges an unfair dismissal claim, the employer will be entitled to object to the application if the employer believes the employee was not unfairly fired, or for other reasons such as the application being filed beyond the required time frame, or if the employee is not protected by the unfair dismissal laws.

General protections claims

General protections are a series of “protections” in the legislations that are designed to:

  • protect workplace rights;
  • protect against intimidation, misrepresentation and coercion;
  • protect freedom of association;
  • provide protection from discrimination at work;
  • provide relief for anyone who is might be discriminated against, victimised, or treated unfairly at work.

The General Protections provisions aim to accomplish this by stipulating that a person can’t take ‘adverse action.’ What this means is that a person must not terminate someone’s employment, discriminate between one worker and another or treat a worker unfavourably because you have a ‘workplace right’, have exercised a workplace right, or you propose to exercise a workplace right.

So, what exactly is a workplace right under the general protections provisions? An example would be if a worker requested a raise after learning that they were being underpaid. A workplace right may also refer to issues concerning occupational health and safety.

A general protections claim could relate to a dismissal, but it need not necessarily be the case. You can still be working and utilise the general protections provisions to assert your rights at work.

Act quickly if you are about to be terminated for exercising a workplace right. If your employer has violated the Fair Work Act’s general protections provisions as the Fair Work can prohibit them from terminating your employment.

If you need an employment lawyer in Stawell to assist with a general protections matter, we can assist.

Issues regarding leave entitlements

The National Employment Standards (NES) provides the basic requirements for all workers covered by the national workplace relations scheme. The NES includes minimum leave entitlements that extend to all qualifying permanent workers.

Annual leave, sick leave, carers leave, long service leave, long service leave, maternity leave, and compassionate leave are all covered by the National Employment Standards.

What kind of leave am I entitled to?

If you are not a casual employee, you have the right to four weeks of annual leave, ten days of paid personal leave, and two days of unpaid personal leave each year. You can also take two days off for compassionate reasons.

In Victoria, an employee may request long service leave after seven years of continuous employment with an employer.

Parents have the right to take unpaid parental leave in most cases, and qualifying parents may apply for government-funded parental leave.

Any outstanding annual leave and long service leave entitlements must be paid when an employee resigns or is terminated. In certain cases, additional entitlements can be paid on top of that.

Underpayments or wage discrepancies

It’s not unusual for errors to occur when it comes to salary calculations. This can lead to underpayment or overpayment, which could last for years. An employer that underpays an employee is breaking the law.

If you’re an employee who believes you’re not being paid fairly, the first thing you can do is talk to your boss about it. If you believe the problem is not being addressed, you can make contact with the Fair Work Ombudsman or hire a lawyer to help you.


WorkCover is a government insurance scheme that is designed to help people who have been injured at work.

What kinds on injuries are covered?

WorkCover covers a wide range of injuries, including on-the-job injuries, injuries aggravated by work, work-related disorders or illnesses, such as cancer and strokes, as well as mental injury conditions.

To be eligible for benefits, a worker must be able to demonstrate a connection between their job and the injury.

An employee must fill out a WorkCover claim form and serve it on the employer in order to pursue a claim. The employer must then send this claim form to the appropriate insurance company for review.

What are the available entitlements?

The worker is entitled to payment of medical and like expenses if the claim is approved. This includes any medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident or illness, as long as the costs are deemed “reasonable.”

The employee is also eligible to receive weekly payments. Weekly payments are calculated using an average of the worker’s earnings in the twelve months preceding the injury. Payments are based on a proportion of previous earnings.

Employers are also expected to pay superannuation to workers who are on WorkCover in some cases.

In certain cases, employees will be able to receive a lump sum payment for their injuries (or injuries).

An claim form impairment benefits is the first possible lump sum claim. This claim can be made after an injury has stabilised, which means it is not getting better or worse. The claim is evaluated by a specialist doctor, who assigns a grade to the injury.

The second potential lump sum is called a common law damages claim. If your injury was due to the fault or negligence of another party, you may be able to pursue this claim.

In addition to negligence, you need to show that you have a ‘serious injury’. This claim should be brought within six years from the date of the injury.

Employment lawyer serving Stawell, Claven Burdess. 


If you require an employment lawyer in Stawell, contact Claven Burdess. We offer a free case assessment.

If you have questions in relation to costs, please consult this page.



(03) 5516 7973


[email protected]


PO Box 327 Warrnambool, VIC 3280

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