McDonald Murholme is well-known for its expertise, acting for employees.
The law firm was formally established in 1996 having incorporated the practice of Alan McDonald who practiced in employment law and other areas as both a barrister and a solicitor since 1978. The firm grew rapidly in response to a demand by employees following changes to the employment laws in the 1990’s. Recent indicators show that it is the preferred choice by a majority of employees in Victoria.
The radical changes made by Julia Gillard as the Minister of Employment and Workplace Relations in 2009 substantially increased workplace rights. These rights are utilised by McDonald Murholme for benefits of its clients. This is now its core business. It has acted in many of the landmark cases and continues to do so with vigour and enthusiasm.
The firm has been a member of Quality in Law (QL) since 1997. The Excellence in Law program fuels the firm’s systems to ensure that it can deliver an efficient, and affordable legal service when acting for individuals, who do not budget for unexpected or high legal costs.
McDonald Murholme comprises a good balance of bright young lawyers and experienced employment lawyers.
McDonald Murholme is focused on fairness and is dedicated to innovation in the practice of law. It has embraced change and organised to take advantage of it for its clients.
About 87% of employees from CEOs to clerical staff do not have access to free legal advice (e.g by the union) but need strong independent representatives in dealing with employment problems.
Employment laws regularly change. McDonald Murholme provides strategies to make the law work effectively for employees as it is intended to do so by the law makers.
Employment law covers rights for workers in many areas:
• Breach of contract of employment
• Under consumer laws (e.g. where the employer misrepresents the position offered to the employee)
• Anti-discrimination laws where the employer wrongfully dismisses an employee or takes adverse action against the employee (e.g. under the General Protections provision of the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004)
• Unfair dismissal laws where the employers are required to follow a process and have a valid reason before dismissing an employer (e.g. under the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Common Law – duty to act in good faith)
• Equal opportunity laws which include the rights of an employee to fair treatment when making complaints during the course of employment
• Accident Compensation Act 1985 (e.g. WorkCover)
McDonald Murholme has successfully supported employees exercising their rights over the long-term since the Keating government completely changed the landscape, creating a raft of rights for employees outside of the union movement.
In most legal disputes the best service to a client is an early resolution. An immediate attempt to resolve the problem is best achieved through direct negotiations – this is consistent with the Civil Procedure Act 2010. These negotiations require a prompt and personal service for which the firm will often offer a conditional cost ‘no-win-no-fee’ fixed cost agreement. For about 60% of clients, no formal legal proceedings are required. This saves costs, prevents damage to reputation and lets clients ‘get on with their life’.
Many employees seek advice from McDonald Murholme when they are facing termination of employment or unfair dismissal. The optimum time for an employment law client to approach us is at the first sign of the problem arising and before the dismissal occurs or reputational damage is done. Issues of workplace bullying and harassment, redundancy, unjustified warnings and punitive performance management are most common.
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