Many companies provide sophisticated contracts for their higher paid employees and contractors. Often neither the employees nor the companies fully appreciate how those contracts will affect a sudden termination of employment which is harmful to the employee. When contracts are breached there is often a valuable right to the employee or contractor to compensation which needs to be explored. It may not be found in the termination clause. There are implied terms at Common Law and in many Statutes.
Many employers ignore that highly paid employees and contractors ($150k + pa) can apply under the Fair Work Act for compensation against most wrongful termination of employment. There is a long list of prohibited conduct by an employer which can result in compensation to an employee. This includes redundancy, temporary illness, injury, family or carer’s responsibilities and numerous forms of discrimination.
The Fair Work Act 2009 contains new and somewhat radical protection for all employees under the heading of General Protections against a range of Adverse Actions against an employee by a company or fellow worker. It gives protection to employees who speak up for their employment rights. It defines employment rights very broadly. It empowers employees to bring their employer or fellow employee before the Fair Work Tribunal and the Federal Court to enforce the law. It gives the Court power to impose a penalty onto the offender, both the employing entity and individuals.
It is interesting that where a fellow employee is causing the problem that you do not need to drag the company into the dispute. This prevents a problematic manager shielding behind the company/employer.
There can be no simple statement of how far this law extends. It is very much in its infancy and developing. We can advise how far the law can assist you.
The law is often more protective of higher paid employees and yet it is these employees that are more reluctant to take advice. Erroneously they think that little can be done or because of their close connection to the company are fearful of consequences such as reputational damage. The right legal advice prevents reputational damage as well as reduce financial losses.
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