The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides protections of certain rights to Australian workers, including potential employees. These include:
- Workplace rights – such as sick leave, parental leave, the right to request flexible working arrangements etc.
- The right to engage in industrial activities
- The right to be free from unlawful discrimination
- The right to be free from undue influence or pressure in negotiating individual agreements
An employer must not take any 'adverse action' against an employee or potential employee, because they have a workplace right, have exercised a workplace right or propose to exercise that workplace right.
Adverse actions that can be taken against an employee or potential employee might include:
- dismissing them
- not giving them their legal entitlements
- changing their job to their disadvantage
- treating them differently than others
- not hiring them
- offering them different (and unfair) terms and conditions, compared to other employees.
Examples of adverse action include:
- dismissing an employee due to their temporary absence because of illness or injury
- discriminating against an employee returning from parental leave
- dismissing or suspending an employee after they lodge a work health and safety complaint.
What is the timeframe for lodging a claim?
If the claim does not involve a dismissal, you can lodge a claim up to six years after the alleged action took place.
If the claim involves a dismissal, you only have 21 days to lodge a claim.
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