Employee Disputes

Disputes may arise between small business owners and their employees often in relation to issues such as wages, awards and agreements, harassment or discrimination, and unfair dismissal.

Establishing a process to resolve complaints is an important part of your responsibilities as an employer. The process may include:

  • clarification of the issues and facts of the dispute;
  • reassurance that lodging a grievance will not prejudice employees with respect to continuing employment or career development opportunities; and
  • the right of the employee to a fair hearing and unbiased decision based on the evidence provided.

First, check the award or employee agreement for relevant information about the issue and to ascertain the rights and obligations of the employer and employee. In many cases, the solution or action required will often be obvious from the information discovered.

Try to resolve the dispute through direct discussion and informal negotiation. If the matter is not resolved informally, an independent external mediator or arbitrator may assist to resolve the matter.

Useful sites:

The Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) can assist small businesses mediate any employment related dispute that arises between employers and employees whether they are in the federal or State industrial relations system. There is no charge for mediation by the Commission.

Australian Human Rights Commission for information about employer responsibilities and anti-discrimination policies and complaint handling for small business.

The Citizens Advice Bureau offers mediation, conciliation & facilitation services.

Department of Commerce for information on labour relations in the WA State industrial relations system.

Fair Work Commission for information about the Federal industrial relations system.

Fair Work Ombudsman for information on workplace dispute resolution.

The Fair Work Commission for dispute resolution information

The Office of the Franchising Mediation Adviser

The Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia

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