High unemployment leads to more disputes

HIGH unemployment leads to employment disputes.

In November 2014, Australia's unemployment rate was 6.3%, having been on the rise for some time.

Employers are mindful of the percentage of the population standing in line, waiting for the next vacancy while employees are under pressure to hold on tightly to their jobs as there is no immediate guarantee of another.

Following this trend is an increase in employment law disputes and litigation.

A typically complex area of law, with many rules, regulations and traps, employment law was mostly unified under a National Regime in 2009, with the introduction of the Fair Work Act.

Many established industrial law principles have either been merged with or abandoned by case law interpretations of the Fair Work Act.

Over the next three weeks, we will consider some key aspects of employment law and the employment relationship as defined and governed by the Fair Work framework.

We will provide overviews of unfair dismissal, unlawful termination and the common law action of wrongful dismissal.

In summary, if an employer wants to dismiss an employee, it is essential that the correct legal framework be followed.

Broadly speaking, there are four ways that the employment relationship may end, namely:

  •  By mutual agreement;
  •  The employee resigns or abandons employment;
  •  The employer terminates the employment; or
  •  A contract for a fixed term, task or event comes to an end.

It is rare that an employer will take an action against an employee for failing to end the employment relationship lawfully.

Usually the employer is on the other end of the argument, defending an action commenced by the disgruntled former employee.


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