The Australian Human Rights Commission and the state discrimination bodies can investigate claims of harassment and unlawful discrimination that arise in connection with the workplace. These claims are especially damaging to the company brand and are legally complex. The AHRC requires the parties to attempt to conciliate the dispute before the complainant can pursue the matter in the Federal Courts. Successful conciliation requires expertise in the law and people management. PCS can advise on the legal technicalities in discrimination claims, provide strategic advice, and attend the conciliation to negotiate amicable agreements and prevent further legal action to minimise the impact on an organisation’s image.
The Fair Work Commission has jurisdiction to hear a number of different claims arising from situations in the workplace, including Unfair Dismissal claims, General Protections claims and Anti-Bullying applications. For Unfair Dismissal and General Protections claims, the Commission requires, as a preliminary step, parties to conciliate the matter before going to arbitration. Successful conciliation and, if needed, arbitration requires expertise in the law and people management. PCS offers comprehensive services in this area, providing expertise to ensure that an outcome is achieved that mutually benefits all parties.
Investigations and prosecutions in work health and safety matters are typically all consuming when they happen in an organisation. PCS can provide your organisation with proactive and preventative approaches through policies, procedures and training to reduce the risk of a work health and safety incident happening at the workplace. If a work health and safety incident has occurred, PCS can advise you on the most appropriate strategy for your business and can conduct investigations to help move your organisation forward.
The vast majority of employers will have policies for workplace investigations and the way in which these investigations are conducted will involve legal, reputational, and financial risks. Complaints warranting investigation may be indicative of broader disharmony within the workplace that should be addressed and the parties involved in grievance handling procedures may be emotionally vested or subject to a perceived bias. Engaging an external investigator creates the necessary impartiality and fairness, may invoke legal professional privilege and reduces the impact upon ongoing workplace relationships. PCS also offers services in preparing for the investigatory process such as preparing letters and scripts that are tailored to the alleged complaint.
Organisations may find themselves in situations where conflicts and disputes arise for any number of reasons, including legal and non-legal issues. Mediation, if undertaken strategically and with expertise, will mutually benefit both parties and allow for relationships, behaviour and culture in the workplace to continue successfully. PCS offers a comprehensive suite of services, and can provide you with access to specialised and effective dispute resolution mechanisms to achieve an amicable result for all parties.
Organisations need to consider the termination benefits that are payable to their employees post-termination to ensure that they are complying with the legislative framework and obligations to their shareholders. PCS can assist you in the structure of the remuneration and benefits of your employees and the drafting of employment contracts to ensure that when termination of an employee occurs that you have upheld your legal obligations.
Some businesses offer opportunities for workplace experience or rely on volunteers. However, the Fair Work Ombudsman is taking a much stronger focus on such arrangements. If these arrangements are not properly structured, your organisation could inadvertently be creating an employment relationship thereby subject to minimum employee entitlements. As such, PCS offers planning, assistance and the provision of bespoke unpaid work documentation for approved vocational placements, genuine volunteers, and other lawful arrangements.
Surveillance is carried out in workplaces in a number of different ways including, but not limited to, cameras in the office and using applications to track internet usage. Organisations are likely to have measures implemented to ensure security and safety of the business and its staff. It is paramount that surveillance measures implemented in the workplace are compliant with statutory regulations and obligations, as organisations will place themselves at significant legal risk should they not be compliant. PCS offers a comprehensive suite of services allowing your organisation to utilise surveillance in accordance with the law.
Managing long term medical absenteeism can be frustrating for employers and detrimental both financially and culturally to the organisation. PCS can help employers develop a comprehensive strategy to minimise the impact of the challenges that arise from long term medical absenteeism. PCS has the legal and commercial knowledge to provide the advice to employers that enable employers to make informed decisions for their business needs and interests.
Work flexibility is coveted by many employees in today’s workforce and a legislatively defined group of employees will have the right to make a request for flexible working arrangements under the National Employment Standards. Employers may wish to take a proactive approach to flexible working arrangements to attract talented people and enhance satisfaction and retention among existing staff. Organisations must consider the disruption, risk management and WHS obligations that may arise such as in working from home arrangements. PCS can provide wholistic recommendations on flexible work agreements and advice for determining whether such a request is feasible for your business.