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Workplace Relations & HR ServicesWorkplace Relations & Employment Law - NSW

Are you a Business Owner?

Looking for employment lawyers in NSW?

We are unique in that we have both Legal and HR professionals, with extensive business experience, who combine their expertise to come up with legally compliant, practical and commercially sound solutions.

We help business owners create and maintain a productive workplace culture by assisting with the following:

  1. Introduction
  2. Recruiting the Right Employees - Position Descriptions
  3. Employment Contracts
  4. Managing Employee Performance
  5. Workplace Policies & Procedures
  6. Engaging Independent Contractors
  7. Discipline and Termination of Employees
  8. Redundancy & Unfair Dismissal Claims
  9. Partnering with Business
  10. Industrial Relations Dispute Resolution
  11. Our Team & Promise
  12. Workplace & Employment Law Articles

Business Owners in NSW

Gavin Hanrahan - Workplace Lawyer / Employment Specialist

Message Gavin Hanrahan

Email Gavin Hanrahan - Employment Law Specialist in Newcastle


1. Introduction

Our Team wants to help your business prosper through a motivated and productive workforce. Employees are your most valuable, productive and rewarding asset if managed properly, or a source of much frustration if not.

Our Employment Lawyers can help ensure that you have the right people and performance management practices in place so that you can stay focused on operational priorities and sustaining profitability, rather than dealing with time consuming employee grievances or being distracted by disgruntled or unmotivated employees.

An unhappy or uncommitted workforce can be costly and even prohibitive in terms of your business achieving its true potential. This is where our team of Employment Lawyers can help!

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2. Recruiting the Right Employees - Position Descriptions

Employment Law - Recruitment - Turnbull Hill LawyersRecruiting employees can be time consuming and costly without the correct processes in place. Position Descriptions can help you to properly define the technical expertise you want the employee to have and also the skills and behaviours that are important to achieve success in the role. If the employee doesn't fit in with your workplace culture, they're likely to become unhappy, disruptive and a costly short term proposition.

A current Position Description will not only help you to portray an accurate description of the job in an advertisement, it can also be used at pre-interview stage and during the interview to let them know what the expectations are up front. This helps both you and the candidate to determine whether they are the right fit. It is always better to have these discussions before a job offer is made. If there are any surprises after they have started work, you risk losing a lot of the employee's trust and possibly bring out an early departure.

Our team of Employment Lawyers can:

  • Review or develop Position Descriptions
  • Implement an effective recruitment process, improving your ability to select and retain the right employees

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3. Employment Contracts

Once you've selected the right employee and agreed on terms, it is important to record the arrangement in either: a Letter of Appointment, Employment Contract or Workplace Agreement.

This can be critical in avoiding disputes and costly employment related litigation. Contracts are essential for all employees, whether they are Managers or Award based.

Contracts must be kept up to date, especially if duties or positions change. At a minimum all contracts should be reviewed every 3 years.

Our team of Employment Lawyers can:

  • Draft workplace agreements and advise you on the correct process for implementation and document lodgement procedures with the relevant government authority
  • Draft and assist you in implementing contracts for all employees
  • Review current contracts to ensure they remain valid and legal

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Employment Law - Turnbull Hill Lawyers in Newcastle


4. Managing Employee Performance

Once an employee has been recruited into the business, it is important to set performance goals and then regularly review their progress in achieving those goals. Once again, this is where the Position Description comes into play. Performance goals should stem from the employee's Position Description and this provides the basis for ongoing performance monitoring and review. Done properly, this process provides the employee with clarity about how their individual achievements contribute to the success of the overall business.

Our team of Employment Lawyers can:

  • Review existing or draft new Position Descriptions to ensure your employees are clear on responsibilities
  • Implement a performance planning and review process that enables employees to set goals and receive regular feedback about their performance

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5. Workplace Policies & Procedures

Workplace Policy  & Procedure - Turnbull Hill Lawyers in NewcastleEmployee performance is also affected by the way people are managed in the workplace. Employees generally expect that everyone is treated fairly and equitably when it comes to things like entitlements, grievances, promotion, termination, etc. They expect (and are entitled) to be able to come to work in an environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and hostility cause by bullying behaviour.

The best way of ensuring this occurs is to have workplace policies and procedures that are transparent to everyone and, most importantly, are enforced by management in a fair and consistent manner. Considerable attention should be paid when drafting such policies and they should be regularly reviewed.

Our team of Employment Lawyers can:

  • Review appropriate policies and procedures that are specific to your business which cover matters such as OH&S, recruitment, performance management, harassment, leave management, IT, social media, travel, etc
  • Draft an employee handbook which gives employees a summary of key workplace policies, procedures and practices as they apply in your workplace
  • Conduct workplace investigations and assist in resolving workplace bullying and harassment complaints before they escalate
  • Act on your behalf and respond to any legal proceedings or Human Rights and Equal Opportunity complaints made against you

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Turnbull Hill Lawyers - Solicitors in Newcastle


6. Engaging Independent Contractors

New legislation governing independent contractor agreements commenced in 2006. It is critical to obtain advice as to whether independent contractors are truly that or whether they could be found to be employees under common law. Not only can fines be issued for Award underpayments and penalties, this can also affect termination of employment (and possibly unfair dismissal), workers compensation, superannuation and payroll tax.

Our team of Employment Lawyers can:

  • Advise you of any risks involved in engaging independent contractors
  • Draft appropriate subcontractor agreements that you can utilise

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7. Discipline and Termination of Employees

Redundancy - Unfair Dismissal - Turnbull Hill LawyersDespite all best efforts, there are times when you may be faced with someone who is underperforming, behaving inappropriately, being uncooperative or has engaged in an act of misconduct. It is critical that all such matters be addressed promptly with the employee concerned as tolerance of poor performance can have an extremely negative impact on the entire workplace. A culture of non-compliance and negativity amongst the troops will quickly spread.

Aside from the risk and cost of unfair dismissal, it is good practice to have proper procedures in place for dealing with poor performance and termination of employment. Even though a person's employment may have to be terminated, other employees will make a judgement as to whether or not the person was given a fair go. If not, trust issues and resentment towards management can start to develop amongst those that remain.

Our team of Employment Lawyers can:

  • Coach or advise you (and managers) on the best ways to handle difficult employees or situations, with a view to turn around performance
  • Provide you with employee counselling and termination procedures and assist with these processes
  • Ensure that your employment contracts give you the required basis for termination and provide legal notice periods

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8. Redundancy & Unfair Dismissal Claims

There may also be times when you have to make an employee redundant. Redundancies can also attract an unfair dismissal claim. Employers must be able to prove that there has been a downturn in business leading to the need to reduce employees or cut costs, or that the introduction of new technology has lead to needing fewer employees to do the job. Certain procedural obligations must be met when actioning redundancies or, once again, this can have a negative impact on the workplace.

Assisting employees to cope with redundancy and supporting them to find new employment is also an important obligation in the redundancy process. We have a team of expert Redundancy Lawyers who have extensive experience in this area.

Our team of Employment Lawyers can:

  • Advise on your legal position regarding any redundancy
  • Advise you about the correct processes to follow when making employees redundant
  • Assist with counselling and job seeking strategies for employees who are existing the business
  • Appear in court on your behalf to defend any employment related claims (unfair dismissal)

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Employment Law - Turnbull Hill Lawyers - Solicitors in Newcastle


9. Partnering with Business

Effectively managing the people in your organisation is a business imperative. Changing legislation, social needs, labour market and economic trends are just some of the variables that can provide constant challenges to business (small and large).

For the small to medium business owner, it is often not viable to engage a full-time human resources specialist or legal advisor and this is where our Team of Workplace Lawyers can help. Our team is unique in that we have both legal and HR professionals, with extensive business experience, who combine their expertise to come up with legally compliant, practical and commercially sound solutions.

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10. Industrial Relations Dispute Resolution

Businesses of all types and sizes are susceptible to industrial relations disputes. From small-medium businesses to multi-nationals, all business owners need to be prepared to handle an industrial relations dispute should it arise in their workplace. The widely publicised Qantas 2011 Industrial Relations Dispute highlights the fact that there is still a lot of confusion about industrial relations law and how the Fair Work Australia Act actually works. To eliminate this confusion and alleviate the impact of any industrial relations dispute in the workplace, we've developed a number of strategies that we employ to help business owners reach an early resolution, allowing you to 'get on with the job at hand'.

Our team of Industrial Relations Lawyers are experienced in a diverse range of alternative dispute resolution techniques including mediation, arbitration and conciliation. We are skilled in helping business owners in NSW resolve industrial relations disputes because we have an understanding and sound knowledge of the relevant industrial and legal issues. If you are a business owner in need of an Industrial Relations Solicitor, contact us today to discuss your circumstances.

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Business Owners in NSW


11. Our Workplace & Employment Lawyers:

Our Promise:

  • Highly professional and friendly service at all times
  • Highly qualified team
  • A money back guarantee on our service
  • Complete confidentiality at all times
  • Fast, efficient and courteous service

We work with clients with the aim to provide long-term strategies to achieve the best industrial and employment relationships, having regard to workplace culture, commercial outcomes and the need to maintain constructive and beneficial relationships.

Our team realises that employee turnover and mobility affects every business, and exposure to risk is greater than it has ever been. We believe managing this risk involves making correct and timely decisions at every stage of the employment relationship, from the first interview and contract negotiations to managing performance and termination of an employment contract.

Our team of Workplace Lawyers prides itself on taking a proactive and commercial approach to providing advice about our clients’ workplace issues.

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12. Workplace & Employment Law - Related Articles

  1.  What constitutes a family emergency when giving employees' carer's leave?
  2. Employer makes a $1.4 million mistake by failing to follow due process
  3. Unfair Dismissal Maximum Compensation Explained
  4. The FWC clarifies the meaning of "Casual Employment" and "Casual Employee"
  5. Workplace Bullying: The new proposed laws and what they could mean for employers
  6. Some guidance on what is acceptable alternative employment
  7. The Unfair Dismissal High Income Threshold Explained
  8. Workplace Investigations: Internal Vs External
  9. Changes to unfair dismissal laws in 2013
  10. Accountancy firm discriminated against an employee suffering from depression
  11. 10 Rules for Executives to Follow When Confronted with a Disciplinary Meeting
  12. Achieving a high-performance culture in your business
  13. Refusing an Employee Request for Flexible Work Arrangements
  14. Fair Work Ombudsman launches another pregnancy discrimination case
  15. Accountancy Firm Slugged Over $26,000 for Unlawful Termination
  16. Redundancy Selection Process Irrelevant in Determining the Fairness of Dismissal
  17. Misconduct at Work Can Lead to a Summary Dismissal
  18. Protecting High Income Employees by Providing a Guarantee of Annual Earnings
  19. Why Employers Need a Social Media Policy
  20. How can the Paid Parental Leave scheme help employers?
  21. Resign or be fired?
  22. Dad and Partner Pay (DAPP)
  23. 6 Things You Can Do To Improve Employee Attendance
  24. Meal Breaks for Award Employees
  25. Fair Work Australia & New Changes to Modern Award Rates
  26. GPS Tracking in work vehicles: Make sure it's legal!
  27. If I pay my employees above-award rates, do I still have to pay penalties
  28. Can I Eliminate Award Coverage If I Pay My Employees Above Award Wages

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See Also

Publications

Employment

Reasonable Additional Hours

A ruling in a September Court case provides an example of what constitutes "reasonable additional hours". This case is useful in getting an understanding of what "reasonable additional hours" means. Notwithstanding the Law will change from 1 January 2010. Note: If you are a national system employer, under current l...

Read More ...

6 Things You Can Do To Improve Employee Attendance

Employee Absenteeism - What can you do about it? Excessive absenteeism can be costly for business in terms of both replacement costs and lost productivity. If not managed properly, chronic offenders can also be a source of frustration for those employees who generally do the right thing.

Below are 6 things that you can do to imp...

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As an employer you could be liable for the sexually harassing behaviour of a contractor

A recent decision of the Federal Court of Australia highlights yet another risk for employers. This case involved a work situation typical in a lot of workplaces across Australia... an employee working alongside a sub contractor. The key question for determination by the court in this case, was whether the sub contractor should be cla...

Read More ...

What are the new workplace bullying laws in 2014?

Over the last few years workplace bullying has received a lot of focus from our politicians and the media. This resulted in changes being made to the Fair Work Act last year (2013), with changes specifically made to bullying in the workplace. These changes came into effect from the start of this year (2014). What are the changes? If a...

Read More ...

What constitutes a family emergency when giving employees' carer's leave?

Since 2010, the National Employment Standards (NES) have applied to all employees covered by the national workplace relations system. Regardless of any terms outlined in agreements, awards and employment contracts, the leave entitlements outlined in the NES apply to all employees and employers must honour those entitlements. The NES estab...

Read More ...

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