Maat's Method

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Employment & Workplace Lawyers Australia

The relationship between an employer and an employee is, beyond our families, one of the most important relationships in our lives. Unfortunately, like all relationships, sometimes things can go wrong. For example:

  1. Have you been dismissed unfairly, or unlawfully, from your job?
  2. Have you been punished by your workplace for doing something that you are allowed or entitled to do, such as taking leave or making a complaint?
  3. Has your employment contract been breached?
  4. Are you being treated differently to other employees on the basis of your sex, race, disability or some other attribute?
  5. Are you being bullied or harassed by another employee?

 If any of the above circumstances apply to you, you may be entitled to damages. As Australian human rights lawyers, we specialise in employment law, and we can help.

Types Of Employment Law We Can Help With:

Unfair Dismissal

If you have been dismissed in the past 21 days, or you are about to be dismissed, you may be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal if your dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. This might mean;

  • There was no valid reason for the dismissal related to your capacity or conduct;
  • You were not notified of your dismissal, or the reason for it; and/or
  • You were not given a proper warning or proper opportunity to respond.

There can also be other reasons why a dismissal might be considered unfair.

If you have been the subject of an unfair dismissal, we can help.

Breach of Contract

Employment contracts govern the rights and obligations of employers and employees in Australia. In most cases, employees sign a contract of employment upon commencing with an employer.

Importantly, an employer must ensure that they provide the employee with what they promised when they hired them. This includes leave entitlements, safe and appropriate working conditions and a scope of work comparable to what they were actually hired for.

If you believe that your contract of employment has been breached, and you have suffered damage as a result, we can help.

Discrimination

In Australia, it is illegal to discriminate against someone in the context of their employment on the basis of a “protected attribute”. This means, if you are being treated differently to somebody else on the basis of one of these attributes, your employer may have breached the law, and you may be owed damages. The attributes include:

  • Race;
  • colour;
  • sex;
  • sexual orientation;
  • age;
  • physical or mental disability;
  • marital status;
  • family or carer’s responsibilities;
  • pregnancy;
  • religion;
  • political opinion;
  • national extraction;
  • social origin;
  • breastfeeding;
  • gender identity;
  • intersex status; and
  • experiencing family and domestic violence.

In addition, if you have been discriminated against on the basis of your medical record, you may be entitled to make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

If you have suffered from discrimination in the context of your employment, we can help.

Bullying and Harassment

Bullying can happen at work when one or more people behave unreasonably towards another worker or group of workers, which could create a risk to their health and safety.

Bullying can include:

  • behaving aggressively towards others
  • teasing or playing practical jokes
  • pressuring someone to behave inappropriately
  • excluding someone from work-related events
  • or making unreasonable work demands.

To be liable for bullying in the workplace, the person or group who is doing the bullying must have engaged in the conduct at least twice.

If you have been bullied at work, we can help.

Sexual Harassment at Work

Under the Fair Work Act, sexual harassment at work happens when a worker or group of workers:

  • makes an unwelcome sexual advance
  • makes an unwelcome request for sexual favours
  • engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature about another worker.

To be sexual harassment, it has to be reasonable to expect that there is a possibility that the worker being sexually harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Some forms of sexual harassment can also be considered bullying if the behaviour is repeated or continuous. But unlike bullying, sexual harassment does not need to be continuous or repeated behaviour, it can be a one-off event. There is also no need to establish a risk to health and safety.

It is well established that employers are liable for acts of harassment and discrimination that occur in their workplaces unless they can demonstrate that:

  1. They have taken all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring in their workplaces; and
  2. They have responded appropriately to resolve incidents of discrimination and harassment.

Since 2014, damages awards for Sexual Harassment at work have increased significantly, in line with the community’s increasing intolerance of the issue, even in cases where there has been no recognisable lasting personal injury.

This is largely because of the case of Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd [2014] in which the full court of the Federal Court awarded $130,000 to an employee who had been sexually harassed by her colleague at work. The Court’s award was a recognition that higher amounts should be awarded in sexual harassment matters in order to reflect prevailing community standards in relation to the issue. This trend has since continued, with the case of Green v State of Queensland [2017] QCAT seeing the Tribunal award $156,051 to an employee who was the subject of a prank with sexual connotations, even though there was no recognisable lasting personal injury caused. Of the global award, $70,000 was awarded for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and the offence, embarrassment, humiliation and intimidation suffered. This is only one example of many.

If you have been a victim of sexual harassment at work, we can help.

General Protections

In Australia, the Fair Work Act protects the rights of employees of work. These rights include:

  • the right to take leave and other entitlements
  • the right to be part of and engage in a union
  • the right to be paid what you are owed
  • the right to make a complaint and not to be punished for it
  • the right to do your job in peace; and
  • the right to not be discriminated against

If an employer takes adverse action against you because you exercised one of your workplace rights, then you might be able to bring a claim called a ‘General Protections’ claim against your employer.

If your employer has taken adverse action against you because of a workplace right, we can help.

Testimonials

“I could not have been more fortunate or more pleased to have Peter Fam take on my case against an ‘establishment bully’. From the outset, Peter’s meticulous “take one careful step at a time” approach, instilled great confidence in me that we had an excellent chance to bring justice to my situation. Peter displayed an amazing ability to explain the nuances of my situation and to sincerely and effectively involve me in the decision along the way. His dedication to humanity, truth and integrity was clear, and undoubtedly had the ‘bully’ on the back foot. Thus, we had a very good outcome. Maat’s Method: Outstanding excellent service!”

Dr Georgina Hale MBBS FRACP PhD

“My experience with Peter Fam was nothing short of special. His approach was unique because he was able to provide a comprehensive understanding of my situation and recommend an action plan. Any lawyer can quote and reference the law, but Peter stood out to me because of his ability to speak in my language and reference the things that mattered to me. His communication was clear and his advice came with no pressure. He understood the importance of different stakeholders and how even a positive legal outcome could have the potential to impact some parties negatively. He had a truly objective approach to my situation and had the grounded energy i needed to redirect my attention to where it was needed most. More than anything, Peter restored my hope in humanity because at a time when i had lost hope in people, he was there to show me that there are still good, honest truthful people in the world that value doing whats right more than doing whats profitable. Thank you Peter”

Ali Mahfouz

“Peter was extremely helpful during a tricky court case and time. He supported me through navigating and settling with an incredible outcome. When dealing with the case, Peter was extremely professional but also sensitive to my emotions and feelings. Peter was very helpful in understanding specific nuances of the law to support my case. Through our interactions and the way he approached the situation, showed his integrity and authentic desire to support people. His work went beyond and above and I highly recommended his services. “

Carli

“My experience with Peter at Maat`s Method was a pleasant and positive one. Peter was caring, understanding and of a generous spirit…fulfilling a much needed service…administered with integrity…”

Carolyn Crowe

“Peter at Maat’s Method took on my human rights case against a large government agency and achieved a favorable outcome. Many other lawyers said it couldn’t be done however Peter’s dedication and effort made it happen. Peter is a great listener, honest, responsive and effective. I am exceptionally grateful that he was my lawyer.”

William Cartwright

“Peter helped me in a time of need. He was empathetic, supportive and professional from the first time we connected.

I contacted a number of lawyers who were more worried about payment, didn’t listen to my concerns and were cold and transactional. Peter felt like a friend from the start.

Peter very quickly understood my issue and provided logical advice and direction. He took the weight of the issue off my shoulders and became my voice and advocate – I felt like I could finally breathe in an extremely stressful situation.

Peter helped me achieve justice and I recommend him to everyone who needs legal advice. With Peter you get someone dedicated to your cause, someone who is truly independent and who will fearlessly stand up for justice and truth, no matter how big the opponent may be.

Thank you Peter.”

Nicole Turnbull - Director at Neon Shed

“I had the greatest pleasure and experience having such a wonderful and extremely knowledgeable Human rights lawyer Peter Fam assist me with a very difficult and complex situation.

Peter’s passion to promote awareness knowledge and discussion on matters about Human Rights is extraordinary.

He is compassionate considerate and was very supportive towards my case. He always found the time to communicate about my concerns and I found him extremely helpful,  especially when I had nowhere to turn.

I highly recommend Peter Fam as a Human Rights lawyer, his dedication and resilience are impeccable.”

Georgia Kotsias