- The right to fair notice
If you are called to a disciplinary meeting you have the right to refuse to go ahead with the meeting until you have a support person and time to prepare. Your fair notice should include the reason for the meeting.
- The right to representation and support
This person could be a lawyer, an advocate, a support person or a workmate. They can speak on your behalf or be there as a witness and to give emotional support.
- The right to a full investigation
You have the right to be fully informed of the result of the investigation.
- The right to have full information
You have the right to know exactly what the complaint against you is, what the proof of the allegation is, and to be given a copy of all relevant information. E.g. the boss can’t use evidence from anonymous witnesses.
- The right to defend yourself
You have the right to tell your side of the story to the employer or ask your support person to speak for you.
- The right to fairness
All investigations and actions leading up to and including the disciplinary meeting must follow a fair and just process. If there is a process in your employment agreement or the company rules, the employer must follow that.
- The right to a fair and just outcome
The seriousness of the disciplinary action must reflect the seriousness of your actions: the punishment must fit the crime. Any disciplinary action, such as a warning or dismissal, must be the same action taken against other workers who have done the same thing in the past. You cannot get a harsher punishment than another worker for doing the same thing.
Government moves to strengthen employment standards
Workplace Relations and Safety minister Michael Woodhouse has announced a package of measures to strengthen enforcement of minimum employment standards.
“Employers are the backbone of our economy and most do a great job in meeting their employment obligations, but there are a number of serious breaches occurring,” Woodhouse says.
“Those who breach minimum employment standards have an unfair advantage over law abiding employers and it is unfair on employees who work hard to support their families.
“Stronger sanctions for serious breaches will send the message that this type of conduct is unacceptable. The package targets the worst transgressions of employers without imposing unnecessary compliance costs on employers in general.”
Along with tougher sanctions, the measures include increased tools for labour inspectors and clearer record keeping requirements.
The key changes will be reflected in an Employment Standards Bill to be introduced to Parliament around the middle of this year. A summary of the changes is available