Fair Work Commission trials conciliation "cooling
Following a trial last year, Australia's national workplace
relations tribunal is offering parties conciliating unfair
dismissal claims a "cooling off" period of three business
days to give unrepresented parties a chance to seek advice about
the proposed settlement. The effect of the new cooling off period
is that a party can decide to withdraw from a settlement reached at
a conciliation conference by notifying the Fair Work Commission
during the cooling off period of three business days following the
conciliation conference. However, the cooling off period can be
waived by the parties at their request.
FYI: A conciliation conference is an informal, private and
generally confidential process where a member of the Fair Work
Commission assists the parties to resolve an unfair dismissal
application by agreement. It is a preliminary step intended to
encourage resolution of the unfair dismissal claim before the
application is considered and determined formally through a
conference or hearing.
Back to the Drawing Board for Commonwealth Consolidated
We previously reported in our December 2012 Update that the
Australian Government had been working to consolidate existing
discrimination laws and had released an Exposure Draft for public
comment. Recently, the Attorney-General confirmed the Australian
Government was not proceeding with the Exposure Draft (which was
launched by his predecessor) and will instead continue to work on
consolidating Australia's anti-discrimination laws.
Since this announcement, the Australian Government has
introduced draft legislation to amend the Sex Discrimination Act
1984 (Cth) to extend the current discrimination laws to cover
sexual orientation, gender identify and intersex status. If the Sex
Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identify and
Intersex Status) Bill 2013 (Cth) is passed in its current form, it
will provide new protections against discrimination and is intended
to provide protection against discrimination for same-sex de facto
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Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
Australian employees receive certain entitlements (such as annual leave and superannuation) where contractors do not.
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