Industrial Dispute
Queensland Industrial Relations Commission

The Industrial Relations Act contains a number of general protection provisions that provide certain protections to employees of the Queensland state or local government.

It is strongly advised that legal advice be obtained before lodging an application regarding general protections due to the complexity of the legal issues and risk of error. If you believe you have a claim you can contact us here for assistance.

There are several different types of general protections. The most common type of General Protections claim is the one involving dismissal but claims can also relate generally to:

  • Protections relating to workplace rights;
  • Protections relating to freedom of association; and
  • Protections from workplace discrimination.

Who is eligible?

The general protections provisions in the Industrial Relations Act 2016 protect employees and prospective employees.

There are two different types of general protections claims depending on whether the dispute involves a dismissal or not.

Note: If you are not eligible to lodge a general protections application in the Industrial Relations Commission you may be eligible to pursue a general protections claim through the Fair Work Commission. Contact us to find out more.

What is adverse action?

There are several forms of conduct that constitute adverse action. Adverse action taken by an employer includes:

  • dismissal;
  • discriminating between employees;
  • altering the position of the employee to their prejudice (e.g. changes to duties or loss of promotional opportunity);
  • refusing to employ a prospective employee; or
  • offering prospective employees terms that are different (and unfair) to terms offered to others.

If the above does not describe the situation you find yourself in, please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.

A common general protections claim is one involving workplace rights. An employer must not take adverse action against an employee because the employee has or has exercised (or proposed to exercise) a workplace right.

For example, an employer must not dismiss an employee because the employee made a complaint about their wages and entitlements.

There are strict timeframes that apply to general protections claim involving dismissal. To proceed with a General Protections Application involving dismissal the employee must lodge their claim within 21 days of the dismissal taking effect. If you believe you are out of time it is crucial that you seek legal advice ASAP. We may be able to assist you with pursuing a General Protections claim outside of the 21 day timeframe if ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist.

For other forms of adverse action that does not involve dismissal, an application can be made to the Industrial Relations Commission within 6 years of the action occurring.

Note: Claims cannot be made for an action which occurred prior to the commencement of the general protections provisions on 1 March 2017.

What happens next?

Once the required form has been filed in the Industrial Registry, it will typically be forwarded to the Employer for response. The Employer must file a response to the application within 3 business days, advising whether the remedy sought by the employee is opposed and whether it agrees or disagrees with the facts detailed in the Application.

The Application will then be listed for a conciliation conference before a member of the Commission. This is an opportunity for the employer and employee to resolve the general protections dispute.

Employees can be legally represented at telephone conciliations if all parties agree or if the Commission grants leave for representation. If you require legal representation please get in touch.

If the dispute cannot be resolved at the telephone conciliation, Queensland Industrial Relations Commission member will issue a certificate to that effect and then advise on next steps. This may involve referring the matter to arbitration and hearing the application on a final basis.

How can Rubix Legal help?

Industrial Dispute - Let’s get started...

If you would like to explore your rights to pursue a claim there are several ways that we can help.
  • You can book in for a complimentary 20-minute conference call to see if it looks like you have a case.
  • You can book in for a 1-hour paid Legal Advice Consultation for a detailed and tailored discussion about your legal options and prospects.
  • If your matter is more complex, you can book in for a 2-hour paid Legal Advice and Strategy Session.
  • Already know you need ongoing assistance and representation? You can engage us to assist you with the preparation of your application, preparation for any conciliation conference or hearing or have us act on your behalf for the entire matter. You can find out more about our pricing here.

The information provided on this page is of a general nature only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice applicable to your specific circumstances. Specific legal advice is provided through our consultation sessions.

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