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  • #966766
    Flash
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    • Total posts: 21
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    Just a quick intro – I started my business back in 2003 in Victoria with just myself working from home. We now have 10 staff all working from home in VIC, WA, QLD, NSW. I recently relocated from Victoria to Queensland to get a better life/work balance which is working out really well. There have been many hurdles over that time but I have found the whole process challenging but mostly enjoyable. My current challenge is with a anti-discrimation claim from one of my employees who claims he didnt get a opportunity that he felt he should have been offered. Because of confidentiality I cant give any further details other than to say I am really stress and upset that anyone would think I would discriminate but my solicitor tells me ‘Its the cost of doing business.’ I want to know if that is really true, has anyone else had to deal with this system? The advise I am getting is to pay a ‘goodwill’ payment so it all goes away, otherwise I will be up for a big solicitors bills to fight it. It really angers me that I have to end up paying for something that I did not do!
    Any advise would be appreciated.

    #1020769
    akagrp
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    Hello Flash

    I have not personally experienced this myself, but I have had clients in a similar position, at the time his first lawyer advised to just pay and that was fine but the amount was a joke. My client then hired another lawyer and they were able to reduce a more realistic settlement. Though at present with the new Work Laws and to be honest not sure how many of us actually know too much about them this type of claim is treated.

    Personally I would not cave, if I knew there was no merit in the claim I would not wish to establish a precedent for other staff by paying that staff member. The facts of the case should be able to prove if there was discrimination or not, the reality is also the staff member may also be bluffing as they will also needs funds to prove unless they find a lawyer that will charge on success

    It is very hard to give answer not having the facts of the situation though

    Hope it works out for you

    #1020770
    Flash
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    Thanks for your comments Anna. The system is extremely frustrating as it seems anyone can make a claim without having any proof. The claim is a age discrimination, I can prove this claim is false as I have other employees in the same age bracket that have been given the same opportunities as the one he is referring to but that doesnt seem to matter at this point. We have been to mediation but after I explained my reasons for giving the opportunity to someone else he still insisted it was age discrimination, it then went to what outcome he wanted and he asked for a ridiculas amount of money. So under the advice of my solicitor we offered a much smaller ‘goodwill’ amount which he rejected so now it seems the ball is back in his court to get legal advice and either make us a counter offer or go onto the tribual. I am not concerned about proving my case at the tribual but just how much it is going to cost me in legal fees to do this. I just keep thinking its the principle of it all….

    #1020771
    Karen Wardle
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    • Total posts: 363
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    Hi Flash

    I feel for you and wish you all the best. Please let us know how you get on.

    #1020772
    Flash
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    • Total posts: 21
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    The saga continues but I will certainly let you know how it all ends up.

    #1020773
    Brent Van Der Wel
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    Hi Flash,

    It’s a real shame someone would feel they needed to try and seek compensation from you. I do fear that we are coming a more and more litigious society. I can imagine the stress this puts you under, but take comfort in knowing that you’ve got a whole forum full of people who are behind you, trying to help rather than hinder your business.

    Good luck with your fight!

    #1020774
    Flash
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    • Total posts: 21
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    Thank you Brent, it has been most encouraging receiving all your replies. The only advice I can give other employers at this point is to make sure you explain the reasons why you selected one employee over another and back it up with factual information like employee reviews. This is extra work for a small business owner but if you dont want to go through the stress and expense that I’m currently going through it is a necessary step. I always thought I had a good communication with all my employees but seems it was not good enough!

    #1020775
    Diana
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    • Total posts: 26
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    Hi Flash

    just a thought. Could this person have done this before? It might be worth checking into their background.

    Good Luck
    Diana

    #1020776
    Flash
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    • Total posts: 21
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    Thanks Diana, I have thought about this as he does sound like he knows how to work the system but I am not sure it would make much of a difference at this point.
    At the moment we are just trying to come to a financial goodwill payment but the gap between what he wants and what we are willing to pay is vast so who knows, the ball is in his court at the moment. Will let you know what happens.

    #1020777
    Flash
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    Re: Hi All – Update

    Just wanted to give you a update on the Anti-Discrimination & Fair Work claims…. Our solicitor is currently putting in submissions to get both of them dismissed as we dont believe he has a case that can be heard by either commission. We are keeping our fingers crossed. However, it has been very expensive in legal costs to get to this point. I keep hearing, just pay him and think of it as the ‘cost of doing business.’ If I thought for one minute we had done anything wrong, I would have & should have paid him compensation but when I know legally & morally that we have done nothing wrong, it goes against the grain to pay. Although I have to be realistic, I would prefer to pay the legal cost to fight this than to pay someone for something they do not deserve. I will keep you all updated as to the outcome and will hopefully, in hindsight, be able to give you some advice on how this whole thing could have been avoided.

    #1020778
    CruzAccountant
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    • Total posts: 195
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    wow, don’t you just wish there were “no-pay, no-charge” lawyers for businesses? Then again, there would be no money in that venture.

    Flash, post: 27646 wrote:
    I will keep you all updated as to the outcome and will hopefully, in hindsight, be able to give you some advice on how this whole thing could have been avoided.

    I think that advice would be very valuable in this forum

    #1020779
    Karen Wardle
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    • Total posts: 363
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    I will keep my fingers crossed for you………..and toes etc

    #1020780
    Karen Wardle
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    • Total posts: 363
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    Flash

    I have some information on my website that deals with employee rights in the workplace. There are also links to laying off employees and several other employee related topics.

    Flash, if you (or anyone else with who has had a similar unfortunate experience with an employee) have a few spare minutes I would be interested if you could have a look at these pages to see if I have missed anything important. I am interested to get an employers point of view. You are in this unfortunate predicament and my aim is to address ALL issues so that hopefully I can prevent it happening to others.

    I would appreciate all feedback.

    Cheers!….and thanks.

    #1020781
    Flash
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    • Total posts: 21
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    Hi Karen,
    I have read through your links and they are very helpful. One thing I always found hard to find was the actual award that the staff should be put under. If you dont get this right you could be up for a lot of back pay. Your clarification of Fulltime, Parttime & Casual is great and I wish I had of had a nice simple explanation like that when I started hiring staff.

    Still waiting to hear how the submissions have gone but will keep you informed.

    #1020782
    soliddata
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    • Total posts: 392
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    You have hit the nail on the head there – which award? The government sites are almost impossible to navigate to find this stuff.

    I am resorting to (or should I say preferring to) outsource to contractors – I get billed and just pay the invoice. Saves hours in admin.

    Kev

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