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TAS 3-Month Casual Position Contract Not a Binding Agreement - Unfair Dismissal?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Rach.kennedy77, 11 September 2015.

  1. Rach.kennedy77

    Rach.kennedy77 Active Member

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    I was asked to apply for a casual position with a large organisation. I did apply and was successful in gaining employment. I was given a 3 month contract with a clear end date of 11 Nov. Today 6 weeks into the position i was informed at 11am this morning that my position was only made available to cover a maternity leave position. The employee on maternity leave has now resigned so my position will therefore end immediately and I was asked to leave the building within 30 minutes.

    Unfair work relations ombudsman web page says you must be employed for at least 6mths before its considered unfair dismissal. I was assured my conduct was not in question but I had to leave anyway.

    Does a contract not count as binding agreement in this case?
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Do you have anything in writing stating you have a 3 month contract?

    Do you have something in writing that says anything about early termination?

    You may have a case for extra money as you have forgone other employment opportunities to take up this contract. It may have also affected your Centrelink payments if you had any.

    You do need to get all your facts together with a timeline if you want to take this further.
     
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  3. Rach.kennedy77

    Rach.kennedy77 Active Member

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    Hi thanks for the reply. I do have a written contract that states duties, pay rate and contract start and end date which is 11 nov.

    I was not given prior warning, I had contacted HR the day before and asked for a meeting the following day. Hr responded by saying they were unable to meet me with me about my concerns but wanted to speak briefly with me about my current position. I was then taken into a meeting room with team leader and hr, given a letter that was about 4 lines long that said your position ends right now please take your belongings and leave within 30 minutes. I was then informed that it wasn't anything to do with me it was just a necessary step they had to take. I was told that the position had been advertised several days prior and i was welcome to reapply and that even though i was asked to leave they would pay me for the remainder of that day. I was paid today and it was short paid by 4 hours @39.77 per hour.

    I have checked the contract and no where does it state that early termination would be an option or at there discretion.

    I was actually given a contract before starting that gave me a pay rate of 42.33 per hour, at the end of the first fortnight i was approached by management who requested i immediately sign another contract with pay rate of 39.77 because the first contract was a mistake.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    OK.

    You appear to have a good case for breach of contract though not a 100% guaranteed win, it is just the way law is :(

    Options:
    1. Do nothing.
    2. Fight this yourself
    3. Get help.

    Annoys me when employers think they can just 'dispose' of people regardless of contracts they willingly sign.

    Option 2 is certainly doable if you have the energy, commonsense and persistence to see it through. You need to think through what you want and what'll you'll accept. There should be 2 different figures. Write things down, get organised, talk to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and the Fair Work Commission (FWC), arrange to see HR and explain there some issues to work through regarding your contract. See if you can convince them it is in their interest to negotiate with you rather than your lawyers. Downsides: You are unlikely to get a future job with them while they 'remember you'. Your emotions may cloud your ability to make good decisions.

    Option 3. Get help. Saves you time and energy and some stress. Downside: Costs you some money.

    And take a day or 2 break, forget this bad episode for 1 or 2 days, recharge your battery, re-think things through again, then finally choose your option.

    Good luck.
     
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  5. Rach.kennedy77

    Rach.kennedy77 Active Member

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    Thank you for your reply.
    After having read the contract again to make sure there are no escape clauses I have made a timeline starting from the date i was asked to apply right through to dismissal. I will be making an appointment with a lawyer first thing monday morning as I appreciate your remark about emotions clouding judgement and think I would probably do more harm than good if I tried to defend myself.
    Thanks again.
     

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