In the realm of employment law, Part 3-1 of the Fair Work Act 2009 enshrines numerous safeguards for employees against detrimental actions taken by employers. These protections come under the purview of “Adverse Action” or “General Protections”.
Understanding Adverse Action/General Protections:
The Act’s General Protections provisions are intended to defend employees’ rights, deter workplace discrimination, and offer effective recourse for employees who’ve suffered harmful consequences for exercising their rights.
Specifically, Section 340 of the Act prohibits employers from dismissing an employee or taking any other harmful action because an employee exercises a workplace right.
What Constitutes Adverse Action?
The definition of “adverse action” hinges on the individuals involved. For example, if an employer dismisses an employee, injures them in their role, alters their position to their detriment, or discriminates among employees, it is considered as an adverse action. Such action can also be applied by a potential employer refusing to hire a prospective employee.
Moreover, adverse action can occur when a principal contractor refuses to utilize an employee hired through a labor-hire company. Therefore, even as a labor-hire employee, you enjoy protections against adverse action from the principal contractor engaging your services.
The Significance of Workplace Rights:
Workplace rights typically encompass entitlements or responsibilities under a workplace law, instrument, or industrial body order. Some examples include the right to a safe workplace, the right to minimum award wages, the right to lawful absences, and the right to workers’ compensation.
The Act’s General Protections provisions are comprehensive, including sections prohibiting coercion, undue influence, misrepresentation, discrimination based on protected attributes, protections during temporary absence from work, and sham contracting arrangements.