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Adverse Action Claims On the Rise

By David Bates, MD, Better HR – Australia’s leading HR and employment relations service for employers

The latest statistics released by the Fair Work Commission show a worrying increase in the number of ‘adverse action’ claims being lodged against Australian employers.

Almost 750 claims based on ‘adverse action’ were lodged by employees against their employers during the last quarter, a significant increase over the previous quarter.

According to David Bates, Managing Director of Better HR: “This rise in adverse action claims is a cause for considerable concern.”

Unlike unfair dismissal claims, employees do not need to complete a ‘minimum employment period’ before being eligible to bring claims for adverse action and, more importantly, in these claims the onus of proof is reversed.

According to Bates: “Australia’s employers need to know that, under the current laws, they will be effectively considered guilty of having taken adverse action until they can prove their innocence. This is neither fair nor reasonable.”

Neither the current commonwealth Government nor the Opposition plans to change Australia’s adverse action laws, leaving hard-working small business owners dangerously exposed to these costly claims.

Bates warns employers that: “There is no maximum compensation limit when it comes to claims based on so-called adverse action. As the most recent statistics from the Commission make clear, employees are now lodging these claims in ever-increasing numbers because it’s easier for them to win and the compensation is uncapped.”