What are workplace relations?

Workplace relations generally refers to the interaction between employers, employees, industry associations, unions, and state bodies.

The relationship between an organisation and its employees influences its performance, profitability, and reputation. Employees that love coming to work are more productive and reduce the workload of HR and managers.

To effectively manage workplace relations, employers and employees should understand the key laws and regulations governing the workplace and enlist professional advice when necessary to help navigate the many issues that arise during the employment relationship.

Various state and federal laws govern different employment-related matters. There are laws governing fair work practices, national employment standards, workplace health and safety regulations, discrimination, harassment, termination, and remuneration. This can be confusing when your workplace has different types of employees, all of whom may have different entitlements.

Managing workplace disputes

Workplace disputes cause significant unrest in the workplace and are a constant focus across the employment landscape. They can significantly impact outputs and productivity, resulting in financial loss and jeopardising an organisation’s reputation, both internally and externally. These situations are often highly emotive and stressful for both employees and employers.

When dealing with a dispute, it is important for parties to understand their respective legal rights and responsibilities, and to work through practical, commercial solutions that avoid protracted legal proceedings wherever possible. Organisations should understand the types of conduct that may expose them to a potential claim, educate their workers about such issues, and work cohesively to identify and manage potential risks.

To reduce risks, dispute resolution systems should be simple, transparent, and follow logical stages so that issues may be resolved promptly. Processes should be fair and consultative, and if the employment relationship is governed by a contract or specific dispute resolution process or policy, these provisions should be carefully followed.

The Fair Work Commission has jurisdiction to resolve a range of workplace disputes, many of which relate to alleged breaches of laws aimed at protecting employees such as discrimination, harassment, bullying, unfair dismissal, and adverse action.

At DKL, we have expertise in all areas of workplace relations to assist employers proactively manage their workplaces and, where necessary, address workplace issues. We can advise and assist with:

  • Recruitment practices;
  • Employment contracts;
  • Performance management and termination;
  • Conducting and appearing in investigations;
  • Development of policies and procedures;
  • Discrimination, harassment, and bullying claims;
  • Unfair dismissal and adverse action claims;
  • Enterprise bargaining strategies and developing enterprise agreements; and
  • Workplace health and safety matters.

Employment law evolves frequently and is impacted by technological advances, globalisation, and emerging social and human rights issues. Working with a team of engaged professionals can assist directors and key personnel to effectively manage their workplace to ensure ongoing best practice.

We provide qualified advice across all areas of employment law and can implement strategies to ensure compliance with relevant laws, help minimise disruption and mitigate risk.

Call us on +61 (2) 9233 5669, email [email protected], or submit a webform to speak to one of our onboarding team about how we can help manage and improve the environment in your workplace.