30 April Advocacy: REEF has your back when it comes to claims April 30, 2018 By Reef Admin General 0 If you ever find yourself confronted with a workplace-based claim, REEF is on hand to help and will work with you every step of the way – and our advocacy service has been in high demand in recent times. Since the start of 2018, we’ve assisted 23 agencies that have been hit with some type of formal claim by either an employee or ex-employee. Nine unfair dismissal allegations, 11 general protections’ claims and three assertions of underpayment of commission entitlements. Add to this the dozens of agencies we’ve helped to resolve workplace disputes before they’ve escalated to the point of a claim and our year is off to a busy start. Here are a few examples of how REEF has helped real estate employers through the provision of advocacy services. Unfair dismissal The employee, who was the agency’s office manager, was dismissed for serious misconduct stemming from the provision of confidential information to other employees of the agency. The confidential information related to the financial affairs of the agency. The employer didn’t undertake an investigation into the allegation, nor did they give the employee an opportunity to respond. The employee was seeking 26 weeks’ pay. However REEF succeeded in resolving the matter through conciliation with the ultimate payout amounting to approximately three weeks’ pay. General protections This type of claim is growing in popularity as damages are uncapped and the onus of proof rests with the employer. The employee alleged she was dismissed for refusing the employer’s sexual advances. The employer, on the other hand, alleged the dismissal was because of her poor work performance. The employee, who was legally represented, sought $25,000 in damages. REEF presented a solid defence based on CCTV recordings, as well as other witness evidence to support the employer’s position. As a result, the employee withdrew her claim without the payment of any money by the employer. Underpayment of commission Here the employee lodged a claim, through his union, with the Queensland Magistrate’s Court alleging that he was entitled to receive 91 per cent of the employer’s net commission from his first (and only) property sale. After the first sale, the commission percentage dropped to a lower percentage. The claim was referred to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission for mediation. The employer asserted that the employee’s claim had been calculated against his second sale, as the employee’s first sale was of his own property (for which no commission was received by the employer). After representations from REEF, the union accepted the veracity of the employer’s argument and the claim was discontinued – avoiding the costly and annoying inconvenience of appearing before the Queensland Industrial Commission. Advocacy EXPERIENCED REPRESENTATION WHEN YOU NEED IT MOST We have extensive experience in helping real estate employers defend employment claims. Engaging a lawyer is expensive, but REEF representation is complimentary when you join. We’ll represent you at hearings, prepare documents on your behalf and conduct negotiations through to the conciliation stage of an employment dispute. For a confidential discussion with one of our Workplace Relations Advisors, call 1300 616 170. Related REEF President gives 2017 annual report at AGM At the recent AGM, REEF President Fred Andriessen presented his annual report and provided a snapshot of just some of the activities REEF has been involved in over the course of 2017. REEF President gives annual report at AGM At the recent AGM, REEF President Fred Andriessen presented his first annual report to members and shared some of REEF's big wins during 2016. A message from the CEO: Why REEF is ahead of the pack Do a quick Google search and you'll quickly find a long list of employment advisors out there who want to help you – for a hefty fee! – should you find yourself in hot water. But not all advisors are created equal. Make REEF your 1st call Membership Services Director Greg Paterson recalls the moment 20 years ago that he came to realise just how important REEF's services are to real estate employers. Notice periods: When it all comes to an end How much notice needs to be given when bringing an employment relationship to an end? Here we answer some common questions about minimum notice periods for termination. How can I restrain an ex-employee's conduct? It’s a common misconception that a post-employment restraint in an employee’s contract of employment isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. But the absence of a restraint leaves you with very limited opportunity to restrain an ex-employee's objectionable conduct. Comments are closed.