To end proceedings or to suspend them to another time or place.
To request that a decision of a single member of the Commission be reviewed by a Full Bench to determine if the decision made is consistent with the Fair Work Act 2009. An appeal can only be made on the grounds that an error of law or fact has been made. A person must seek the permission of the Commission to lodge an appeal by lodging a Form F7—Notice of Appeal.
Bullying at work, as defined by the Fair Work Act 2009, occurs when:
Bullying does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.
A formal procedure outlining the processes used, including disciplinary measures, to resolve bullying in the workplace. A policy would normally include definitions of bullying, a worker's responsibility in relation to bullying and the step by step process that should be adopted when bullying is reported.
A set of rules and responsibilities that govern an organisation. A code of conduct generally sets out appropriate and inappropriate behaviour of employees within an organisation.
Abbreviation for Fair Work Commission.
Refers to the Commonwealth government or an Australian territory.
A private proceeding conducted by a Fair Work Commission Member.
A constitutionally covered business is:
It does not include sole traders, partnerships, some state government employees, corporations whose main activity is not trading or financial.
A judgment or conclusion reached after considering the facts and law. A decision in relation to a matter before the Commission can include the names of the parties and will generally outline the basis for the application, comment on the evidence provided and include the judgment of the Commission in relation to the matter. A decision can be made by a single member or a Full Bench of the Commission. It is legally enforceable.
Instructions given to the parties by the Commission that set out a timetable in accordance with which they must file in the Commission and serve on each other an outline of submissions, witness statements and any supporting documents.
Information which tends to prove or disprove the existence of particular belief, fact or proposition. Certain evidence may or may not be accepted by the Commission, however the Commission is not bound the normal rules of evidence. Evidence is usually contained within or attached to a witness statement or provided verbally by a witness in a hearing.
The principal Commonwealth law governing Australia's workplace relations system. Go to the Fair Work Act 2009.
Australia's independent, national workplace relations tribunal, established under the Fair Work Act 2009, from July 2009 to December 2012. Fair Work Australia assumed the functions of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, and the Australian Fair Pay Commission and the agreement-making function of the Workplace Authority. Fair Work Australia was renamed the Fair Work Commission on 1 January 2013.
A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission is convened by the Fair Work Commission President and comprises at least three Fair Work Commission Members, one of whom must be a Deputy President. Full Benches are convened to hear appeals, matters of significant national interest and various other matters specifically provided for in the Fair Work Act 2009.
Unwanted and offensive conduct or behaviour by a person or persons directed towards another person based on an attribute such as a person’s age, gender, race, religion or a disability. Harassment can be physical or psychological.
A public proceeding conducted by a Fair Work Commission Member. A hearing is generally more formal than a conference, and may be held if the matter can't be resolved at mediation, conciliation or conference.
The scope of the Commission’s power and what the Commission can and cannot do. The power of the Commission to deal with matters is contained in legislation. The Commission can only deal with matters for which it has been given power by the Commonwealth Parliament.
An objection to an application on the basis that the Fair Work Commission does not have jurisdiction to deal with the matter. A jurisdictional objection is not simply that the respondent thinks the applicant's case has no merit.
A case or legal proceeding before the Commission.
An informal, confidential and voluntary process. It is one of the processes used by the Commission to facilitate the resolution of a grievance or a dispute between parties by helping them reach an agreement.
A person appointed by the Governor-General to decide matters at the Commission. A Member may be the President, a Vice President, a Deputy President or a Commissioner.
An entity that is not a constitutional corporation. The following are not constitutional corporations:
An order is a ruling made by a Fair Work Commission Member after he or she hears your case. Once an order has been made, anyone bound by that order must follow it.
The end result of an application made to the Commission.
A written document that clearly sets out the key elements of a case. All facts, information and evidence that you wish to bring to the attention of the Commission should be included in your outline of submissions.
An organisation in which two or more persons carry on a business together and it is not a constitutional corporation as defined.
A person or organisation involved in a matter before the Commission. A party is generally known as either an applicant or a respondent.
A person or business that has entered into a contract for services with an independent contractor.
A business owned and operated by private individuals for profit, instead of by a government or its agencies.
When persons are treated equally or fairly before the law (also known as due process). For example, procedural fairness occurs when both parties to a dispute have an opportunity to be heard or to defend themselves.
A proprietary limited company. A constitutionally covered business.
In relation to an anti-bullying application, reasonable management action is the action or behaviour of management that is considered to be carried out in a reasonable manner. Reasonable management action does not constitute workplace bullying.
Reasonable management action may include:
In each of these examples, if they are not carried out in a reasonable manner, then they could still be considered bullying.
A requirement to send a copy of a document (and all supporting documents) to another party or their representative, usually within a specified period. A person’s obligation to serve documents can be met in a number of ways. The acceptable ways in which a document can be served are listed in Parts 7 and 8 of the Fair Work Commissions Rules 2013.
An organisation in which one person is responsible for the business.
Abbreviation for work health and safety.
A body established by a state or territory government which regulates WHS laws in a particular state or territory. To find contact details for the regulator in your state or territory, go to the Enquiries page.
A person who gives evidence in relation to something they saw, heard or experienced. A witness is required to take oath or affirmation before giving evidence at a formal hearing. The witness will be examined by the party that called them and may be cross examined by the opposing party to test their evidence.
In relation to an anti-bullying application, the definition of a worker is drawn from the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. A worker can include:
Only people who are considered to be workers may apply for an order to stop bullying at work.
A place where a person performs work.
See bullying at work.
A conference is generally an informal proceeding conducted by a Member of the Fair Work Commission or by a staff conciliator. Conferences generally involve the Commission Member assisting parties to discuss and resolve issues by conciliation or mediation that do not involve more formal procedures such as testing evidence under oath.
A hearing is a more formal proceeding held by Members of the Commission who have a range of powers under the Fair Work Act 2009 to decide certain issues and make decisions about disputes. Hearings are more 'court-like' and can involve sworn submissions of evidence, witness examination, exhibits etc.
The Commission generally conducts hearings and conferences from Monday to Friday at its premises in each Australian capital city. Hearings and conferences are also convened in regional areas. The Commission also conducts a large number of conferences by phone and video conference.
If required, proceedings may be held outside of normal office hours, on weekends and public holidays, in regional centres, or in a workplace. Many conferences are held by phone or video conference to make it easier for parties to attend. Disputes about unfair dismissal and general protections involving dismissal are generally conducted by phone conference in the first instance.
Room locations for most cases being heard the next working day are published on our website late on the previous day. Details of cases not listed on our website will, where appropriate, be available at the Commission office on the day. Arrangements for all hearings and conferences including phone, video and regional-based proceedings are provided in a 'notice of listing', which is the information sent to the parties about the hearing or conference.
Some cases heard at the Commission are held in private and members of the public are not permitted to attend.
There is no requirement for you to be represented by another person when you appear in proceedings at the Commission. You will need the permission of the Commission Member dealing with your case if you wish to be represented by a lawyer or paid agent, unless that person is:
If you decide to represent yourself in proceedings it will be easier if you are well prepared. You may consider bringing one or more people with you for support. There is generally no objection to you doing so, although in private conferences you should be prepared to tell the Commission Member or staff conciliator dealing with your case why you would like the presence of such people.
There is no cost to you if you need an interpreter at a Commission hearing or conference, but you must ask the Commission to provide an interpreter either:
Before you attend a conference or hearing at the Commission you should check the hearings and conferences list for your state or territory.
The list identifies most of the matters listed for a particular day, together with the Commission Members dealing with them, the times of the hearings and conferences and the location details – the floor and the hearing room number. Details of cases not listed on our website will be available at the Commission office on the day.
The list is published in some capital city newspapers and on the Commission’s website each day. Printed copies of the list can also be found at Commission public counters, near the hearing rooms or, in some Commission premises, on the building's ground floor.
If your hearing or conference is in a regional courthouse you may have to ask for information at their enquiry counter.
Some cases heard at the Commission are held in private and members of the public are not permitted to attend.
The following rules relate to the acceptable use of mobile devices during Commission conferences and hearings.
Mobile devices can include mobile phones, smart phones and tablets.
Commission hearings are held in public in most circumstances, though there are some exceptions (see section 593(3) of the Act). Members of the Commission are responsible for making sure that proceedings are fair and that parties are treated with courtesy and respect. During proceedings, Members have a responsibility to:
An important part of providing a fair hearing is the duty to provide appropriate help to parties in the presentation of their case, in particular self-represented parties. This means that in some circumstances a Member has to intervene, both for the benefit of a self-represented party and more generally.
The help provided to self-represented parties by a Member may, depending on the circumstances, include:
Despite this obligation, the help a Member can properly give to a self-represented party is limited. The Member must balance the interests of the parties who represent themselves with the need to:
All parties have the right to a fair and efficient hearing.
During a hearing the parties will each be given the opportunity to put their point of view forward. It is important to be prepared.
Most proceedings, except for conferences, are recorded and the recordings may be transcribed. Parties may request an audio file of the recording to be provided to them, or may buy a copy of the transcript.
Commission hearings are audio recorded, and many hearings are transcribed.
Transcripts that are publicly available can be found in the Transcripts section of the Commission's website. Requests for transcript of proceedings that are not published on our website may be made to the Commission. A fee applies for this service and is to be paid by the person making the request.
As part of the Commission’s Future Directions initiatives, parties to a matter (or their nominated representative) may request access to an audio recording of the proceedings. For more information see the Access to audio recordings of Commission hearings page on our website.
An audio recording of a Commission hearing does not constitute an official record of the proceedings.