Employee employment law cairns

There are many different factors that need to be taken into account when providing employment law advice to clients.  Your obligations and entitlements will vary depending upon a number of different factors including, but not limited to;

  • The type of employee you are (or are not?) including, a full-time, part-time, casual, specific period, shift work, apprenticeship, minors, independent contractor, visa holders, public sector and probation;
  • Your annual income;
  • The type of employee you are (small business - a small business is defined as a business with fewer than 15 employees, state/federal);
  • If you are subject to a contract, EBA or Award.

You may need to seek legal advice regarding an employment law matter such as;

  • Unfair dismissal (you were dismissed, and your dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable.  Your dismissal was not a case of genuine redundancy, and if you were employed by a small business, your dismissal was not consistent with the small business fair dismissal code);
  • Workplace bullying (repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety. Bullying does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable way);
  • General protections (workplace rights, taking or not taking part in industrial action, being free from discrimination.   Employees are protected from, adverse action, coercion, undue influence or pressure and misrepresentation);
  • Sexual harassment (unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that a reasonable person would find offensive, humiliating or intimidating);
  • Redundancy (is the redundancy genuine? Has the required consultation taken place?);
  • Discrimination in employment (based on race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer's responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin);
  • Underpayments of wages and/or failure to meet conditions of employment;
  • Demotions;
  • Allegations of misconduct or poor performance;
  • Sham contract arrangements;
  • Disputes regarding contractor or employment relationship;
  • Employee restraint of trade clauses;
  • Medical retirement;
  • Negotiating executive contracts.

Are you a State or Federal Worker?

State workers are state public sector and local government employees (except for those who have registered agreements in the national system).  The jurisdiction for these workers is the Industrial Relations Act (Qld). Claims are lodged at the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission ("QIRC").

For further information on QIRC, forms and lodgment requirements,  please visit their website:


Federal System Workers are covered by the Fair Work system (the national system) and include those employed by the private enterprise.  The jurisdiction for these workers is the Fair Work Commission ("FWC").  Claims are lodged at the  Fair Work Commission.

For further information on FWC, forms and lodgement requirements, please  visit their website:


Time Limits

Very strict time limits apply to employment law entitlements.

Unfair dismissal or unlawful termination application must be lodged with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) or the Queensland Industrial Relations Commissions for (QIRC) within 21 days of the dismissal/ termination.

General protection applications (involving dismissal)  must be lodged with the FWC within 21 days from the date of the dismissal.  There is no requirement to be employed for a period of six months or 12 months (small business) to lodge this type of claim.

General protection (non-dismissal) disputes can be lodged up to six years from when the day the alleged contravention occurred. There is no qualifying period of employment or earning cut off for general protections.

There is no time limit for applications for a bullying stop order.  However, a worker must still be exposed to bullying by the same individual or group at work as the Commission can only make an order if there is a risk the worker will continue to be bullied.

Given the short time limit, should you have a potential employment law claim, we direct you to obtain legal advice from a qualified lawyer, as a matter of urgency.


The fair Work and Industrial Relations Commission is generally a cost free jurisdiction.  This means parties must generally pay their own costs.  However, the Commission may order a person to pay some or all of the costs of another party to a matter if an application or response to it:

  • was frivolous, vexatious or made without reasonable cause
  • had no reasonable prospect of success, or
  • in some matters, because of an unreasonable act or omission of the party.

Civil Remedies

Civil remedies in a State or Federal Court may be available for your Claim.  At our initial consultation, we will discuss the most cost-effective process that you should consider for your matter.

In Queensland, for wage disputes under $20,000.00, an Employment Claim can be lodged at the Magistrates Court or the Federal Circuit Court.  Time limits apply; you should obtain legal advice specific to your circumstances.

Fair Work Ombudsman

The Fair Work Ombudsman work with you to resolve workplace issues by offering dispute resolution services, information about workplace laws and tools to help you follow the laws.

The Fair Work Ombudsman helps both employees and employers.  They do not advocate for either party.  You can lodge a complaint against your employer with the Ombudsman via their website.

Please note, lodging a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman will not protect your time limit from expiring if you have an unfair dismissal claim, general protections claim (involving dismissal), wages claim or breach of contract dispute.

Contact our office to book now for an initial appointment and comprehensive advice on your matter.

The information on this site is provided as general information only and is not legal advice.  Viewers are directed to immediately seek, engage and obtain  legal advice on any time limits that apply to any potential claim as a matter of urgency.