Workers with strong evidence to back up their claim of unfair or unlawful dismissal have a much better chance of winning their case, according to industrial relations specialists.
The advice comes from Jeremy Walton, consultant at Industrial Relations Claims, who fights unfair dismissal and general protections dismissal claims on behalf of employees.
“All too often, we end up with a situation where it is a ‘he said, she said’ scenario, so it can then be extremely difficult for the Fair Work Commission to establish the facts of a case,” he said.
“It might sound obvious, but the more evidence you can provide that supports your version of events, the better your chances of a successful outcome.”
What is evidence?
Mr Walton said evidence can include emails, memos, text messages, letters, time sheets, pay slips and rosters, witnesses like work mates who are prepared to go to court, letters from medical professionals and even diary notes taken at the time.
“I cannot stress enough that if you are having a workplace issue, it is important to document everything – write down times and dates, who was present, what was said, and what happened – this can all be useful evidence down the track if your case ends up in court,” Mr Walton said.
“And the stronger the case we can present to your former employer before a formal hearing, the more likely it is that they will be willing to settle the matter, whether that’s giving you your job back, or paying you some compensation.”
Driver who kept meticulous work records awarded $80,000
Previously Industrial Relations Claims represented waste truck driver Kym Rake who was not only underpaid his daily wages, and not given lunch breaks, but additional money he had arranged to be taken out of his salary to be put into his superannuation account was stolen by his employer.
Although it was a wage theft issue, Mr Rake had kept meticulous work records, including every shift, every lunch break he missed out on, and every extra hour of overtime he worked.
“Mr Rake came into our office with a pile of diaries which listed absolutely everything, including which routes he drove on a particular day, so it was easy for our analysts to calculate how much he had been underpaid – his documentary evidence made his an open and shut case,” Mr Walton said.
In the end, the company involved back paid Mr Rake $80,000, who later told his story to the Queensland government’s wage theft inquiry.
Evidence important in all workplace disputes
Mr Walton says documentary evidence is also vitally important in all workplace issues like sexual harassment or discrimination.
“It’s going to be the first thing we ask you when you call – what evidence have you got to back up your claim – and the more you’ve got, the better chances we’ll have of winning.”
To help keep track of the hours that you work, the Fair Work Ombudsman offers a free app you can download on your phone called Record My Hours.
For more information, please click here.
If you have been unfairly dismissed, you may be entitled to compensation or reinstatement.
For help and advice, please call our specialist team at Industrial Relations Claims on
1300 853 837
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