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Unfair dismissal?

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needadvice90 View Drop Down
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Joined: 22/August/2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 3
  Quote needadvice90 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Unfair dismissal?
    Posted: 22/August/2017 at 20:58
I have been employed as a teacher for seven years. The first three years were full time teaching. In the 4th year I was promoted to a leadership position (Teacher (Subject Coordinator) with reduced teaching load and additional duties and responsibilities. Two years into this role, my employer changed my job title back to Subject Teacher but all other aspects of my yearly contract remained the same. My "continuing letter of employment" lists both the teacher position description and the coordinator duty statement as part of my ongoing role. I am a permanent employee.

Recently my employer announced a restructure. My role will no longer exist and they have asked me to return to full time teaching. Ten other employees are also affected by this decision. This involves a reduction in status, duties and responsibilities and a drop in salary of 12% ($11300 annually). They have also threatened to drop all academic staff back to 0.8 position. (I say threatened as the comment was made during contentious enterprise bargaining negotiations). This equates to a 30%+ drop in salary. My contract and the agreement do not explicitly state that the employer has a right to demote at will.

I have told my employer that I do not accept the demotion and have asked for a redundancy package.

My employer has denied that:
- they have repudiated my contract
- they have proposed demotion (apparently I am simply returning to my substantive role)
- they are liable to pay redundancy
- they are undergoing organisational restructure (despite the demotion of 20 employees)

My employer notified me of the changes in my role via a group email which also announced the restructure. I believe that my employer has also undertaken adverse action as I am the employee rep for enterprise bargaining. This is in the form of invitations to meetings that were designed to intimidate, denied request for annual leave (others were given leave during this specific period), and a requirement that teachers be on site 37.5 hours per week instead of just during their teaching contact hours.

As you can see, my position is completely untenable. I have obtained alternative employment at another institution in a few months but have not yet given notice. I will leave behind long service leave for seven years of employment which is due to be paid out in Feb 2018.

What are my rights and what legal basis do I have to claim compensation? How might my impending resignation affect such a claim.

citizen-joe View Drop Down
Senior Member
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Joined: 09/October/2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 646
  Quote citizen-joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23/August/2017 at 00:58
I have no idea of your rights, sorry.

If it was me and I'd been treated so shabbily I would not be offering my resignation, I'd let them think I was continuing, I'd accept the new job and try to say on the books at this school till February when I would resign and claim my LSL, but that's just me.

What does your union say? Teachers unions seem to be fairly strong on these sort of things.

needadvice90 View Drop Down
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Newbie


Joined: 22/August/2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 3
  Quote needadvice90 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23/August/2017 at 07:03
Thanks for your reply. That was my original plan but things have grown so toxic. Also, there are very limited job opportunities at my level and at my level so I've had to take the one on offer. Union is looking into it but they are very focused on negotiation.

needadvice90 View Drop Down
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Newbie


Joined: 22/August/2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 3
  Quote needadvice90 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24/August/2017 at 19:49
For your interest, I went to see a top notch employment lawyer today. He gave me a range of options and believed that my employer has made (or has propose to make) some clear breaches. Constructive dismissal is an option. Changes in work conditions and holidays can be brought up as workplace disputes for being unreasonable and without sufficient consultation. They have repudiated the contract and should they stop paying allowances, they will be in breach of the contract.   I've got lots to think about.

citizen-joe View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 09/October/2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 646
  Quote citizen-joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/August/2017 at 23:30
Good luck, yes seeing a lawyer who specialises in this area was a wise choice, hope it all works out for you.

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