- What We Do
Each week, we provide a Duty Lawyer to the Fair Work Commission’s Workplace Advice Service (WAS).
Through this service, we provide one hour of free legal assistance to eligible employees referred to us by the Fair Work Commission on matters including dismissal, general protections and workplace bullying.
This free service allows us to support employees who are contemplating legal action on their workplace issue with tailored individualised advice on the best options available to them.
To check your eligibility for this service and to make an appointment, visit the Fair Work Commission website and use their eligibility tool.
Calls to JobWatch’s free and confidential Telephone Information Service relating to workplace sexual harassment and assault increased by 43 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020, or 83 per cent compared to 2016. There was a similar growth in calls relating to discrimination.
To address this growing demand, JobWatch runs the Workplace Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Project, providing legal advice and representation to eligible Victorian workers. Through this Project, we are able to support clients with Stop Sexual Harassment Orders, sexual harassment claims, discrimination claims in either federal or state jurisdictions, and other relevant employment law matters such as unfair dismissals or General Protections Disputes.
Referrals to the Workplace Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Project is an internal process through our Telephone Information Service (TIS). We recommend that all Victorian workers contact the TIS for legal information in the first instance.
Over the years, we have provided advice and representation to clients, usually women, whose experience of family violence has had a detrimental impact on their employment. We know that maintaining employment for people experiencing family violence is extremely important for their security, independence and self-esteem.
In 2018, we received funding from the Victorian Government to commence the Family Violence and the Workplace Project which, among other things, involves enhancing our capacity to represent and assist Victorian workers experiencing family violence in circumstances where their employment is or has been impacted including in relation to:
To request access to the Family Violence in the Workplace service, please fill out the Referrals to JobWatch form on this website.
JobWatch has produced a discussion paper, “Domestic and Family Violence – A Real Workplace Issue For Women,” to create understanding and urging employers, government and other stakeholders through legislation and policy to assist working women experiencing family violence by providing supportive workplace environments and effective workplace responses.
The International Students Employment and Accomodation Legal Service (ISEALS) is a collaboration between community legal centres JobWatch, WEstjustice and South-East Monash Legal Service, facilitated by Study Melbourne and administered by Victoria Legal Aid.
ISEALS provides free, confidential and independent legal assistance including legal information, advice, representation and complex case work for international students experiencing or at risk of exploitation or discrimination in their workplace or through their accommodation.
Will found a job assembling beds and cleaning residential apartments. He was told to issue invoices for the hours he worked, despite the fact that he did not believe he was running his own business and his work was very much controlled by the employer. He provided invoices but was never paid for his work. We advised him in relation to sham contracting and underpayment of wages. He told his co-workers about ISEALS and we represented nine international students in matters against the same employer to get their wages paid.
Varuni has a casual, cash in hand job as a waitress. This is her first job in Australia and she has limited English. She first did one day of unpaid training and then she was told she would be paid $15 per hour. Varuni is very upset about how badly the owner treats her and the other staff. He constantly screams at her which makes her very scared. She has tried calmly telling the owner that he should treat her with some respect but he has responded “if you don’t like it, leave.” We advised Varuni about her different options in this situation, and we supported her to write a letter of demand for the outstanding wages.
Antonio works as a delivery driver for a take away restaurant. He is paid cash in hand and is told to drive the owner’s car when making the deliveries. He has a car accident while he is on duty and the employer is refusing to pay for the repairs to the other car. The other driver’s insurer – who knows nothing about the fact that Antonio was performing his employment duties when he had the car accident – has written to Antonio directly requesting immediate payment of more than $10,000 for the costs of the repairs. Antonio is distressed as he cannot afford to pay the insurer. We wrote to both the insurer and to Antonio’s employer asking for the employer to pay for the repairs to the other vehicle, and the matter is resolved.
Hong works in the manufacturing sector, doing almost 60 hours per week. On the occasions that he has received pay slips, they have shown that he was working 40 hours per fortnight. The employer stopped paying him his wages a few weeks ago and Hong sent several text messages chasing up his money. In the last conversation that Hong had with his boss, he said that he had found out from the Fair Work Ombudsman that he was being underpaid and then his boss told him not to come back to work. We helped Hong to file a General Protections Dispute – Termination claim with the Fair Work Commission, and we then represent Hong in a conciliation conference and the parties reach a settlement agreement.
JobWatch’s Dismissed Workers Project provides legal advice and support for vulnerable Victorian workers who have been dismissed from their employment. We have a focus on workers who are particularly vulnerable due to their age, gender, cultural or linguistic background, visa status, or other similar factors.
Referrals to the Dismissed Workers Project is an internal process through our Telephone Information Service (TIS). We recommend that all dismissed workers contact the TIS for legal information in the first instance.