The Fair Work Commission compels the parties to try to resolve their differences before proceeding to a formal hearing. This is where conciliation conferences come in. A conciliation conference is also referred to as a peaceful mediation that could be carried out in person or in a virtual meeting.
Today, we’ll see how it works, and what you can get from settling an unfair dismissal case through conciliation rather than a formal hearing. Read on to discover more.
A Brief Overview of Conciliation
The Fair Work Commission organizes private, confidential conciliation discussions in cases of unjust dismissal.
Because conciliation is “without prejudice,” parties can reach agreements to end their disagreement without the risk of it being used against them in a formal hearing. In a formal hearing, you may demand up to six months’ earnings, but you may be ready to settle for less in order to reach a quick and efficient resolution and avoid the costs and uncertainties of a hearing.
Concerns can be addressed and sacrifices made to resolve your problem. Concessions, both financial and non-financial, are also possible.
Conciliation for Unfair Dismissals
Unfair termination conciliation is typically handled over the phone. The Commission will notify you and your ex-employer of the planned conciliation meeting date and time after you file your Application for Unfair Dismissal Remedy and your ex-employer submits an Employer’s Response.
If you have an employment attorney, you may visit him or her before, during, and after conciliation. Dialling in from multiple locations is common post-COVID-19. Your employment lawyer will represent you.
The “mediator” is usually a trained Fair Work Commission employee. They are unable to provide legal advice or bind parties. Prior to litigation, they ask questions, stimulate dialogue, and invite each party to submit resolution choices.
You are not needed to have an attorney present for conciliation, but having one to represent you will usually improve your chances.
What You Can Get from Conciliation
Long-running litigation is expensive and complex, and your attorney cannot simply predict the outcome. A conciliation agreement, on the other hand, allows both parties to agree on specific terms.
Conciliatory attempts are made early on. After incurring significant fees, parties are less likely to resolve a disagreement.
Because an unjust dismissal application must be filed so quickly (within 21 days after your dismissal), you and your attorney may have had more time to consider the problems, study your employer’s response documents, and estimate the time and expenses of the proceeding.
Conciliation begins with more direction and understanding than the filing stage. As a result, you may feel more prepared and confident in dealing with your issue.
Legal expenses and certainty of outcome are powerful considerations for resolving a disagreement as soon as feasible if an acceptable resolution can be reached.
How to Prepare for Mediation
You should have consulted with an employment attorney before proceeding with the conciliation. You must discuss the following:
- The benefits and disadvantages of your case;
- If you have a claim for compensation, the likely parameters of a disagreement;
- The expected costs of a contested hearing;
- What could go wrong if you don’t deal with the problem;
- The tips you need for effective bargaining.
Armed with this knowledge, you can approach the Commission’s conciliation in a thoughtful, rational, and “suitable for you” manner. Nobody can force you to resolve your dispute through conciliation, but understanding the current situation and possible outcomes might help you make the best option. Do not be afraid to ask for proper representation so you can be guided in preparing for the conciliation.
Saines Legal is a team of workplace lawyers in Brisbane that are well-versed in all aspects of employment law. For legal assistance, contact us today!