Inquiries

Conducting inquiries is one of the ways we monitor compliance with Australian workplace laws. Find out when and how we do this.

When we conduct inquiries

Inquiries are one of the ways we investigate potential non-compliance with workplace laws. Inquiries help us identify and understand workplace issues within a specific business, industry, region, supply chain or any combination of these on a large scale.

We may also conduct an inquiry:

  • to monitor compliance within an industry, region or supply chain, even when there is no specific allegation of non-compliance with workplace laws
  • in response to:
    • trends in data that indicate systematic non-compliance in particular businesses or industries
    • issues raised in the media
    • concerns raised with us directly that are in the public interest.

Inquiries are usually focused on looking into broader issues across businesses and industries. They usually don’t relate to an individual workplace issue or request for assistance.

Work with us to ensure compliance

The best way to ensure your compliance and avoid an inquiry, is to prevent workplace issues by staying up-to-date with changes in workplace laws in your industry. You can do this by subscribing to email updates.

You can learn about preventing workplace issues and working with us to resolve them on our workplace problems page.

Use our Self-audit checklist (PDF 141.2KB) to check your compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009.

When a inquiry has already begun it is important to work with us to ensure compliance and respond in a timely manner to any requests.

Before an inquiry starts

Before starting an inquiry we’ll assess the nature of the compliance issue and whether conducting an inquiry is in the public interest.

We consider our strategic priorities when making this assessment. Find more information on Our priorities page.

What happens during an inquiry

During an inquiry, as part of our investigation into whether non-compliance with workplace laws has occurred, we'll look at the key issues that contributed to the non-compliance. We consider a range of factors, including the conduct of entities at the top of the supply chains.

All inquiries are impartial and we ask for evidence from all parties to help inform the outcomes.

As part of an inquiry we may:

  • visit sites
  • conduct interviews
  • audit workplace records.

Inquiry outcomes

At the end of an inquiry, we’ll notify the relevant parties about the outcome. Inquiry outcomes could include making an assessment that:

  • there has been non-compliance with workplace laws (that is, a contravention of workplace laws)
  • no contravention of workplace laws has occurred
  • the particular business, industry or region will remain the subject of ongoing monitoring by us

If we make an assessment that there has been a contravention, outcomes may include:

In many instances, we’ll work with the relevant business and provide recommendations about the steps they should take to ensure ongoing compliance with Australian workplace laws.

We usually share our findings, recommendations and actions on our Inquiry reports page and by issuing a media release - see our Media policy (PDF 240.7KB) (DOCX 136.6KB) for more information.

You can read more about the actions we take in our Compliance and Enforcement Policy (DOCX 1.2MB) (PDF 695.6KB).

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