We can take a matter to court where there has been a serious contravention of Australian workplace laws. For example, if an employer is asked by us to pay their employees what they’re owed and they don't pay the employee, we can take the employer to court.

Our decision to litigate will depend on whether we have enough evidence and whether it’s in the public interest. Our Litigation Policy talks about these factors in more detail.

If the employer is a company, we can take the company to court, but we can also take a person to court if they were “involved in” the company’s contravention. A person involved in the company’s contravention may include:

  • a Company Director
  • a HR Manager or other manager.

Court orders

If litigation is successful, a court may impose orders against an employer. Those court orders may make the employer:

  • pay an amount of money as a penalty for not doing what the law says (of up to $10 800 per contravention for an individual and $54 000 per contravention for a body corporate)
  • pay an employee their outstanding entitlements (plus interest)
  • stop doing or not doing something (an injunction or interim injunction) for example, stop discriminating against an employee
  • pay an employee compensation for loss suffered, or
  • give an employee their job back (‘reinstating’ an employee).

For information about our recent litigations, go to Litigation outcomes.

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