What Is Employment Law?
The field of employment law encompasses laws relating to employers and their employees. Employment law helps to ensure that the rights of workers are protected, leading to safe and productive workplaces, making the importance of employment law evident. Interested in the areas of employment law? Wondering what it is like to practice employment law in Australia? This article will explore employment law in more detail, as well as the qualifications and skills needed to work as an employment lawyer.
Employers within Australia are bound by certain laws, such as the Fair Work Act 2009, Work Health and Safety Standards, and the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012. These laws place responsibility on employers to provide a safe workplace free of bullying, discrimination and harassment, as well as guarantee minimum levels of pay and entitlements. Laws seek to protect employees at all stages of their employment, from when a job is advertised until after the person is no longer employed and employment law firms fight to protect these rights and ensure these laws are being upheld on both ends.
For example, in Australia, state and federal anti-discrimination laws make it an offence to discriminate against an employee on the basis of their age, sex, race or disability. The Work Health and Safety Act aims to protect the health, safety and welfare of employees, as well as other people who may be affected, such as customers and tradespeople.
While employers have a legal obligation to abide by these employment laws, disputes between employers and employees often arise in areas such as unfair dismissal, employment contracts or workplace discrimination, at which point an employment lawyer will assist a client to resolve their claim.
Employment lawyers can work on a wide range of cases which can be dealt with through mediation, arbitration or in courtrooms. They can also be employed within organisations to provide support over employment matters. As workplace laws are subject to change, and employees may need to renegotiate contracts, employment law can be a complex and challenging field.
Becoming an employment lawyer involves first completing an undergraduate or postgraduate law degree and Practical Legal Training, before gaining admission to the local state Admitting Authority and gaining a practising certificate, after which a graduate can undertake supervised practice at an employment law firm. Once you have your certifcate, you need to undertake CPD training and accumulate enought CPD points in order to keep your certificate. Leo Cussen provides both PLT and CPD courses to help you on your journey in your law career.
So, why practice employment law? Employment law will appeal to lawyers with exceptional analytical, interpersonal and negotiation skills, as well as those with an expert understanding of the laws relevant to their field of practice. The ability to work with discretion and sensitivity is particularly useful with regard to cases involving discrimination and harassment. The prospects of career advancement within the field of employment law are high as employment lawyers are needed throughout all legal fields.