In focus

The video virtual tour is a major initiative of the Future Directions change program. It responds to the dramatic increase in self-represented and infrequent users who are appearing before the Commission in unfair dismissal matters. Frequently these parties have limited knowledge of the Fair Work Act 2009 or the processes of the Commission.

“It really gives those users a step-by-step guide to the entire process for an unfair dismissal matter from the very start where you might be determining whether to put in an application or not, to putting in the application, responding to an application, going through the conciliation process and then if you do end up going into a hearing exactly what that process will be like,” Manager Media and Communications Di Lloyd, who was responsible for developing the virtual tour, said.

The tour has been structured around the key questions these parties may have when dealing with the Commission. It is made up of short instructional videos on:

  1. What is the Fair Work Commission?
  2. How do unfair dismissal claims operate?
  3. How do employees make unfair dismissal claims?
  4. How do employers respond to unfair dismissal claims?
  5. What happens at a conciliation?
  6. Who’s inside the hearing room?
  7. What happens at hearings and conferences?
  8. What are jurisdictional hearings?
  9. A series of location guides.

“The response has been very positive, particularly for the conciliation section of the virtual tour. Seventy nine per cent of our matters are resolved at conciliation, so for parties to be able to have a look at that video before they go into that process and understand how to get the best out of that process has been extremely valuable,” Ms Lloyd said.

The videos strip out much of the legal terminology and complexity to provide a plain English description of the people, processes and procedures a client will encounter on their journey through an unfair dismissal matter.

“One of the things we’ve been looking at is our language and how we explain what we do to parties. It’s an extension of a lot of the work we’ve been doing over the last 12 to 18 months through our Future Directions program where we’ve been looking a lot at accessibility and access to justice,” Ms Lloyd said.

The tour also incorporates location guide videos of the Commission’s offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. These guides show clients how to reach our offices by car or public transport, which floors to go to for inquiries, hearings or conferences, and what the hearing rooms and public areas look like. There are photo guides for the Commission’s offices in the Darwin and Hobart.

“We’re very happy and proud of what we’ve done with the virtual tour. It really is making it easy for parties who aren’t used to coming to the Commission to really understand exactly what will happen,” Ms Lloyd said.

The virtual tour will expand beyond unfair dismissals in the second phase of Future Directions with additional videos covering areas such as appeals, general protections, agreement-making and anti-bullying.