Disputes can arise at any workplace. A dispute exists when one or more people disagree about something and the matter remains unresolved.
It is often less stressful and costly to resolve disputes at the workplace before coming to the Fair Work Commission for help, as coming to the Commission begins a formal legal process.
Modern awards and enterprise agreements contain a dispute resolution procedure that should be followed to help resolve disputes.
Employers should follow the procedure available to try and resolve disputes before applying to the Commission.
Some steps contained in a dispute resolution procedure may be:
Resolving workplace issues before they grow into disputes can create strong committment to the solution. If both the employee and employer are able to settle the issue or dispute privately it can save time, and spare both parties the stress of going through a formal legal process.
Taking an interest-based approach can also help resolve and even prevent disputes. This approach solves problems by focusing on shared interests rather than competing positions. The Commission can help workplaces implement interest-based approaches through our Cooperative Workplaces program.
Information and tools to help with putting in place policies and procedures to avoid issues developing into disputes, and help with resolving issues and are available from:
If the dispute remains unresolved after following the dispute resolution procedure in the workplace, the parties may jointly or individually apply for the matter to be heard by the Commission.