Following on from our previous blog “What is a Fair Work Commission conciliation?”, this week we’re discussing the process of conciliations.
If you missed our “What is a Fair Work Commission conciliation?” blog, you can find it here: http://www.morgancouzenslegal.com.au/fair-work-commission-conciliation/
Conciliation conferences are generally held by telephone, with the conciliator in their office at the Fair Work Commission, and the employer and employee in separate locations.
In some circumstances the conciliation is conducted ‘in person’. In that case a suitable building or location will be nominated by the Commission, which often will have a few rooms so that each party can meet confidentially with the conciliator during the negotiation phase of the conciliation.
Normally the conciliator will bring all parties together at the start of the conference. If the conference is being conducted over the telephone, then all parties would usually be connected into a telephone conference call. It is common for parties to be represented by lawyers or an agent, which means that sometimes there are several people involved in the conciliation.
Generally, conciliation conferences follow these steps.
- The conciliator explains what their role is, and the manner in which the conciliation will be conducted.
- The parties are given the opportunity to outline their side of the dispute including what has occurred, any relevant facts, and what they are seeking from the conciliation
- The conciliator may allow or ask questions of the parties.
- The circumstances and any issues relevant to the dispute are discussed, either with all parties, or separately.
- The conciliator will discuss options for a resolution with the parties. This process can take time, as the conciliator will often relay proposals and counter-proposals privately from one party to the other as they attempt to reach an agreed settlement.
- After private discussions between the conciliator and the parties individually, the parties come together again in a joint conference call. If an agreement between the parties has been reached, the conciliator will confirm the details of the settlement with the parties. If no agreement has been reached between the parties, the conciliator will confirm that no outcome has been achieved and may explain what the Fair Work Commission will do next. Those actions could be issuing a certificate, listing a matter for arbitration or asking the parties to continue their discussions after the conference for a period of time in the hope that resolution of the dispute may be achieved.
If you need assistance with a conciliation conference or other employment dispute, call us on (03) 5722 4681 to discuss how we can assist you.
MORGAN COUZENS LEGAL