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Employee complaints may result in adverse action claims

Employee complaints may result in adverse action claims

In a recent case, an employee made a number of inquiries to her employer, Magellan Powertronics Pty Ltd, in relation to her remuneration. In various emails, the employee asserted that she was not being paid the agreed salary and car allowance.

Magellan terminated the employee’s employment for reasons which included the refusal to wear a company uniform and the employee’s purported lack of sales.

The employee then commenced a General Protections claim against Magellan alleging Magellan had taken adverse action against her because of her workplace right to make a complaint or inquiry in relation to her employment under section 341(1)(c)(ii) of the FW Act.

The Federal Circuit Court held that in order for a complaint by an employee to be a “workplace right” capable of protection under the FW Act, the complaint must have a statutory or contractual basis which, if made to an external body, would give that body jurisdiction to investigate and seek compliance under a relevant workplace law or instrument.

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