Are you dealing with misconduct allegations at work and need help?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to answer workplace misconduct allegations across Queensland.

Are you dealing with misconduct allegations at work and need help?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to resolve employment contract issues across Queensland.

How this firm can protect your interests

How this firm can protect your interests

Andrew Anderson, Legal Director, is an award-winning lawyer with a passion for employment law. He is independently recommended as being among the leading corporate crime, white-collar crime and regulatory investigations lawyers in Australia (Doyles Guide, 2020).
Having successfully represented litigants in the High Court of Australia, Queensland Court of Appeal, Royal Commissions, Fair Work Commission and multiple other courts dealing with trials and other hearings, Andrew Anderson understands how to succeed in complex and difficult cases.
Andrew Anderson has worked as a Principal Crown Prosecutor in Queensland and barrister in private practice at 8 Petrie Terrace Chambers in Brisbane. His depth of courtroom advocacy experience ranges from simple cases right through to complex trials and appeals.
Anderson Legal is a law firm that is dedicated to the best ideals of the legal profession. Seeking to exceed client expectations and fighting for justice is an everyday pursuit.

Learn more about misconduct allegations

1. Specific workplace misconduct issues

Workers at all levels can be the subject of workplace misconduct allegations. Just as misconduct can cause harm to individuals and businesses, false misconduct allegations can unfairly ruin reputations and livelihoods. For anybody facing a misconduct issue in their workplace, it is critical to get informed about your rights, responsibilities and legal options.

Code of Conduct Breach Allegations

A Code of Conduct may go beyond merely requiring compliance with basic laws, such as prohibiting unsafe or harmful behaviour. It may define corporate values, expected standards of behaviour and norms. It may establish rights and responsibilities for both employees and employers. For that reason, breaching a Code of Conduct, which itself may amount to misconduct, can result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Criminal Allegations

In a workplace context, criminal allegations can create complicated issues for both employers and employees. If you face a workplace misconduct allegation that may have a criminal element to it, it is critical to get early and authoritative advice.

Criminal allegations in the workplace can involve issues involving employment contracts, enterprise agreements, awards, disciplinary processes, as well as police investigations. Due to the commercial, investigative and reputational sensitivity that surround criminal allegations, it is often the case that employers and employers facing workplace misconduct issues involving potential crimes seek legal advice to understand their rights and obligations.

Misuse of Property Allegations

In most workplaces, employees are required to use property to perform their work. Whether it be computer use, a work car, or some other property owned by the employer, misuse of company property can amount to workplace misconduct.

If you are accused of misusing company property or misusing technology at work, then it is likely you will face disciplinary action, including possible dismissal. In some situations, accusations of this kind can unfairly target an individual, or simply be a result of a misunderstanding. Anybody facing an allegation of misusing property ought to get legal advice about how to respond to issues of this nature.

Sexual Harassment Allegations

Sexual harassment allegations cause significant stress to those on the receiving end of them. Due to the harm caused by sexual harassment, employers have a duty to ensure allegations of this nature are appropriately addressed at every stage.

Workplace sexual harassment constitutes misconduct that generally results in disciplinary action, often dismissal. Workers at all levels can be the subject of sexual harassment. Just as harassment can cause harm, false sexual harassment allegations can unfairly ruin reputations and livelihoods. For anybody facing a sexual harassment issue in their workplace, it is critical to get informed about your rights, responsibilities and legal options.

Workplace Bullying Allegations

In Australia, workplace bullying allegations can give rise to complicated issues for those who make the complaint as well as those who are subject to it. Dealing with workplace bullying allegations wrongly can result in successful claims against employers.

If you are facing workplace bullying allegations, you may find it can feel like an isolating and daunting experience. Each case is different. While some complaints are motivated by a desire to deflect attention from poor performance, others can be truthful, or simply more complex and nuanced than alleged. Obtaining early advice about your rights, responsibilities and options may be critical to you successfully defending your reputation and livelihood.

2. Common issues with misconduct allegations

Below are a number of common issues that people confront when dealing with misconduct issues at work. While the information about each issue has been created to help people seeking to learn more about common issues relating to workplace misconduct, it cannot – and is not meant to – substitute legal consultation. To get tailored advice about an issue that may be raised in a specific case, contact Anderson Legal.

False Workplace Misconduct Allegations

Facing false workplace misconduct allegations, which can arise from outright lies or simply misunderstandings, cause significant stress to those on the receiving end of them. It is important to protect your interests and reputation.

If you are facing false workplace misconduct allegations, you may find it can feel like an isolating and daunting experience. Each case is different. While some false complaints are motivated by a desire to deflect attention, others can be more complex and nuanced. Obtaining early and authoritative advice about your rights, responsibilities and options may be critical to you successfully defending your reputation and livelihood.

Whistleblowers & Public Interest Disclosures

Whistleblower complaints and public interest disclosures (PIDs) can create complex issues for employers, employees and other individuals due to specific laws designed to create specific safeguards for whistleblowers.

A number of laws in Australia contain whistleblower protections, such as those contained in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld) and the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). While affording limited protections for whistleblowers in the private sector, there are significant public interest disclosure protections for individuals who raise allegations of misconduct or wrongdoing. Significant consequences attend reprisal action against whistleblowers.

Responding to Workplace Investigations

Even if misconduct occurs outside of work and after hours, employers may still be able to initiate a workplace investigation and take disciplinary action. If you are facing an allegation that has prompted a workplace investigation, getting informed about the common issues that arise with such investigations might be crucial to protecting your interests and avoiding unfair findings against you.

Workplace Investigations

If an allegation of misconduct at work is raised, an employer may investigate the issue to determine what action, if any, ought to be taken. In some cases, it is appropriate for the investigation to be done independently by an external workplace investigator.

Workplace investigations are increasingly relied upon by employers to resolve complex or contested allegations or complaints that arise within the workplace. They are frequently undertaken with respect to issues relating to workplace bullying, sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct. There are specific issues that arise in relation to each type of allegation that may be investigated.

Concurrent Law Enforcement Investigations

In some cases, concurrent investigations by a workplace and law enforcement agencies may take place. In such situations, care must be taken not to jeopardise the authority of external agencies, or otherwise compromise the rights of the person facing accusations.

Concurrent law enforcement investigations may involve police, anti-corruption bodies, work health and safety regulators, among others. In some instances, there may be a positive obligation on an individual or business to report an alleged offence, which may concurrently constitute workplace misconduct. It is important where a possible concurrent investigation is taking place that individuals, businesses and organisations

3. Possible consequences of workplace misconduct

For anybody facing workplace misconduct allegations, there can be a number of consequences that can result. For many people, the potentially far-reaching effects of misconduct allegations at work can come as a shock, which underscores why early advice from an experienced lawyer can be crucial to protecting your rights and advancing your interests.

Responding to a Written Warning Letter at Work

If you receive an unfair written warning, there are a number of steps you can take to overturn its effect. Written warnings may be relied upon by employers for subsequent disciplinary actions to justify greater actions, such as dismissal.

While some written warnings at work state justified concerns about an employee’s capacity or conduct, others may be unfair, vague or misapprehends or overlook some important facts. Failing to take appropriate action to respond to an unfair written warning can make it more difficult to later challenge its validity, making it harder to respond to any later disciplinary action. For this reason, it is important to take action following a written warning at work.

Responding to a Show Cause Letter at Work

A show cause letter is often sent during a disciplinary process to notify an employee of possibility of action being taken against them, such as the termination of their employment, and give them an opportunity to provide a response.

If you need to respond to a show cause letter at work, it is necessary to understand the importance of your response to what may follow. Failing to raise certain issues, or addressing the wrong issues, may not only see you face a disciplinary decision that is harsh, unjust or unreasonable, you may also jeopardise your ability to take action over a wrongful decision. Getting advice when responding to a show cause letter can be critical to the outcome.

Disciplinary Action – Dismissal

Employers may choose to dismiss an employee for a conduct or capacity issue, which may follow a workplace investigation. The termination of employment may be without notice in cases of serious misconduct, such as for theft.

If you are unfairly dismissed from work and seek to know your options, there may be some steps you can take if you believe you were treated unlawfully or unfairly. Employees who are dismissed may seek to challenge the decision as being harsh, unjust or unreasonable. Flawed workplace investigations and disciplinary processes can lead to successful unfair dismissal claims or other types of claims.

Bullying, Discrimination & Harassment Claims

If you are subject to bullying, discrimination or harassment, there are a number of possible claims that may be available to litigate, including through human rights and anti-discrimination commissions as well as the Fair Work Commission.

Increasingly, instead of seeking to deal with workplace bullying, discrimination and harassment claims simply through the Fair Work Commission, individuals are seeing the benefits of pursuing claims through human rights and anti-discrimination commissions across Australia. Additionally, people who suffer psychological or psychiatric injuries may also seek to pursue workers’ compensation claims among other types of claims that may be available.

General Protections Claims (Adverse Action)

In Australia, there are certain protections (called general protections) employees have that are designed to prevent an employer from taking adverse action over – such as disciplining or dismissing a worker because they exercise a workplace right.

A general protections claim allows a worker to bring a claim against their employer for taking actions that cause detriment (adverse action) because they exercise a workplace right or for some other protected reason. It is possible for employees to apply for injunctions to stop the decisions or actions taking effect, as well as to pursue compensation and other remedies for the resulting harm or damage caused by the adverse action.

Unfair Dismissal Claims

Following a workplace investigation that results in an employer deciding to dismiss an employee, it is often open for that employee to dispute the dismissal by filing an unfair dismissal claim in the Fair Work Commission.

Successful unfair dismissal claims may result in reinstatement and compensation being ordered by the Fair Work Commission. There are strict deadlines that apply to unfair dismissal claims so it is important that anybody considering lodging an unfair dismissal claim gets the advice and guidance needed to successfully navigate the dispute. Anderson Legal provides expert advice and guidance with respect to unfair dismissal claims.

Do you need personalised legal advice or representation about a workplace misconduct issue?

If you are facing a workplace misconduct dispute or related matter, obtaining early and authoritative advice may be essential to protecting your rights and legal interests. Andrew Anderson has experience in assisting individuals to deal with issues arising with respect to their misconduct allegations arising at work.

If you need to contact Anderson Legal, you can call the firm on (07) 3505 7070. Alternatively, you can complete our form and we will try to contact you.

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