The most effective protection for delegates against victimisation or harassment by their employer is a strong and active union presence in the workplace.
However, there are also legal protections enshrined in legislation.
Under section 210 of the NSW Industrial Relations Act 1996, it is unlawful for an employer to victimise an employee because they:
The Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award 2009 also includes the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act and reiterates the rights of union members to take lawful industrial action and not be victimised.
Sections 342, 346 and 347 of the Fair Work Act 2009 combine to provide protection for delegates from any ‘adverse action’ by their employer.
This includes delegates representing or advancing the views of the union or encouraging other employees to participate in lawful activities organised by the union.
Prohibited action by the employer includes:
Protections are also available to all members under Sections 104–109 of the Work Health and Safety Act (2011).
These measures prevent an employer from discriminating against a worker in response to them exercising any function, power or responsibility under the Act.
Fines of up to $500,000 can apply in relation to such conduct.
Any delegate being harassed or threatened in relation to their duties should contact the PSA immediately.
If the matter cannot be resolved through negotiation with management, it will be taken to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission or Fair Work Commission.