If you lodge an application with the Commission for a hearing in relation to an industrial dispute with your employer, former employer or employee, you may find the following information of assistance when preparing to come to the Commission to have your dispute heard.
This information applies whether you are the applicant (the person who lodges the application) or the respondent (the other party named in the dispute application). It is intended to give some guidance about the procedural aspects of Commission hearings.
Usually a dispute is about an alleged unfair dismissal, alleged breach of an award or industrial agreement, or a dispute about a claim for long service leave payment or redundancy payment.
If you wish, and feel comfortable doing so, you, or somebody else on your behalf (such as a parent), can talk directly to the other party and try to settle the dispute before coming to the Commission. If you manage to settle the dispute in this way please let the Commission know immediately. The file will then be closed and the Commission will have no further role.
If you choose not to have private discussions with the other party, or if such discussions have been unsuccessful, then the application will be dealt with by the Commission.
In the Commission, you are able to be represented by an industrial advocate, an organisation (such as a union, if you are an employee, or an employer organisation if you are an employer), or another person of your choice. You may also be able to be represented by a lawyer, who will have to seek the leave of the Commissioner to appear on your behalf. Whether or not that leave will be granted will depend upon the circumstances of the case. The Commissioner who deals with your application will want to ensure that no party to the dispute is disadvantaged.
It is not necessary that you have someone to represent you. You can choose to represent yourself. You can also bring along a support person or persons if you want. Please bring along three copies of all relevant documents (one for the Commissioner, one for you and one for the other party).
Depending upon the circumstances and the stage at which the matter is, it will be dealt with either by a conference (known as a 'conciliation conference'), or a hearing, or a combination of both.
A conciliation conference is a discussion, with the assistance of a Commissioner, the purpose of which is to try to resolve the dispute between the parties.
There is almost always a conference first, and it is only when a dispute is unable to be resolved through discussions, that it proceeds to a formal hearing. Once it has been decided that the matter will be dealt with by way of a hearing, then you will need to ensure that any witnesses you intend to call are present at the hearing. You will also need to bring three copies of any documents which you intend presenting in support of your case.
Depending upon the location, the dispute may be heard either in a court room or a conference room. You should arrive a few minutes before the start time. The Commissioner's Associate will show you where to sit and will explain the procedures to you. The Associate will answer any questions if there is anything you are not sure about.
Once you know the time and date of your conference/hearing, the following procedures will generally be followed:
Parties to disputes before the Tasmanian Industrial Commission may find it helpful to read the relevant sections of the Industrial Relations Act 1984, namely sections 29, 30 and 31. Copies of the Act are available on the internet or from the Government Printer.
Determinations concerning the review of applications by State Service employees in relation to selection and other actions relating to their employment can only be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Tasmania.