Kat’s story

Kat was excited when she began full time work in the manufacturing industry after being unemployed for some time. She was especially relieved that her new employer was so accommodating of her disability, an acquired brain injury.

Her supervisors would modify her daily tasks and provide workplace support to ensure that her injury was not a barrier to her ongoing employment.

After working for her employer for about 18 months, Kat suspected she might not have been paid correctly. She contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman. They conducted an investigation and found that Kat was being underpaid.

After her complaint, things went downhill at work. Her employer was less accommodating of her disability. On more than one occasion, she was not provided with support and expected to complete tasks her employer knew were not within her capabilities. After three months of this, she was called into a meeting with her managers. They handed her a letter stating that her employment was terminated, effective immediately.

Kat believed she had been fired unfairly

Kat thought it was clear that her employment was terminated due to her having made a complaint about her underpayment. Her employer stated that her termination was because of her disability getting in the way of her ability to do the job.

Believing she had been fired unfairly, Kat filed a General Protection claim, but the matter could not be resolved at the Fair Work Commission. The commission issued Kat a certificate, and gave Kat 14 days to file a court application.

Unfortunately, during this time Kat and her partner were in unstable housing. They were at serious risk of homelessness and so Kat missed the deadline to file her claim in court.

After missing the deadline, Kat contacted the Justice Connect to prepare an application to file a claim out of time. With help from a lawyer, Kat drafted an application to the court outlining why she should be granted leave to file out of time. This application was successful and Kat’s claim proceeded.

Pro bono lawyers helped Kat find justice

Justice Connect referred Kat to a barrister who helped her pro bono at a Federal Circuit Court mediation. Armed with expert employment advice and the negotiating power of a barrister, she settled the matter for $15,000.