TAFE & Adult Provision Legal news: a testing case for disability

  • By Michael McIver
  • This article was published more than 4 years ago.
  • 3 Dec 2019

The AEU has had a victory in a long-running underpayment of wages and entitlements claim for Erin Legg, a disability instructor at a Yooralla Day Service. The AEU was initially unsuccessful in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

However, on appeal Justice Steward of the Federal Court of Australia, found that Ms Legg had been wrongly classified by Yooralla as an attendant carer under the Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) rather than as a disability instructor. The underpayment of wages was about 10% of Ms Stanios’ wage. It is likely that other disability instructors have been similarly underpaid and we hope the decision will flow on to other employees.

This case is noteworthy, as it is the first to deal with the Fair Work Commission’s 2012 ERO in the sectors covered by the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010. It will also help the AEU deal with other cases of disability employers attempting to wrongly designate instructors as attendant carers. On a personal level, the case has required a great deal of fortitude on the part of our member, Ms Legg, who has endured more than four years of litigation.  

In other wins, the AEU was also successful in an appeal to the Disciplinary Appeals Board on behalf of a longstanding member. The member faced false allegations by students. The DAB found in our member’s favour and ordered that he be reinstated with back-pay and the reprimand he received be rescinded. The AEU also favourably settled a EC member’s dismissal claim for approximately $11,000; an enterprise agreement breach case for a TAFE member (approximately $17,000); and a dismissal claim for a teacher (two months’ pay). 

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