News
and
Updates

AED AGM

AED AGM

Posted by Phillip Camela.

On Tuesday 23 October 2018, AED held its AGM at the Office of the Public Advocate in Lygon St, Carlton. Formalities got underway with the Chairperson Mr Gaetano Ravida presenting his report and acknowledging " the continued commitment, diligence and the resultant achievements of the AED Staff, the work of the committee in its commission of governance for the organisation, the invaluable contribution of the volunteers, and the support of members and friends of AED ". In his report the Treasurer Mr Erwin NG pointed out that the financial auditor " has not revealed any issues with the accounting practices and financial management at AED". AED's Principal Kairsty Wilson thanked the Committee, staff, students and volunteers for their contribution and good work. She also talked about key organisational and strategic issues such as the continuing work at the Fair Work Commission (FWC). Mr Ravida was then re-elected as Chairperson and Mr Erwin Ng was re-elected Treasurer. After the AGM attendees joined in conversation and some drinks and nibbles.

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
Vale Paul Cain

Vale Paul Cain

Posted by Phillip Camela.

It is with regret and much sadness that we have learned that Mr Paul Cain passed away this afternoon after a sudden illness. Paul has worked for the National Council on Intellectual Disability, now known as Inclusion Australia, for 23 years. Paul was an advocate of the highest calibre, skill and integrity with an unflinching commitment to the rights of people with disability. We remember him for his intellect, the quality of his work, his passion and his great contribution in the promotion of inclusive education. His meticulous research and his strategic thinking was unparalleled particularly in the area of disability employment.  Paul was a great friend to all of us at AED. He has worked closely with us on employment issues since 2002 when together we commenced our fight for equitable wages of employees at ADEs.  Lately he played a vital role in our Wage Justice Campaign at the Fair Work Commission.  In these troubled times Paul was a gentle soul who could still smile in the face of adversity. He gave us all courage. Paul is irreplaceable and will be sorely missed. We extend to his family our heart-felt condolences.

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
Justice Project report

Justice Project report

Posted by Phillip Camela.

Since early 2017, the Law Council of Australia has been conducting a national review into the state of access to justice in Australia for people experiencing significant disadvantage. The recently released report includes a section on access to justice for people with disability. Click this link: https://www.lawcouncil.asn.au/files/web-pdf/Justice%20Project/Final%20Report/People%20with%20Disability%20%28Part%201%29.pdf

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
The Future of Supported Employment (1)

The Future of Supported Employment (1)

Posted by Phillip Camela.

Following the recent national consultations on the Future for Supported Employment, the Department of Social Services has published a Summary Report on the major themes raised by stakeholders. There is also a Summary of Consultations with employees with disability working in ADEs.

In the meantime, the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) has expressed concerns to the Minister Dan Tehan thatpeople with disability are at risk of being pigeon-holed by supported employment reform.

In a Media statement AFDO's CEO Ross Joyce said:  " We are extremely concerned that the process has largely focused on the viability of Australian Disability Enterprises, rather than how support can increase full inclusion and employment participation in mainstream settings, which should be our ultimate aim. The voice of people with disability, of which there are thousands working in open employment with support, has not been captured at all ". You can read the full media statement here.

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
Supports the NDIS will fund in relation to employment.

Supports the NDIS will fund in relation to employment.

Posted by Phillip Camela.

undefined 

About the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing community inclusion and individualised support for people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has been established to implement the NDIS.

What supports related to employment will the NDIS fund?

Many NDIS participants will be employed or seeking employment. The NDIS, employers and employment assistance services will all play an important role in supporting a participant’s employment.

Supports funded by the NDIS

The NDIS will fund supports to help participants with employment where these are beyond the requirements of employment services and employers. The NDIS will also fund supports the participant would require regardless of the activity they are undertaking. This includes:

• assisting participants who are not eligible for Disability Employment Services (DES) or Job Services Australia (JSA) to build their skills and capacity to participate in employment, as well as help to find and maintain employment

• personal care or assistance with transport where the participant requires these supports regardless of the activity they are undertaking

• assistive technology devices such as wheelchairs, personal communication devices or a hearing aid

• supported employment, such as services offered by Australian Disability Enterprises.

For a full NDIS Fact Sheet on Employment supports click the link below.

https://www.ndis.gov.au/medias/documents/he9/h63/8800552615966/Factsheet-MainstreamInterfaces-Employment.pdf

 

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
Employment terminated after disability disclosure

Employment terminated after disability disclosure

The client was the wife of and is the trustee and executor of the estate of a deceased 45 year old male who had been diagnosed with cancer. His work hours were reduced and employment eventually terminated after disclosing his cancer diagnosis to an employer he had been working for 17 years.  

The deceased had worked for his employer for 17 years, no issues ever being raised about his performance. After disclosing his diagnosis, his hours were drastically reduced and his employment eventually terminated several months later. The employer claimed that the deceased was unable to perform his daily work functions and posed a risk of danger to other staff. This contradicted a medical certificate issued at the time declaring that the deceased was fit for work.

With the support of AED, the client filed an anti-discrimination complaint to VCAT on behalf of the deceased, under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. The employer made a strike out application on the basis that the client did not have sufficient standing under the law to bring such a claim on behalf of another person. A hearing was held where barristers for both parties put forth arguments claiming that the client had or did not have, under relevant legislation, sufficient interest to make the complaint on the deceased’s behalf.

 Current legislation is unclear about the client’s position with regards to commencing her action. In such circumstances, Parliament’s intention in enacting the relevant legislation is considered. The VCAT member found that the objectives of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 include the ongoing improvement of society by the elimination of unlawful discrimination and that the client is not excluded from taking the present action against the deceased’s employer. The strike out application was therefore dismissed and matter is ongoing.

 

Kate back on the job after dismissal

Kate back on the job after dismissal

WHEN Kate Last was sacked she thought her world had ended.

The Parkville woman, who has an intellectual disability and short-term memory loss, worked for a disability service provider for four years before being dismissed.

Ms Last said the reason given for her dismissal was she had become a danger to other employees.

The 40-year-old was handed a letter of termination and escorted off the premises.

She said in her job she was required to undertake multi-tasking but due to her disability, she wasn’t able to understand new tasks that were only relayed verbally.

Her co-workers went on strike after learning why Ms Last wasn’t at work.

Ms Last said in the years that followed she lost a lot of weight and at times contemplated suicide.

Ms Last said because she felt she was wrongly done by she contacted the Association for Employees with a Disability Legal Centre to get her job back.

Two and a half years later and three days before a scheduled hearing at the Fair Work Commission she was reinstated.

Ms Last said when she learnt she could go back to work she was over the moon.

Dismissal in contravention of a general protection

Dismissal in contravention of a general protection

A 42 year old male with brain damage after an accident, as well as physical injuries including shoulder reconstruction and broken back and neck contacted ADE Legal Centre. 

The client was unpaid by his employer for substantial number of hours worked beyond his employment contract. He was also made to perform duties outside of the scope of the contract, subjected to treatment by the employer amounting to bullying and/or vilification and not provided with entitlements under his contract. The employer made rude and abusive comments about the client’s and his partner’s disabilities to other staff.

The matter was initially brought to the Fair Work Commission as a General Protections Application Involving Dismissal, under the Fair Work Act 2009. A conciliation was organised by the Commission but no settlement was reached.

The parties continued negotiating on their own but failed to reached agreement. The matter was subsequently filed at the Federal Circuit Court as a Claim under the Fair Work Act 2009 alleging dismissal in contravention of a general protection. A mediation was organised by the court in which the parties managed to reach a mutually agreeable settlement

The outcome of AED's intervention is that the parties agreed on terms of settlement after a mediation at the Federal Circuit Court.

Failure to make reasonable adjustments for employee with disability cost employer over $170k

Failure to make reasonable adjustments for employee with disability cost employer over $170k

19 July 2015

Article by Louise Rumble and James True

Marque Lawyers

The Federal Circuit Court has ruled that Corrective Services NSW unlawfully discriminated against Caryn Huntley, an employee, who suffered from Crohn'sDisease and idiopathic hypersomnolanceby failing to make "reasonable adjustments".

While the Court found a number of flaws in Corrective Services NSW's handling of the medical condition and subsequent termination, it focussed on the employer's obligations around "reasonable adjustments". Suffering the disease and sleep disorder ("disabilities" for the purposes of disability discrimination legislation), Ms Huntley had provided medical evidence to the employer regarding her ability to perform her role which, relevantly, included some travel.

The Court found the employer had misinterpreted that evidence when it determined Ms Huntley should be medically retired because she was unable to travel for more than 30 minutes. On the contrary, that medical evidence asserted Ms Huntley could take trips greater than 30 minutes, so long as she was able to take a break along the way. A reasonable adjustment to make?

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (Act) provides that an employer will not have unlawfully discriminated against an employee if, because of the disability, the employee would be unable to carry out the inherent requirements of the job even if the employer made reasonable adjustments for that employee. Under the Act, an adjustment is reasonable unless making it would impose an unjustifiable hardship on the employer.

So, did Corrective Services NSW make reasonable adjustments? Basing its decision on the fact the employer had misinterpreted the medical evidence presented by Ms Huntley, had considered the condition an "illness" rather than a "disability" (the latter meaning the disability discrimination legislation was relevant) and subsequently terminated the employment, the Court said no.

Corrective Services NSW had failed to: consider the inherent requirements of the role; consider any reasonable adjustments that could be made to assist the employee to perform the inherent requirements; and implement those adjustments. Relevantly, the employer was ordered to pay compensation for pain and suffering and breach of contract to the tune of over $170k plus interest.

Lessons learned: employers ought to carefully consider whether an employee's illness or medical condition is a "disability" and, if so, take steps to comply with the obligations which arise from the disability discrimination legislation. A failure to do so could be costly.

We do not disclaim anything about this article. We're quite proud of it really.

 

 

 

Strategic Planning Day

Strategic Planning Day

We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to our consultations for the development of a 3-year Strategic Plan.

Details are as follows: Saturday 23 February 2019, 9:00am - 4:00pm, Conference Room Office of the Public Advocate Level 1, 204 Lygon St, Carlton.

A Strategic Plan can be a helpful map of actions and activities so that an organisation can improve both itself and its services to clients. It is an opportunity to look at where AED is now as well as the challenges and opportunities that we may face in the future.

Please RSVP to Noni Lord on 9639 4333 or email noni.lord@aed.org.au by Thursday 20 February 2019. Please let us know if you have special dietary and/or support needs.

NDIS Appeals Flowchart

NDIS Appeals Flowchart

AED Legal Centre is currently providing assistance to NDIS participants who are seeking a review of an NDIS decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

For more information about this service please contact AED Legal Centre, Suite 4 Level 9, 276 Flinders Street, Melbourne, 3000.

Ph:(03) 9639 4333 or email noni.lord@aed.org.au

(03) 9639 4333

Suite 4 Level 9
276 Flinders St
Melbourne 3000

view map