"I donated to AED because I know from personal exerience some of the barriers people with a disability experience in the workplace"
Historic court victory
Jul 5 2017
AED's greatest achievement to date is the Federal Court decision in a landmark wage case that has had wide-ranging ramifications for 20,000 employees with disabilities working in Australian Disability Enterprises.
Since 2004, some employers chose to calculate the wages of people with disability using the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) which resulted in a very poor return on work, despite people with disability contributing significantly to meeting Australia’s packaging, manufacturing and cleaning need
In 2008, AED Legal Centre spearheaded the BSWAT test case on behalf of two employees with an intellectual disability - Mr Michael Nojin and Mr Gordon Prior. The case resulted in a favourable landmark decision. On 21 December 2012 the full bench of the Federal Court of Australia ruled on Appeal that the Commonwealth unlawfully discriminated against Mr Nojin and Mr Prior under Section 6 of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992 (Cth) by assessing their wages using the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT).
This was a complex and long case (went for 5 years) and the Federal and High Courts decision was for AED the culmination of 10 years of dedicated legal advocacy.
The decision may be read here.
Michael and Gordon’s story can be read in a cartoon on The Guardian here.
This was a historic victory and an affirmation of the human rights of people with disability across Australia. This could lead to an overhaul of the wage assessment process and the removal of the discriminatory elements that disadvantage people with an intellectual disability.
Class action success
On 16 December 2016 the Federal Court approved the settlement of a class action between the Commonwealth and employees of Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) whose wages had been assessed under the BSWAT.
The decision worth $100 + million will benefit over 8,000 employees with disability working in ADEs around Australia. The class action settlement means that these workers will be eligible to get 70% of the money owed to them in lost wages by the government.
This historic victory is the culmination of many years of sustained advocacy, successful legal claims, policy influence and the class action undertaken by employees, their families and community organisations.