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Good Industrial Relations Practice

You will not find a definition of "good industrial relations practice" in the Industrial Relations Act. It is not defined in law but is the product of case law (precedents) generated largely by the Industrial Court. The Court, when considering matters, is required to “act in accordance with equity, good conscience and the substantial merits of the case before it, having regard to the principles and practices of good industrial relations.”

The Court will look to other jurisdictions as well as the Conventions and Recommendations of the International Labour Organization as sources of what could be considered "good industrial relations practice". Inevitably, concepts of what is good IR practice will change over time.

Amongst the key examples that have emerged from the Court over the years are:

  • natural justice - the right to have a hearing, to be heard, face your accusers, defend yourself. The importance of natural justice is particularly emphasised in John -v- Rees (1969) 2, ALLER 274
  • double jeopardy – not being punished twice for the same thing
  • equity of treatment – treating people the same for the same misdemeanour's 
  • condonation – taking action against someone after having effectively condoned what they have done
  • proportionate discipline – discipline in proportion to the offence

Subpages (1): Natural Justice