It's All Fun And Games Til Someone Involves The Law
If you never need legal advice or help with a serious problem at work or in your personal life during your lifetime, you're luckier than you think. If the idea of government, lawyers, court, letters and legal problems doesn't make you at least a little uncomfortable, you've got a thick skin. For the rest of us, it's time to address our fears. There are many services that the Victoria and Federal Government offer the public for free when things get a bit real and difficult. We'll only touch on a few here that should give you the idea that if you need help with a problem while studying, at work or in your personal life that involves anything legal, help is available.
Victoria Legal Aid
We'll start here. Victoria Legal aid offers free advice for many legal problems you may encounter including:
- Traffic offences
- Criminal offences
- Fines and infringements
- Police power and your rights
- Centrelink issues
- Pay disputes
Fair Work Ombudsman
Yes, it is a strange word we've kept from the old English, but an Ombudsman is basically a negotiator or a mitigator. If you have problems at work that you can't resolve with your manager or Human Resources representative, the Fair Work Ombudsman can step in and hear the case and help people come to a decision or enforce a decision based on precedents and their decisions are final. Wondering what they do?
Help employers find the correct pay rates and awards for employees.
Provide information about work rights in Australia for everyone (domestic or international).
Not getting paid? Or not getting paid correctly? Yet your manager refuses to correct it, or is taking too long? Mention the Fair Work Ombudsman and watch how quick they move.
Leave entitlements as a worker in Australia and much, much more.
They have online courses to teach people about their work rights and responsibilities. As mentioned before they help Australians and Travellers or International students with these issues as well. They can give advice or visit your workplace if necessary. The main message here is DO NOT BE AFRAID TO USE GOVERNMENT SERVICES TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! Check out this guide for young workers and students to get started, and then search their site for any other info you might need. There's a suite of videos they've created to help people out. There's a few below, but quite a few more on their website.
Unfair Treatment at Work
Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission
It's all in the name. In Australia, we have the Equal Opportunity Act which is all about trying to ensure people are treated fairly in the workplace and also not discriminated against based on what are called 'protected attributes' that every person has; yes even YOU! You can view the list here, alongside definitions about discrimination terminology. It's pretty extensive because Australia tends to be pretty progressive in these areas. This is a big part of what this service is. But it's also about informing yourself as a person in Australia, whether local or international as to what you are entitled to, or if someone is discriminating against you at work or study or with services you use. Check out the website here