We think you are in Victoria. If not please click 'Change'

In your state, you are required to confirm you wish to access this information. Please enter 'QLD' or 'WA' in the field below to continue.

No thanks

Workplace disputes: Your guide to conciliation

Woman signing document | Shine Lawyers

If you have been unfairly dismissed from your employment, your first step should always be lodging a claim with the Fair Work Commission. Once your claim is lodged, there are many ways you can try to resolve the dispute,  including conciliation.

Conciliation is an informal and private conversation between you and your employer in the presence of a conciliator, with the goal of reaching a settlement. Conciliation is an attractive option to most because it helps to settle disputes and is less expensive than going to court.

What happens during conciliation?

Conciliation can take up to 90 minutes, and the parties are allowed to reach any agreement that suits them.

Generally, the following will happen at a conciliation hearing:

  1. A conciliator calls each party and introduces himself / herself once all parties are present.
  2. Each side will briefly explain their version of events.
  3. The conciliator will talk to each party separately. In this private conversation, they will discuss possible avenues to resolve the dispute.
  4. The conciliator will notify each party of the other’s offers and counter offers, and an agreement may be reached.


How should I prepare for my conciliation?

There are a few key steps you can take before attending a conciliation to ensure you are well-placed to achieve an outcome that’s right for you.

  • Key issues: Before the meeting, write down the key issues of the dispute that you want to raise.
  • Your goal: Think about what you want to achieve. Remember that the goal is to reach a mutual agreement, so being flexible is important.
  • Stay focused: Focus on the issues to be resolved, not the emotions.
  • Response document: Make sure you read over a copy of the response document that was filed by the other person in the matter.
  • Your documents: Ensure you have a pen and all relevant documents, such as your contract of employment and pay slips.

Shine Lawyers can help

Employment law disputes are daunting for many. Our role at Shine Lawyers is to provide simple and expert guidance to help our clients achieve the outcome they deserve, no matter the dispute at hand.

Through our initial consultation service, our experts will advise you of all your available legal rights, giving you the freedom to choose the pathway that is best suited to your unique circumstances.

For more information, or to seek legal help with your workplace dispute, get in touch with Shine Lawyers‘ Employment Law team today.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: March 13, 2018.

Join the discussion

Share this article:

  • Robin wrote:

    Hi I read about your unfair dismissal,
    And impressed I wanna meet you guys personally.. Thanks robin

  • Thinking about volunteering? Know your rights and responsibilities

    Every year thousands of Australians support their community by volunteering with a wide range of organisations. Unlike paid staff, volunteers aren’t covered by awards or workplace agreements. However they still have important rights and protections from mistreatment. What is a volunteer? Although there is no legal definition of a volunteer in Australia, Volunteering Australia defines […]

    Read more

    Celebrating Harmony Day: Respecting cultural diversity at work

    March 21 is Harmony Day. A celebration of Australian multiculturalism, the day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. On this day, schools, workplaces and communities come together to celebrate our multicultural country. We’ve been doing so since 1999 and have held more than 70,000 Harmony Day events throughout […]

    Read more

    Casual vs. permanent part-time: What it means for your workplace rights

    Whether you’re searching for a new casual job or experiencing problems at your current workplace, understanding what your employment status means is critical for protecting your rights at work. Your entitlements change depending on your type of employment, so it’s important to be aware exactly what it means to be a part-time or casual worker. […]

    Read more

    International Women’s Day 2018: A timeline of women’s rights in Australia

    This International Women’s Day, the theme is #PressForProgress. Despite the support for movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report states that worldwide gender parity is over 200 years away. Gender equality won’t happen overnight, but now more than ever, we must keep pressing for progress. Although gender disparity still […]

    Read more