You web browser may not be properly supported. To use this site and all its features we recommend using the latest versions of Chrome, Safari or Firefox


The Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission has power to deal with claims for benefits that have been denied under a contract of employment pursuant to the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA). Employees or former employees can bring this type of claim within 6 years against their employer/ former employer. The jurisdiction is similar to a common law breach of contract claim, however, a denied contractual benefits claim brought in the WAIRC is a no costs jurisdiction.

We recently received a successful decision in a denied contractual benefits claim. The decision delivered 3 January 2017 found that the claimant, Mr Robert Whooley, was denied a contractual benefit under his employment contract with the Shire of Denmark and was awarded damages. There were two key legal issues in the case that we had to overcome:

  1. Whether the dismissal was valid; and
  2. Whether the parties had entered into a binding agreement in an unfair dismissal claim at the Fair Work Commission (Mr Whooley was not represented by us in those proceedings) which barred Mr Whooley from bringing a denied contractual benefits claim in the WAIRC.

The WAIRC determined in our favour that the Shire did not comply with their requirements under the Local Government Act 1995 (WA) and the termination of Mr Whooley was “wholly invalid and ineffective”; and the agreement (by way of deed) reached by the parties at the Fair Work Commission was unable to be binding as there was nothing upon which the agreement could fasten (given that the dismissal was not valid to begin with).

The Commission found the case was on terms with an old English case of Galloway v Galloway (1914) TLR 531 where it was held there could be no agreement arising out of a purported separation deed when the man and woman entering the deed mistakenly thought that they were married when they were, in fact, not married.

Accordingly, Mr Whooley was awarded damages to an amount to be determined at a later date.

Robert Whooley v Shire of Denmark [2017] WAIRC 1

Thank you for your feedback.

Related blog posts

Employment Law
National industrial manslaughter legislation would save lives

Strong national industrial manslaughter legislation is what Australian workers need, but a national law is not supported by the Federal Government. As a Workers’ Compensation lawyer in national law firm, I see the lack of consistency across the states and believe there should be national standards to protect all workers. Workers should feel safe no matter what state they live in. The recent death of a worker in Sydney’s Port Botany who was crushed between two shipping containers, and delays in commitment from the NSW Government to investigate industrial manslaughter laws, highlight the need for national reform. In the meantime, the NSW State Government needs to take fast action on...

Outdoor construction worksafe
Employment Law
Accepting jobs through apps puts workers’ rights at risk

Workers getting jobs through apps like Airtasker and Uber Eats are not receiving the benefits they are entitled to, are often unaware of their current hourly rate and most are not covered by work-related insurance. Research from Queensland University of Technology, the University of Adelaide and University of Technology Sydney, commissioned by the Victorian Government, showed about seven per cent of 14,000 respondents had found work on a digital platform (the gig economy) in the past year and 40 per cent of those did not know how much they were earning per hour. It showed younger people (aged 18-34) and males were accepting work through digital platforms in higher proportions than other...

Shutterstock 1388236754 Resized
Superannuation and Insurance
Injured at work? Remember your Super fund

If you’re one of the 15 million Australians with a superannuation account, you’ll probably know which fund(s) you’re with, as well as having an approximate idea of your balance. You may even know how your money is being invested by the superfund. However, what many people don’t realise is that it’s also likely you will have some sort of disability insurance cover through your superfund. This is especially important if an illness or injury affects your ability to work. In this article, we want to give you a better idea of what superannuation insurance is, including when you may be able to use it and how the claims process works. As well as helping members save for their retirement,...

Man Crutches

We're here to help

Start your online claim check now. Or, if you have a question, get in touch with our team.