ACU in league to fight for workplace justice

Australian Catholic University is headed to the coalface in a collaboration aiming to fight for fairness in the workplace.

ACU’s Office of General Counsel has partnered with the Marrickville Legal Centre to provide free legal advice to clients facing disadvantage related to their employment.

The Covid economic downturn and anticipated impact of the looming end to jobkeeper wage subsidies has heaped increasing pressure on countless vulnerable individuals for whom underpayment of wages and entitlements is a palpable threat.

With that in mind, ACU senior legal counsel Jack Ding and colleague Kieran Ryan will apply their professional skills and extensive legal experience in a fortnightly pro bono telephone advice service.

“We want to serve the community in a way that matters,” Mr Ding said. “I think it’s important that we put time aside and help the community when there is unprecedented pressures and stressors on people’s jobs.”

“Existing vulnerabilities may be exacerbated by the pandemic and the uncertainty of job security may lead people to end up in exploitative situations. We want to do what we can to seek justice for those people and make sure they are fairly treated by their employers”.

MLC is a not-for-profit community legal centre that serves clients across New South Wales. Its commitment to justice and the protection of human rights is perfectly aligned to ACU’s mission which is driven by the pursuit of dignity and the common good.

“MLC was founded 40 years ago by law students who identified a need for accessible legal services in Sydney’s inner west,” MLC solicitor Lucy Carroll said. “It’s exciting to establish a pro bono partnership with a higher education institution that also believes justice is for all people.

“The additional support from ACU will allow MLC’s employment team to assist more individuals who have been underpaid during the course of their employment.”

Mr Ding said the collaboration would in turn help strengthen their skillset.

“This pro bono work will also help us flex certain professional skills that we wouldn’t be doing daily in our work as corporate lawyers such as speaking to individual everyday clients and working on social justice matters,” he said.

“It gives us real perspective.”

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