LAW4119 - Contemporary workplace relations law - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Chief examiner(s)

Prof Marilyn Pittard Researcher ProfileResearcher Profile (

Unit guides



  • Term 2 2018 (On-campus)


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later:

LAW1111; LAW1114; LAW1112; LAW1113; LAW2101; LAW2102; LAW2112; LAW2111

For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015: LAW1100 OR LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later:

LAW3111 and LAW3112

For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015:

LAW3200 OR LAW3201


This unit will examine the following major areas:

  1. the development of systems for regulating dispute settlement and determining conditions of employment, including the Australian federal system for regulating workplace relations, industrial disputes and minimum conditions of employment, the systems in North America, United Kingdom and Europe;
  2. the impact of globalization and international labour standards through international labour organization conventions and its regulation;
  3. the scope and coverage of domestic legislation, including the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and its constitutional basis and the degree of legislative intervention in North America, United Kingdom and Europe;
  4. sources of minimum conditions, minimum wages and the safety nets;
  5. the purpose, scope and content of collective and enterprise agreements, good faith bargaining and the use of industrial action as a bargaining tool;
  6. the protection of workplace rights, such as the right to join a union in Australia, Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Europe; and
  7. approaches to the enforcement of minimum conditions, modern awards and enterprise agreements, in Australia through the Fair Work Ombudsman and the court system and in Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Europe through the courts and relevant specialist courts.


On completion of the subject students should:

  1. understand and appraise the importance of international conventions and domestic legislation in relation to industrial dispute settling and setting minimum terms and conditions of employment in Australia, United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe;
  2. appreciate the impact of constitutional powers in establishing workplace relations systems;
  3. determine how minimum standards for workers are set and enforced;
  4. critique the legal nature of collective or enterprise bargaining and the role of industrial action in bargaining for terms and conditions of work;
  5. debate and critically analyse how legislation protects workplace rights, including the right to bargain collectively and the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union; and
  6. research and apply the law studied to new and emerging contemporary problems in the labour law field.


Attendance requirement: Students who fail to attend at least 80% of the classes in this unit (ie who miss 3 or more classes) will receive a result of 0 N for the unit. Students who are unable to meet this requirement due to severe illness or other exceptional circumstances must make an application for in-semester special consideration with supporting documentation.

Seminar presentation: 10%

Report (750 words): 15%

Take home examination (3750 words): 75%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information