The AEAWA understands that members often want the advice and representation of a lawyer during an investigation, but only on rare occasions is a lawyer of value to your case. While the AEAWA have access to an expert legal team, the provisions of the Fair Work Act allow for a ‘support person’ to be present at meetings. Many lawyers will in fact decline to act as a support person. In addition, lawyers typically represent multiple clients and therefore they are unfamiliar with the specific policies, procedures, and standing orders operated by St John.
The are also unfamiliar with conventions and routines of our work, and ‘standard practice’ of our employment. It is also historically the case that where employees have attempted to bring a lawyer to a meeting, to act as a support person, the meeting is terminated or ‘cut short’ and rescheduled. Fortunately your AEAWA delegate will be very familiar with the relevant employment law, the Fair Work Act, the current EBA, the St John Code of Conduct, the Standard Operating Procedures and other policies relevant to your case, as well as the local protocol and historical conventions of WA ambulance work. In addition, your delegates have well over a century of combined experience representing countless St John paramedics, Ambulance Officers, Transport Officers, and SOC staff. We know the best arguments to make a strong case to protect our members.
The value of this knowledge cannot be underestimated. Lawyers tend to be of most value in cases where termination of employment has occurred, and where an unfair dismissal appeal will be lodged with the Fair Work Commission, or in cases involving very complex legal issues. AEAWA can engage a lawyer where required to help advise on such cases, but there is generally a ceiling on the expenses covered. Speak to an AEAWA delegate for more details.