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Melbourne Health hit with class action

After the “systemic” and “widespread” underpayment of junior doctors, Melbourne Health has now become the 12th Victorian health service to face a class action for wage theft.  

user iconLauren Croft 07 December 2022 Big Law
Melbourne Health hit with class action
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After allegedly underpaying its frontline junior medical staff for unrostered and unpaid overtime, a class action has been filed against Melbourne Health.

This comes after resignation rates in the healthcare sector reached approximately 200 people per week, contributing to a total of 10,685 resignations in 2020–2021; a 19 per cent increase from the previous year.

The class actions are being led by a group of junior doctors together with their representative body, the Victorian Branch of the Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (ASMOF Vic) and law firms Gordon Legal and Hayden Stephens & Associates.

 
 

ASMOF Victoria president Dr Roderick McRae said that applicants in the class action could remain anonymous should they wish.

“In August this year, Premier Daniel Andrews reminded the public that his government made wage theft a crime in Victoria. However, Victoria’s health services under his watch are being sued by junior doctors for underpayment of wages — in other words, wage theft. I feel that it is my duty for the sake of our junior doctors and their patients to call upon Premier Andrews to work with us to achieve a solution,” he said.  

“We know junior doctors feel very strongly about this issue and are hesitant to come forward for fear of backlash. It’s important they know that we can provide them with a confidential environment to register their concerns. All they need to do is jump onto Gordon Legal’s website and follow a few easy steps.”

This class action follows the launch of similar claims against Eastern Health and Royal Women’s Hospital, which currently await a decision from the Federal Court.

“As we saw at the hearing of the class action against Peninsula Health, doctors are being forced to embark on a process that can lead to very serious and (in my opinion) unnecessary conflict with hospital management. I sincerely hope we can work together with the Victorian government to try to avoid that,” Dr McRae added.

Gordon Legal partner Andrew Grech said that the class actions relate to those underpaid over a six-year period.

“This latest claim against Melbourne Health relates to the systemic underpayment of wages over the past six years,” he said.  

“We’re learning more about the scale of underpayment across Victorian health services the more we speak to doctors. We appreciate that many feel hesitant to come forward for fear of reprisals. It’s comforting for many of them to know that they can tell us about their experiences confidentially and with no obligation.”

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