Goodbye job applications, hello dream career
Seize control of your career and design the future you deserve with LW career

Doctors in wage theft class action secure win

Junior doctors have been dealt a win as the Federal Court of Australia has ruled in favour of them in a lawsuit against Peninsula Health.

user iconJack Campbell 22 August 2023 The Bar
expand image

The class action lawsuit was the first wage theft case of its kind in Australia, as Peninsula Health was found to have breached the Fair Work Act when Dr Gaby Bolton was not paid correctly while working at Frankston Hospital in 2019 and 2020.

Dr Bolton, who was also the class action lead applicant, said that this achievement is a positive first step towards protecting junior doctors at work.

“Payment of our hours will hopefully force hospitals to make a change. This isn’t a safe environment for junior doctors, and it certainly wasn’t a safe environment for the patients we work so hard to care for,” said Dr Bolton.


“I started this case with ASMOF [Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation] Victoria because my colleagues were overworked and exhausted. I see junior doctors every day who perform medical emergencies and prepare patients for surgery when they are clearly fatigued.”

Other junior doctors in Australia are urged to sign up at to claim any unpaid overtime. There have been seven more class actions lodged in Victoria against 12 of the largest health services in the state, with more expected later this year.

Now others are coming out in support of these lawsuits and the actions of Dr Bolton in pursuing compensation, such as Andrew Grech, partner at Gordon Legal.

“For brave young doctors like Gaby Bolton and the many colleagues who gave evidence in her case, we would not have been able to achieve this landmark legal victory against wage theft for junior doctors,” explained Mr Grech.

“It is time for the Andrews government to intervene and require its health service CEOs and the secretary of the Department of Health, Professor Euan Wallace, to stop ignoring the government’s commitment to stop wage theft. For too long, this problem has been ignored by those in charge in our hospitals and the Department of Health. Now, a Federal Court judge has exposed the problem. It’s time to act.”

Gordon Legal and Hayden Stephens and Associates (HSA) represented ASMOF and other junior doctors. After coming through COVID-19, many are recognising their worth.

Hayden Stephens commented: “These junior doctors helped us get through the pandemic. They deserve better. Junior doctors are sick and tired of their efforts being taken for granted. It’s time health services recognised that unless things change, our junior medical workforce will crumble.”

Now ASMOF Victoria is urging other doctors to come forward and share their experiences. By showing support, more protections can be granted to keep the health industry safe from exploitation.

ASMOF Victoria president Dr Roderick McRae said: “Sign up now and let us hear your stories at”

“The state government must stop paying millions of dollars in legal costs and end this senseless drain on valuable hospital resources. Our health system is already under stress. Work with us, not against us, to try to resolve this crisis.”

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member for free today!