Adverse Action Lawyer wanted in Frijters versus UQ case

I am seeking a lawyer to run an Adverse Action case connected to the recent Fair Work Commission verdict that found systematic breaches of procedures and procedural fairness in the University of Queensland’s actions against me following my research on racial attitudes in Brisbane. I first raised these breaches late 2013, but they were never addressed, with lots of new ones added to them as the case dragged on. The VC of the university was also personally informed of these breaches in April 2014, publicly denying there was anything wrong about UQ’s action in February 2015. He was again informed in March 2015, consistently failing to rectify breaches of procedure brought to his attention. I wish to bring an Adverse Action case to claim back my considerable costs.


I expect the case to be worth at least a few hundred thousand dollars in terms of damages (legal cost, value of my time, etc.), and for it to be potentially one of many others because the FW case uncovered widespread breaches of procedures in UQ’s handling of misconduct cases. So there might well be many others who are now looking to bring Adverse Action cases against UQ.

I offer a pay-for-success contract wherein the first part of any awarded damages would go to the lawyer, but after a threshold payment I want 50% to go to the successful lawyer and 50% towards Vanavil, which is a school for orphaned victims of the 2004 Tsunami flood in India. I feel that helping the poorest Indians will go some way to nullify the damage that the managers of UQ did when they suppressed evidence of adverse treatments of Indians (and Indigenous peoples) in Brisbane and made it harder to research these things in general. And I want to feel that I haven’t wasted my time these last three years on fighting mindless bureaucracies, but that my efforts ended up helping people in need.

Negotiations on the offered contract are possible. Please contact me on email if you are interested or have a good suggestion for a good adverse action lawyer ( p dot frijters AT uq dot edu dot au).

[Ps. The VC of UQ was still making inappropriate claims last week on the UQ media about his lack of involvement and has refused to retract his claims this last week when I pointed his errors out to him.]

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10 Responses to Adverse Action Lawyer wanted in Frijters versus UQ case

  1. paul walter says:

    Wish you well, Paul Frijters.

    Whatever the legal niceties, you are one of several academics recently persecuted by conservative uni admins for speaking truth to power, in your case also involving researched work.

    • paul frijters says:

      thanks Paul. You don’t happen to have any contacts with good adverse action lawyers in Brisbane who would want to take on the case?

  2. Ken Parish says:

    Hi Paul
    Note that it is unlawful for a lawyer to enter into a contingent fee arrangement (e.g. when where remuneration is calculated as a percentage/proportion of damages. See section 325 Legal Profession Act (same in all states).

    However you can enter into a “no win no fee” arrangement where the hourly rate remuneration is very generous in the event of success (defined by agreement).

    Did Holding Redlich or anyone else actually advise you that you had a good potential adverse action claim? It isn’t immediately obvious to me that UQ did anything adverse to you because you exercised or threatened exercise of a “workplace right” as required by section 340 of the FWA.

    This briefing note from Corrs (who typically act for employers) usefully summarises the state of authorities on “workplace right”. As you can see, the expression is often broadly interpreted. But even on a broad interpretation, surely their disciplinary proceeding against you (badly flawed though it was) was initiated because of an “ethical” complaint made to UQ by Brisbane Council, rather than because of your threatened exercise of a workplace right? That is, the disciplinary proceeding preceded any complaint by you, and so any such complaint can’t have been one of the reasons for that action. Or do you argue that your “workplace right” was the right to conduct/supervise research unimpeded by misconceived demands for ethical clearances which on a proper interpretation should not have been required? But if that is the way you put it, wouldn’t that case depend on a final determination of whether ethical clearance WAS required, which is the point not yet determined because the initial proceedings were held void for breach of natural justice principles? Again, if that’s the case I suspect your adverse action claim would likely be adjourned pending determination of the UQ disciplinary proceedings assuming they recommence them, which the linked statement from the VC suggests they probably intend doing …

    I can’t help thinking this is a legal saga with a long road still to travel (unless you can exert the sort of union and public pressure that Ros Ward was able to deploy against La Trobe).

    • paul frijters says:

      yes, I have been advised an adverse action case is likely to succeed. The university was put on notice very early on that they were running a flawed process but ran with it anyway.

      Your link is interesting. It for instance says The critical issue is being able to explain and defend the decision making process through clear evidence.

      “The employer should consider these issues:

      What “paper trail” will exist about the reasons of the relevant decision makers, leading up to any decision to dismiss or discipline?
      Are complaints properly investigated?
      Who within the business will be involved in any decision?
      Who makes the final decision?
      Will they be available to give evidence?

      I feel pretty confident after reading that ! It confirms what others have said.


  3. Jim says:

    I find it very hard to believe that a university where over 50% of the staff work in management and administration could be so incompetent.

    And I have never heard anyone say that the research was flawed in any way, or that it wasn’t robust. I actually thought it was great that someone in the economics faculty at UQ was actually doing something applied and remotely useful for once (a rarity). I would love to find out if Translink actually ran some cultural awareness training (or similar) once the issue was exposed.

    Paul. I wish you all the best in your future pursuits, and don’t let this issue take over your life. You still have a lot to contribute.

    • paul frijters says:

      thanks Jim!

    • derrida derider says:

      Err, IME having a high proportion of your staff in management and admin is in fact a common CAUSE of systemic incompetence. It’s called “bureaucracy”.

      And yes, Paul, the damage to UQ’s reputation from all this is far greater than any damage they’ve done to yours (good luck to them the next time UQ tries to recruit a high-profile applied economist. And I suspect the Melbourne and ANU faculties must already be trying to poach a couple of your colleagues).

      So I hope and expect your future challenges will be more productive and much more enjoyable. And perhaps, if your case wins, more renumerative too.

  4. paul walter says:

    I suspect you might be in the mood for a fight, so I hope you find your lawyer.. surely there still some people in that profession with a few ethics and an interest in justice?

  5. Peter WARWICK says:

    Paul, fight the good fight ! You have made valuable contributions to this site and, no doubt, the world of economics.

    You (and others) sound confident that a strong case exists and the potential is good. Don’t let the turkeys get you down !

    Keep us posted on progress.

  6. Chris Lloyd says:

    Paul. Did you try to get interest from the MSM? I would think that Fairfax would lap this story up. How about the Conversation? Oh wait. They get money from UQ…..

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