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With offices across Victoria and within metropolitan Melbourne, the work we do touches the lives of many people, most especially our clients of course, but also their families and the wider communities in which they live, work and play.
Naturally, as the firm concentrates on how best to help people who have been struck by injury from a legal perspective, so too do we support groups who in other ways try to help injured people and their families.
Some of the groups we support help bereaved family members come to terms with the awful legacy of a workplace death. Others are regional groups, such as those set up to support asbestos sufferers.
RCT has assisted and supported local workers employed overseas in countries including the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and East Timor. In 2000 the firm's work on behalf of sacked Solomon Island workers was recognised with the Public Interest Law Clearing House Pro Bono Teams Award.
The firm is also a long-time contributor of volunteer labour to legal aid centres in Victoria. Founder Orm Thomas is a director of Too Young To Work, a project of the Child Labour Schools Company that builds schools in India for children who are victims of child labour.
We regard it as important that staff across the firm lend their time and expertise to community work. Lawyers are encouraged to volunteer their time to local community legal aid groups and networks. Others involve themselves in local sporting and business groups.
For us, volunteering and financial support strengthens our ethic of service. It reminds us of the relevance of our work and the importance of never losing sight of the fact that, while we are in business, it is fundamentally the business of helping people.
Volunteering and financial support for the wider community is therefore a critical part of our culture, our philosophy and our values.
Workplace death is a terrible matter. But long after the case is processed by WorkCover or dealt with in the courts, the surviving members of the family often find it hard to cope with the event.
Restorative justice is a concept that seeks to explore the deeper dimensions of workplace death, the grieving certainly, but also the very human need to talk with others, and especially people representing the company or organisation where the death has occurred. The research conducted by the Creative Ministries Network suggests that the impact of a workplace death often leaves families, workmates and management struggling to cope with the grief and the often-prolonged legal and public process that accompanies it.
RCT is a major supporter of the Uniting Church's restorative justice pilot project. Established under their Creative Ministries program, restorative justice attempts to better understand the ethical and emotional legacy of a workplace death. Counselling and mediation are often used to bring the bereaved family members together with managers from within the company so that, under expert guidance, the impact of the fatality can be explored, acknowledged and shared.
It is a process that sits alongside the often-adversarial legal system and can help both families and managers better come to terms with a death at work.
Our firm supports this ground-breaking research and provides assistance both financially and through the participation and advice of our experienced workplace injury legal team.
Uniting Care, Creative Ministries:
Restorative Justice and work-related death
Australian Financial Review:
Life after a death at work
Bethany Community Support Inc, Geelong: www.bethany.org.au
University of Melbourne Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/celrl
Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN): www.clan.org.au
Too Young to Work: A project of the Child Labour Schools Company Ltd – Indian Child Labour Overseas Fund: www.tytw.org.au
Inner Melbourne Community Legal: www.imcl.org.au
If you'd like to make an enquiry about a legal matter, talk about a career at RCT, or perhaps have a suggestion on how we can improve our service or even our website, we'd like to hear from you.
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