Those who have been mistreated, abused or unfairly dismissed.
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The Gospel Workers Advocacy Group (GWAG) is a group of people who are defined by the gospel. In the gospel we encounter the Son of God, Jesus Christ who laid down his life for us and is now the resurrected Lord.

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Bullying Vol. 1

The biggest risk to conservative evangelical church movements today is not the hostility of a toxic external culture. A far bigger risk to the movement, if recent sobering conversations I have had are any indication, is the internal toxic culture. In short, evangelical church movements have a massive problem with the workplace bully at the moment.
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Guarding the Flock

The last ten years have shown it is possible to be a Christian preacher with global influence, to have authored widely read books, to head an internationally recognized ministry, to be a household name among evangelicals, to be a leader of leaders—and yet to be a sexual predator or a narcissistic bully. Or perhaps both. The offences have been diabolical, the falls precipitous, the harm incalculable.
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We live in a fallen world and unfortunately the mistreatment of church workers is currently a widespread and serious problem among churches and Christian organisations.

When church workers are mistreated, in the short term it results in reputational loss for churches, and in the long-term it damages those church workers, their churches and gospel proclamation. In the worst cases fellow brothers and sisters can abandon the faith.

So, our purpose as the GWAG is to address this problem and create a different future for Gospel Workers that will be transformative for all the people of God.

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Katy's Story

Theoretically I met with my boss weekly. But he’d often not turn up at the arranged time. When I asked him to email or text me if he wasn’t coming, he responded that I was being unrealistic and his preferred method of communication was face to face.
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George's Story

"I cannot tell you why I was dismissed five years ago from my church employment."
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Alan's Story

"it didn't matter that he had promised that I could stay in the parish, because (I quote) “I'm the rector and I can do what I want.”
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Sam's Story

"I couldn’t understand why the person who was to oversee and mentor me would be so callous."
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Are Assistant Ministers employees?


GWAG’s legal advice is that Assistant Ministers are legally recognised as employees and as such have the benefit of access to workplace rights under the Fair Work Act 2009. The legal test to determine if a person is an employee rather than an independent contractor focuses on the notion of control - Stevens v Brodribb (1986) 160 CLR 16. As Assistant Ministers are subject to the direct control of the Senior Minister/Pastor, they would be classified as an employee. To see our legal advice on this matter, click here.

Can Assistant Ministers take an action for unfair dismissal?


Yes, as Assistant Ministers are classified as employees they can pursue an action for unfair dismissal through the Fair Work Commission. However, Assistant Ministers only have 21 days from the date of dismissal to pursue their claim. The Fair Work Commission is very strict in requiring all actions to be commenced within 21 days.

Is it legal to dismiss an Assistant Minister without providing reasons?


No, it is illegal to dismiss any employee without providing reasons for their dismissal. Furthermore, the grounds for the summary dismissal of an employee are very limited.

What are the grounds for summary dismissal?


The grounds for summary dismissals are quite limited - for example, theft or fraud, damage to the employer’s property, serious breaches of WHS laws, discrimination or harassment of another employee or refusal to carryout a lawful and reasonable direction.

Can an Assistant Minister be dismissed due to a personality clash with the Senior Minister/Pastor?


No, it is illegal to dismiss any employee on the basis of an alleged personality clash. Prior to dismissing any employee from their position, the employer must clearly spell out the areas where the employee is failing to perform their duties and give the employee a reasonable period of time to improve their performance. This process is described as establishing a performance management plan.

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