This page is for legal aid organisations, community legal centres, unions, lawyers and advocacy groups. We are always happy to discuss any feedback, questions, partnership opportunities or ideas for improving access to justice. Please contact us here.
How does Bumpd support the work of legal aid and community legal centres?
Legal aid and community legal centres triage and provide initial legal information and advice to thousands of clients every year. However, resourcing constraints limit the support that can be offered to clients wishing to further pursue their matter.
Bumpd is a free online self-help tool that both provides legal information and empowers people to run their own cases, meaning less burden, follow up and pressure on legal aid and community legal centres.
- have a client who has lost their job due to pregnancy or parenting-related discrimination; and
- have triaged the client and determined:
- they may be eligible to make an unfair dismissal claim; and
- they have the capability to self-help and run their own case,
you can tell the client that Bumpd is a free online tool that provides legal information and can help prepare an unfair dismissal claim, if they choose to pursue that claim.
We would be very happy to draft or review any tailored materials to explain Bumpd to your clients.
While we have started to build formal referral pathways with legal aid and the community legal sector, we appreciate that organisations first need to satisfy themselves of the quality and utility of Bumpd before recommending it to clients. In the meantime, we would be happy for you to describe any referral to Bumpd as a pilot (or similar), and allow your clients to decide for themselves whether they want to use Bumpd.
How does Bumpd fit in with the work of lawyers?
Bumpd does not, and does not intend to, replace lawyers. Instead, Bumpd principally aims to help people who never would have engaged a lawyer, either because they cannot afford to (and do not meet means-testing criteria for pro bono support) or because the claim is not of sufficient monetary value to justify the effort and cost.
Lawyers are however welcome to direct their clients to Bumpd to generate a first draft unfair dismissal application for the lawyer to then review. This would save valuable time for lawyers both in terms of collecting basic information from their clients and inputting basic details into the unfair dismissal application. After the lawyer has finalised the draft, the lawyer can direct their client to send the application back to Bumpd for submission to the Fair Work Commission, saving the lawyer the administrative burden of that process.
Why unfair dismissal?
There are potentially several causes of action open to somebody who has lost their job due to pregnancy or parenting-related discrimination.
We decided to focus Bumpd’s initial offering on unfair dismissal because:
- binding decisions can be made by the Fair Work Commission, as opposed to needing to go to the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court. Our research indicates that any requirement to go to court strongly dissuades our target users from pursuing their case;
- the Fair Work Commission is designed for self-represented litigants;
- it is a no-cost jurisdiction;
- it is a comparatively straightforward and well-trodden process; and
- it is a federal jurisdiction, which allows us to service more people as opposed to under state-based equal opportunity and/or anti-discrimination legislation.
There are some drawbacks with an unfair dismissal pathway such as the cap on damages and various jurisdictional objections that can be raised by employers. Despite this, we thought that unfair dismissal was still the best starting point for our target users for the reasons above. We hope to add more causes of action in the future, and will be guided by feedback from our users and the broader sector.
As mentioned above, Bumpd is not designed to replace lawyers. People who find themselves in this situation and without legal representation can read the legal information on our website to make an informed assessment of the benefits and disadvantages of the unfair dismissal route. In practice, this will often be a choice between doing nothing or using a free tool that provides them with a reasonable chance of obtaining a decent outcome.
Do you offer support to people after their claim has been submitted?
We do not currently offer support to people after their claim has been submitted to the Fair Work Commission, but we are actively considering how this could be done efficiently at scale. We are always happy to chat if you have ideas.
How does Bumpd work exactly?
The claim-generation aspect of Bumpd uses decision-tree based automation technology. This is the same technology used by many legal professionals around Australia to produce pre-populated legal documents based on the relevant precedent. There is no machine learning technology involved.
Users are presented with questions and asked to click on the answer that best matches their situation. The answer selected by the user drives any or all of the following:
- The questions they will be subsequently asked.
- The possible answers they will be asked to choose from in response to questions they will be subsequently asked.
- Variables in the output document (i.e. the draft unfair dismissal application).
Users will have the opportunity to review and manually edit (in MS Word, Google Docs etc) the draft unfair dismissal application before it is submitted to the Fair Work Commission. In other words, Bumpd presents the user with a complete draft containing suggested language based on the user’s responses to questions, which the user can then change and refine.
We are transparent about our decision tree. If you would like to receive a copy of the current version, please contact us. It contains all the possible permutations covered by Bumpd.
Also note that during the current beta testing phase, a qualified lawyer will be reviewing the unfair dismissal application both before it is provided to the user as a draft, and after it has been edited by the user prior to being submitted to the Fair Work Commission. This method will ensure that (1) quality is maintained for our users; and (2) we can quickly learn and adjust according to actual user behavior and needs, including testing the effectiveness of our design choices. This approach has been discussed with the Victorian Legal Services Board.
Can I test drive Bumpd?
Yes! There are no account creation or other barriers to test driving Bumpd. Simply start an application through our website and have a play around. You can save your progress as you go along.
Should you wish to complete the questionnaire and submit your responses to us so that you can receive and review a draft unfair dismissal application, please contact us so we know it is a test and can allocate our resources accordingly.
What sort of specific scenarios are covered by Bumpd?
The scenarios covered by Bumpd are informed by research and experience. Judgment was necessarily involved in terms of the level of generality versus specificity deployed within the decision tree.
Examples of some scenarios covered by Bumpd are set out below. Note the draft unfair dismissal applications generated by Bumpd are far more detailed than the below summaries. Also note users are clearly told not to rely solely on the automation, and that they need to carefully review the draft unfair dismissal application and make necessary changes.
- Employee made redundant during parental leave, in circumstances that were not a genuine redundancy:
- The person hired to do the job while the employee was on parental leave has continued in the same role.
- The employee was never offered another job within the business, even though there were jobs available that they could have performed.
- Impact on the employee includes significant financial hardship and no longer being able to afford childcare for their new child, making it even more difficult to find a new job.
- Employee seeks compensation.
- Employee forced to resign while pregnant due to:
- Workload/hours being reduced so much that they effectively had no work.
- Repeatedly being subjected to verbal bullying and discrimination that made it impossible to continue working.
- Impact on the employee includes losing parental leave benefits and experiencing mental health issues.
- Seeking compensation and an apology.
- Employee fired for unsatisfactory performance after returning to work from parental leave.
- The employee had consistently received good feedback in the past, and performance issues only started being raised after returning from parental leave.
- The employee also overheard their manager saying the employee couldn’t be properly committed to the job with a new child.
- No opportunity was given to respond and argue their case before the employer made the decision to dismiss the employee for unsatisfactory performance.
- No support person was permitted at the discussions relating to the dismissal.
- Impact on the employee includes stress which has impacted on their ability to properly care for their new child, and being worried the job loss will affect career progression.
- Seeking compensation, an apology and a change to the reason for dismissal to a resignation.
As mentioned above, we would be happy to provide you with the current version of the decision tree setting out all the scenarios and the level of detail covered by Bumpd, or otherwise set up a discussion to answer any questions you may have.