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Blogs

Workplace Law's Blogs featuring amendments to the Fair Work Act and more.

‘Scuse you

Commission confirms inappropriate touching constituted sexual harassment warranting summary dismissal

Sexual harassment in the workplace has been the subject of significant reform over the past few years, with an even greater onus on employers now to take proactive measures to minimise or eliminate the risk of sexual harassment in connection with work.

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Speak now

Employers delay sinks bid for injunctive relief

When seeking to enforce a restraint, it is important that employers seek to enforce the restraint in a timely manner to prevent future or an ongoing breach. Any delay will be considered by the courts when assessing whether it is reasonable to enforce the restraint.

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Splitting hairs

Two-year post-employment restraint on hairdresser found to be unreasonable

When it comes to drafting post-employment restraints in employment contracts, it is important for employers to consider the purpose of the restraint and whether or not the restraint reasonably serves that purpose.

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Payphone

Federal Court dismisses appeal against mobile phone right of entry refusal

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) sets out the union right of entry to entitlements and requirements. The right of entry provisions are intended to draw a balance between the right of organisations to represent their members and the right of employers and occupiers to operate without undue inconvenience.

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Where does it end?

Full Federal Court rejects employers bid to quash decision which found employees were not genuinely redundant

Section 389(2) of Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides that a dismissal will not be a case of “genuine redundancy” if it “would have been reasonable in all of the circumstances” for the employee to be redeployed within the employer’s enterprise or the enterprise of an associated entity.

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I knew you were trouble

Bullying prosecution leads to conviction and fine for company and its director

Under work health and safety legislation, persons conducting a business or undertaking have duties to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable the health and safety of workers in the workplace. It is also accepted that workplace bullying is a risk to health and safety of workers which needs to be managed as any other health and safety risk.

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Victoria records first workplace manslaughter conviction

Various Australian jurisdictions have been slowly introducing an offence of industrial manslaughter, dealing with workplace fatalities that arise as a result of negligent conduct by a person conducting a business or undertaking or its officers.

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Down in flames

Court sends clear message to employers on having adequate systems, processes and checks in place to avoid underpayments

The Federal Court of Australia has handed down a record $10.34 million in penalties against two related entities for various contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) resulting in substantial underpayments.

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Closing time

FWO secures penalties against bar operator and external accounting firm

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) requires employers to keep certain employee records for a period of 7 years. These records are necessary to ensure that employees have been paid their minimum entitlements should an underpayment claim be made.

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Fact or fiction

Employer found liable for workers compensation despite worker’s unreasonable perceptions

A recent decision of the New South Wales Personal Injury Commission serves as a reminder of the differing standards of proof when determining liability for claims of bullying and/or harassment under workers compensation laws and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

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The worst has now passed

Commission finds employee’s flexible working request to work entirely from home was not reasonable

One of the many changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) introduced this year include the Fair Work Commission’s new powers to deal with disputes relating to requests for flexible working arrangements.

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Barking up a broad tree

Remote work environment risks and considerations

Work from home arrangements have become the “new normal” across many workplaces since the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Supercharged

Superannuation obligations for independent contractors

A recent decision of the Federal Court of Australia – Full Court has provided some clarity to employers in relation to when the obligation to pay superannuation will or will not arise.

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Spooky season

Are you affected by the zombie agreement deadline?

As part of the introduction of the Fair Work system for Australia’s national workplace relations system ushered in by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009 (Cth) provided for the continued existence and application of industrial instruments created under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth) or before the FW Act commenced.

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It’s a tent-s situation

Employer unlawfully discriminated against employee with breastfeeding responsibilities

There are a number of personal attributes that are protected by Australia’s federal and state anti-discrimination laws, such as a person’s race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibilities, breastfeeding, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

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Template lesson

Failure to warn employee renders dismissal unfair

Many businesses, and in particular small businesses employers subscribe to human resources information systems which offer access to template letters and policies to provide a ready-made solution or to manage human resources administration.

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Don’t you forget about me

Disability discrimination and the positive duty to make reasonable adjustments

Disability discrimination legislation protects persons from being treated less favourably as the result of their disability.

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Santa's coming!

Closure countdown – annual leave and shutdown rule changes

With Christmas less than 90 days away, employers should be turning their mind to planning and confirming their Christmas/New Year shutdown arrangements.

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Pay-per-cook

FWC rules on application for an equal remuneration order

In December 2022, a number of significant changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) came into effect as a result of the Fair Work Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022.

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Suspicious Minds

Court rules on Union’s right to consult with workers in private

There are only limited circumstances in which a union or union representative are entitled to enter the workplace of an employer. One such circumstance is permitted by work health and safety (WHS) legislation – and it permits a WHS entry permit holder to enter a workplace for the purpose of inquiring into a suspected contravention of WHS legislation that relates to, or affects, a relevant worker.

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If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all

Enforceability of non-disparagement clauses in deeds

A question that arises quite often amongst our clients is – do non-disparagement clauses have any practical effect? Or are they even enforceable? The answer is yes, when drafted correctly.

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You just got slapped

Employer went “above and beyond” to accommodate employee’s flexible work arrangement

One of the effects of the amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) which came into effect on 6 June 2023 is that employers now have greater obligations when responding to requests for flexible working arrangements made under s 65 of the FW Act.

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Don’t pre-judge me

injury and the reasonable management action defence

In cases of workers compensation involving psychological injury, employers may rely on the “reasonable management action” defence to dispute liability for injury.

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Late withdrawal

Employer’s withdrawal of role constituted dismissal from employment

For most employers, casual employment is favoured because of the flexibility it provides – employees are employed as required and have no guarantee of ongoing employment. This flexibility however does not mean that casual employees are not protected from adverse action.

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False alarm

Employee’s exaggerated complaints created psychosocial risk

Employers have work health and safety obligations to eliminate or minimise psychosocial risks in the workplace so far as is reasonably practicable. These risks arise from psychosocial hazards including conflict or poor workplace relationships.

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A cyclone of drama

Commission rejects application for stop bullying orders

Differences in opinion, dysfunctional relationships and disagreements between employees may occur from time to time in the workplace. Generally, these instances of workplace conflict do not amount to bullying behaviour, which is defined as repeated, unreasonable behaviour causing a risk to health and safety.

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Out of the ordinary

Dispute about “ordinary time earnings” settled by Full Federal Court

In a timely reminder about the importance of carefully drafting enterprise agreements, the Federal Court of Australia – Full Court has recently determined a dispute about the definition of “ordinary time earnings” in a particular enterprise agreement. In doing so, the Full Court confirmed that departures from the plain text of an enterprise agreement will not be justified (unless there is an absurdity or a very seriously anomalous result).

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Boiling point

Employee unfairly dismissed for requesting family and domestic violence leave

All employees (including part-time and casual employees) will soon have the entitlement to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave per year under the National Employment Standards, replacing the existing entitlement to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave.

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Commission finds swearing in workplace constituted sexual harassment and warranted summary dismissal

With the new Respect@Work amendments now in place, employers should be mindful of a recent decision handed down by the Fair Work Commission where it upheld the dismissal of an employee on the basis that swearing at a colleague constituted sexual harassment.

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Ausgrid to pay $600,000 for fatal electricity incident which occurred 9 weeks after similar incident

The NSW District Court has heard how following an incident involving the low voltage pole changeovers which caused significant injuries to a worker, a similar incident occurred about nine weeks later, this time causing a fatality.

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The limit does not exist!

Age discrimination and the “retirement age”

It is unlawful in Australia to discriminate against an individual because of their age. Employers are specifically prohibited from discriminating on the basis of age under Federal and State anti-discrimination laws, and a person’s age is also a protected attribute under the general protections provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

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Toolbox essentials

Employee dismissed for theft of tools unfairly dismissed

The Fair Work Commission has reminded employers about the duty to afford procedural fairness to employees prior to dismissal.

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Pride & Prejudice

FWC warns that offers of redeployment should not be based on assumptions

An employee’s dismissal will not be a case of genuine redundancy if it would have been reasonable in the circumstances for the employee to be redeployed within the employer’s enterprise or one of its associated entities.

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The Matrix is a system, Neo

Redundancies and the skills matrix

When implementing redundancies, it is critical that the process for selecting employees for redundancy is a transparent and objective one. A skills matrix can assist employers in this regard by creating clear and objective criteria against which employees are to be assessed.

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Taking it personally

HR Manager fined $7,600 for accessorial liability in adverse action against employee

Last year, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia found a HR Manager to be accessorily liable for his involvement in an employer’s unlawful adverse action against an employee after she proposed to exercise a workplace right, being her ability to initiate proceedings under a workplace law.

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Leading the charge

Disclosure of criminal charges during employment

We often speak about the importance of honesty and candour in an employment relationship, particularly when it comes to matters that may be personal to an employee but which may also affect their ability to perform their role, such as their health, family or living status or their criminal record.

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How professional

Full Bench varies Professional Employees Award

In our previous blog “Time to be professional” we reported on the variations to Professional Employees Award 2020 (the Award) proposed by the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission. The Full Bench has now confirmed is decision to vary the Award.

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Fireside chat gone wrong

FWC finds that employee was given no choice but to resign

It is not unusual for employers to want to have a frank discussion with an employee when the relationship is not working out, seeking to agree to an exit strategy. This is often referred to as a “fire side chat”. However, these discussions must be carefully considered and planned because if the employee is not receptive, the employee can claim that the discussion created a situation forcing them to resign.

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The dangers of failing to keep WHS systems up to date

In a recent decision involving a forklift fatality, the District Court of New South Wales has cautioned growing businesses of the need to ensure that their WHS systems are adequate for the size of the business and the type of work being performed.

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Misery loves company

Stop-bullying orders issued against non-workers

Under the anti-bullying jurisdiction of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the Fair Work Commission has the broad power to make an order (other than monetary payment) that it considers appropriate to prevent a worker from being bullied at work.

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Demotions and the unfair dismissal provisions of the Fair Work Act

When considering changes to an employee’s employment, employers need to be mindful that significant reductions in remuneration or duties may constitute a “dismissal” under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

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Go your own way

Heat of the moment resignation and constructive dismissal

For an employee to bring a valid unfair dismissal claim or a general protections claim involving dismissal, it should be obvious that they must have been dismissed by their employer.

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Tell me in layman’s terms

The importance of making policies accessible and easy to understand

Drafting workplace policies and procedures can be a daunting exercise – it requires a careful balance of including (or omitting) information that is necessary from a legal standpoint, whilst still remaining easy to understand and follow for employees.

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Full disclosure

Minimising the risk of underpayment claims

One of the key issues that has dominated discussion in the workplace relations area in recent years is the unlawful underpayment of employees (particularly of vulnerable workers) and the penalties that should be imposed on non-compliant employers.

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The empire strikes back

What can employers do when employees pre-emptively commence proceedings

Managing disgruntled employees can often be a difficult and drawn out process. It may often also be difficult to see the path forward when an employee who is subject to management action seeks retaliation by lodging grievances or commencing proceedings against their employer.

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The “substantial connection” test

NSW Court of Appeal redefines the approach to long service leave in NSW

In NSW, employees are entitled to long service leave after 10 years of continuous service with their employer. A recent decision of the NSW Court of Appeal has redefined the entitlement to long service leave in circumstances where part of their service has been completed outside of NSW.

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Time to be professional

Full Bench makes changes to the Professional Employees Award

The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has determined that it is appropriate to vary the Professional Employees Award 2020 to better deal with the hours of work and overtime as well as clarify the coverage for employees.

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The positive duty

Employer penalised for inadequate response to workplace sexual harassment

A recent decision of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which has resulted in an employer being required to pay an employee over $53,000 in compensation, has highlighted the need for employers to inform themselves of their obligations in relation to eliminating workplace sexual harassment, victimisation and sex discrimination.

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Don’t you know that you’re toxic?

The consequences of inappropriate workplace conduct and behaviour

In the second blog of our two-part series on inappropriate conduct and behaviour, we continue our look at the consequences of failing to address poor conduct and behaviour in the workplace.

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Country and Western

Northern Territory Station Farm Manager validly dismissed for fighting with employee and using lewd language

In the first of a two-part blog series, we look at inappropriate conduct and behaviour in the workplace and the importance of dealing with problematic workplace behaviour.

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Chronic, as charged

Victoria Police had reasonable business grounds to refuse flexible work arrangement

Employers may only refuse an employee’s request for flexible work arrangements if they have “reasonable business grounds” to do so.

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Pecuniary penalties no longer a matter of degrees

Underpaying employer ordered to pay $475,200 in penalties

The Federal Court of Australia has issued one of its first penalty decisions since the High Court of Australia’s decision earlier this year of Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Pattinson [2022] HCA 13.

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Medical conditions, honesty and the employment relationship

Employee’s failure to disclose medical condition warranted dismissal

In a recent unfair dismissal decision, the Fair Work Commission has issued a reminder about the importance of honesty and candour in an employment relationship – particularly when it comes to determining an employee’s fitness for work.

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Sticks and stones

Employer fined over $75,000 for adverse action taken against employee

Earlier this year the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia in Ruttley v Willis Brothers Installation (Qld) Pty Ltd [2022] FedCFamC2G 430 found that an employer breached the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) by taking adverse action against an employee who had been diagnosed with silicosis.

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To move heaven and earth

Employer’s “extraordinary lengths” to accommodate injured worker renders dismissal fair

If an employee is unable to meet the inherent requirements of their role due to illness or injury, it may be lawful for an employer to terminate their employment on the grounds of incapacity.

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The force is not strong with this one

FWC finds employee resignation was not a constructive dismissal

When conducting a disciplinary process, it is crucial to ensure that a final decision on disciplinary action is not made until the employee is given a proper opportunity to respond to any allegations made against them.

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High stakes

Meat processer ordered to pay union $93,000 in penalties

This blog is a timely reminder of the importance of correctly managing overtime hours and payments to avoid serious financial penalties.

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Planning end of year work celebrations

Prevention is better than a cure

As the end of another year approaches, employers are understandingly planning a well-earned opportunity for employees to celebrate the year that has been.

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Lonely no more

What does the end of COVID-19 isolation periods mean for workplaces?

During the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, many Government issued public health orders mandated that persons who had contracted and / or were exposed to COVID-19 were to self-isolate for a period of time.

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Captain's challenge unsuccessful

Full Bench rules on maximum-term contracts

In a recent decision of the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission, a former NRL referee has had his general protections application dismissed on the basis that his maximum-term employment with the NRL was not terminated at the initiative of the NRL.

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Selection deception

Court finds employer took unlawful adverse action against redundant employee

As part of any redundancy process requiring a selection of employees, it is critical that employers consider only matters that are objectively related to an employee in their role and not any of the prohibited reasons under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

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No guarantee

Federal Court finds annual salary not enough to constitute a guarantee of annual earnings

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) allows employers to provide high income employees with a “guarantee of annual earnings”. Whether an employee is provided with and accepts a guarantee of annual earnings has a significant impact on whether the terms of a modern award will apply to them.

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Follow the leader

Commission finds employer failed to obtain “equal alternative work” for redundant employee

In the event that an employee’s position is made redundant, employers have an obligation to consider opportunities for redeployment. Where an employer has secured “other acceptable employment” for an employee, they may be able to apply to the Fair Work Commission to reduce the amount of redundancy pay owed if the employee refuses to accept redeployment.

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Your order has been delivered

Full Bench quashes finding that food delivery driver was an employee following High Court decisions

The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (the Full Bench) has handed down one of the first decisions on the question of whether a food delivery driver was an independent contractor or an employee following the recent High Court decisions of CFMMEU v Personnel Contracting Pty Ltd [2022] HCA 1 and ZG Operations Australia Pty Ltd v Jamsek [2022] HCA 2.

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Ground zero

Existence of zero-tolerance policy not enough to warrant dismissal

It is not uncommon for employers to state that they have a “zero-tolerance” policy about breaches of certain workplace policies and procedures – particularly when it comes to compliance with work health and safety obligations.

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There’s nothing holdin’ me back

Post-employment restraint found go beyond what is enforceable

It is not common for employment contracts to contain restraint of trade clauses which seek to prevent departing employees from joining competitors or using or disclosing their former employer’s confidential information.

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Talk before the walk

Commission finds employee was dismissed despite “heat of the moment” resignation

One of the key elements of a procedurally fair disciplinary process is for the employee in question to be notified of the seriousness of the process (including the potential disciplinary penalties) and to be provided with an opportunity to respond to any allegations before a decision as to disciplinary action has been made.

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No points for the assist

Application to vary redundancy pay dismissed

The entitlement to redundancy pay under the National Employment Standards of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) is one which is intended to minimise the adverse impact of a redundancy on affected employees, such as loss of job security and the potential difficulties associated with obtaining new employment in the open market.

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Stone cold

Court finds that adverse action was taken against employee due to his silica disease diagnosis

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) prohibits employers from dismissing an employee from their employment because they have exercised a workplace right or because of a discriminatory reason, such as physical or mental disability.

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A force not to be reckoned with

Requesting health information from employees

A recent decision of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission has highlighted one of the pertinent issues currently being faced by employers – that is, to what extent an employer is entitled to require or request an employee provide them with personal medical information.

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Great expectations

No reasonable expectation of regular and systematic employment for casual employee

An employee will have access to the unfair dismissal jurisdiction if they have completed a minimum employment period of six months (or 12 months for small business employers). Generally, service as a casual employee will not count towards the period of service needed to satisfy the minimum employment period unless they were a regular casual, and they had a reasonable expectation of continuing employment on a regular and systematic basis.

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No vacancy

Making offers of casual conversion

Division 4A of Part 2-2 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), which came into operation on 27 March 2021, imposes an obligation on employers of casual employees to make offers of conversion to permanent employment in certain circumstances.

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Supreme failure

Court finds HR manager accessorily liable for adverse action claim

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) contains provisions which make it possible for individuals to be found accessorily liable for their involvement in a contravention of a workplace law. In particular, section 550 of the FW Act provides that a person “involved in” a contravention will be taken to have contravened that provision themselves.

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No show cause

Employer’s lack of procedural fairness rendered the dismissal of his employee harsh

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), whether an employee’s dismissal was procedurally fair is a key factor in determining whether the dismissal was unfair. Procedural fairness requires an employee be given an opportunity to respond to or explain an allegation put to them by their employer. The employer must consider that response or explanation before deciding the disciplinary penalty – eg: a warning, or termination of employment.

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Organic panic

Employer dismisses long standing employee for breaching drug policy

Although circumstances may be unique to each case, generally, workplace policies will provide employers with grounds for termination when a significant breach has occurred.

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The HomeWork Debate

Managing returns to the workplace in the post-COVID-19 environment

In the post COVID-19 environment, one of the most common issues faced by employers is facilitating the return of employees to the office or normal workplace. In particular, many employers have been required to deal with increased reluctance by employees to return to the workplace following lengthy periods of working from home.

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The deregistered accessory

Court confirms small claim proceedings extends to matters involving accessorial liability

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) is able to determine certain underpayment disputes as “small claims proceedings”.

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Bad publicity

PCBU ordered to publicise work health and safety conviction

When setting a penalty for breaches of work health and safety obligations, the Courts will look at the need for specific deterrence against the offender and also the need for general deterrence for employers and the particular industry.

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Under examination

Employee dismissed for refusing a medical assessment, not for complaining about it

Medical examinations are often used by employers to assess the fitness and capacity of employees, particularly when the employee is returning to work after a non-work-related injury. Issues may arise when employees refuse to attend medical examinations.

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A bone to pick

Assessing the “reasonableness” of additional hours

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), employers are prohibited from requesting or requiring full-time employees to work more than 38 hours per week, unless those additional hours are reasonable.

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The tough conversation

An employer’s reminder to employee fails to count as a performance warning

There are often misconceptions about how many times an employee must be warned regarding their poor performance before they are able to be dismissed. Although there is no legislative requirement stipulating the number of warnings required, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides that an employee must be warned about their unsatisfactory performance before they are dismissed for that reason.

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Bullying tactics

Bullying allegations used as a tactic to direct attention away from an employee’s misconduct

It is not uncommon for employees to raise allegations against Employers in order to divert attention away from, or attempt to excuse their own misconduct.

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Sham slam

Commission applies test confirmed by High Court in distinguishing between employee and contractor

In a recent decision, the Fair Work Commission has applied the test recently confirmed by the High Court of Australia in CFMMEU v Personnel Contracting Pty Ltd [2022] HCA 1 and ZG Operations Australia Pty Ltd v Jamsek [2022] HCA 2, in distinguishing between employees and contractors.

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Down but not out

Full Bench looks at meaning of dismissed for the purposes of the unfair dismissal jurisdiction

The question of whether a demotion will constitute a dismissal under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) was considered by the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission NSW Trains v James [2022] FWCFB 55.

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Step back

Employer fails to disprove adverse action claim

A recent decision of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia has reaffirmed the standard of proof that is required to disprove allegations of unlawful adverse action under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

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Canteen Crasher

FWC warns against employer’s “concerning” performance management in stop-bullying application

The stop-bullying provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provide a mechanism for the Fair Work Commission to impose orders upon employers (as well as individual employees) which are aimed at stopping bullying behaviour in the workplace.

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Employer ordered to pay $150,000 in damages for sexual harassment by an employee

In a recent decision of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, an employer has been ordered to pay $150,000 in general damages to a former employee for failing to take reasonable precautions to prevent her from being sexually harassed in the workplace.

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Up, up and away

Commission finds employee’s conduct of upward bullying towards manager warranted disciplinary action

Workplace bullying occurs when a person (or a group of people) repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards another worker (or group of workers) and that behaviour creates a risk to the worker’s (or group of workers’) health and safety.

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Company car comes at cost

Company supplied vehicle pushed employee over the high-income threshold

Employees are often provided with benefits by their employer in addition to their normal salaries or wages. It is often when an unfair dismissal application is made that a dispute arises as to the value to be attributed to a benefit for the purposes of calculating whether an employee’s earnings are above the high-income threshold.

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Off the record

Criminal records and employment

While the internet has made the world seem smaller and more connected, the ability to have unlimited information at our fingertips carries a risk for employers that what is found on the internet will be used to unlawfully discriminate against people in their employment.

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Trains N’ Roses

Full Bench clarifies test for out of work conduct

In our last Conversations, we discussed two recent decisions of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) which looked at an employee’s conduct outside of work and whether or not that conduct could be sufficiently connected to their employment so as to constitute a valid reason for dismissal.

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Ignorance is not bliss

FWC decision emphasises the importance of updating contact details

Today, HR administration systems make it easier than ever for employees to update their personal contact details. However, when there is formal communication to be sent to employees, employers should also ensure that they have the most up to date details for their employees to avoid any dispute about when information was sent or communicated.

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An unwanted footprint

FWC highlights the importance of a social media policy to safeguard employers’ reputations

Employees have a duty to ensure that their out of hours conduct (including social media posts) is not contrary to the obligations they owe to their employer. Further employees should also ensure that out of hours conduct is not in breach of workplace policies or damaging to the reputation of their employer.

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Nothing good comes after Sundowner

Commission finds employee’s out-of-hours conduct at social gathering to be a valid reason for dismissal

The physical return-to-work happening at many workplaces will also see the return of work-related events in an effort to reacquaint employees after a string of lockdowns and stay at home orders.

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Guide the way

FWC provides guidance on privacy and right to bodily integrity considerations for mandatory COVID-19 requirements

There is no doubt that the introduction of mandatory vaccination policies and the collection of information about a person’s vaccination status has raised debates and concerns surrounding personal choice and privacy.

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Always make a statement

The Fair Work Information Statement and the Casual Employment Information Statement

When starting a new job, employees and HR are often inundated with administration and paperwork which must be prepared or completed. There are certain documents which must be provided to new employees and their importance should not be overlooked.

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Move in my direction

State public health mandates sink aged care employees’ unfair dismissal claims

Two decisions of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) have reinforced that a failure to comply with public health orders or directions which mandate vaccinations will be a valid reason for dismissal.

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Who wants to know?

Vaccination policies and privacy issues

A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has highlighted the privacy considerations for employers when implementing vaccination policies in the workplace, particularly in this COVID-19 environment.

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Unvaccinated and out of time

Commission declines to extend time for two unfair dismissal applications involving unvaccinated employees

In the unfair dismissal jurisdiction, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) imposes a strict 21-day time limit for employees to file unfair dismissal applications. The clock starts running from the date the dismissal takes effect.

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Mask up

Commission finds mask mandate to be a lawful and reasonable direction

Employees have a duty to comply with lawful and reasonable directions from their employer. In the current COVID-19 context, a key concern for employers is whether it is lawful and reasonable to issue directions related to safety matters arising from the pandemic.

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