Resources: Blog

Conversations in Workplace Relations – February 2018


Recruitment strategies

Welcome to our February edition of Conversations.

Welcome to our February edition of Conversations.

This month we look at misleading conduct – I can show you the World and discrimination –The balancing act when it comes to recruitment.

As the traditional ‘workplace’ model continues to evolve – think, remote and work from home employees – employers need to ensure all employment relationships are properly documented and understood as we discuss in Lawful but not Reasonable.

In I’m free to drive when I want, any old time the ongoing debate about the status of uber drivers continues to rage.

Labour hire businesses need to brace themselves for ever increasing regulation in New Rules aimed at ending rogue businesses.

Successfully implementing a Drug and Alcohol policy can be a challenge, in No Vacancy the FWC upheld an employer’s use of its policy to dismiss an employee.

The importance of regular and vigorous safety audits is discussed in Puddle Trouble.

Finally this month, in In the Box to the Left we remind employers about the risks of brand & reputation damage that can arise by not collecting company property and clothing from exiting employees.


Recruitment strategies

I can show you the world – Misleading and deceptive conduct in recruitment

The new year is often an exciting time for a business when it comes to recruitment. During this process, employers need to ensure they do not expose themselves to litigation following representations made by them, or made on their behalf, that are misleading and deceptive and later relied upon by prospective employees in the recruitment process. Two recent cases in the Federal Circuit Court look at the ramifications of such situations.


The balancing act: Positive discrimination in the workplace

Employers seeking to address issues of equality and justice within their own companies should be aware of that most Federal and State anti-discrimination laws in Australia provide exemptions for those who implement “special measures” in the recruitment process to rectify previous disadvantage to a particular group and promote substantive equality.


Work arrangements

Lawful but not reasonable: Employer unreasonably ends Bryon Bay “work from home” arrangement

A recent decision from the Fair Work Commission highlights to employers what will be considered a “reasonable and lawful” direction to employees. The case is also a reminder to properly document individual working arrangements – especially if the arrangement is intended to be temporary or subject to certain conditions.


I’m free, to drive when I want, any old time: FWC finds Uber driver not employee

Uber has been at the centre of many debates about the gig economy and the characterisation of workers as either employees or independent contractors. We take a look at a recent decision of the Fair Work Commission in which it considered whether an Uber driver could be an employee for the purposes of the Fair Work Act 2009 and highlight why the distinction between the two types of workers is so important.


New rules: Australian States move toward licenses for labour hire operators

Under new licensing schemes, employers will be prohibited from obtaining labour hire services from labour hire operators who are unlicensed. We outline what is currently happening in each state.


Policies & Safety

No Vacancy: Employee’s drunken attempt to re-enter workplace warranted dismissal

An employer who relied on their zero-tolerance alcohol policy when dismissing an employee who tried to access the workplace out-of-hours, under the influence of alcohol, has successfully defended the dismissal before the Fair Work Commission.


Puddle trouble: $275,000 damages bill flows from shallow puddle injury

In a recent decision of the Victorian County Court, a university has been ordered to pay $275,000 in damages to a security control room operator who worked on the campus. This case reminds employers to consider how weather conditions or other environmental changes may impact on their premises or workplace and the importance of conducting regular risk and safety audits.


In the box to the left – The return of employer uniforms on termination of employment

Ending the employment relationship can sometimes be difficult and pursuing the return of employer property, like used uniform items – particularly those with company branding, can seem like a lot of effort for something minor. However, branded uniforms and clothing inappropriately worn/used post-employment can lead to brand and reputation damage. In this article we suggest steps employers can take to ensure that employee uniforms and clothing are returned at the end of the employment relationship.


If there is a particular topic you would like covered we would love to hear from you so please email us at


Sydney FC's W-league in the Grand Final

We are thrilled to see the Sydney FC W-league team in the Grand Final against
Melbourne City this weekend and wish them all the best for the big day!


Coming up

Our Managing Workplace Behaviour webinar is fast approaching. There is now only a limited number of spaces left for the session on 21 February at 10 am.

We look forward to seeing you there!



Need a laugh...

Q: What do you call two birds in love?
A: Tweethearts!

Q: What did one oar say to the other?
A: "Can I interest you in a little row-mance?"


Should you require any further information or assistance, please contact our Director Shane Koelmeyer on (02) 9256 7500 or via email on

Information provided in this update is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Workplace Law does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this update, or from links on this website to any external website. Where applicable, liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.


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FWC upholds objection to constructive dismissal claim

Construction zone

In order to access the unfair dismissal jurisdiction, an employee must be “dismissed” from their employment by the employer. One of the instances in which an employee may be “dismissed” from their employment is if they were forced to resign because of the employer’s conduct or course of conduct.


Court penalises accountant for involvement in employer’s failure to keep employee records

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The Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth) impose a number of obligations on employers with respect to the making and keeping of employee records and pay slips.


The onus and presumption in adverse action matters

It’s on you

Under the general protections provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), it is unlawful for a person to take adverse action against another person for a proscribed reason. One of the features of the general protections provisions under the FW Act is the presumption that adverse action was taken for a proscribed reason unless it is proven that the adverse action was not taken for that reason.


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