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Costly spelling mistakes


Oops I did it again!

It was reported in the news that an accounting firm was unsuccessful in its application to restrain its former partners from poaching and soliciting its clients after a spelling mistake in an email address meant critical correspondence was not received.

It was reported in the news that an accounting firm was unsuccessful in its application to restrain its former partners from poaching and soliciting its clients after a spelling mistake in an email address meant critical correspondence was not received.

The accounting firm’s (now former) solicitors sent an email to the law firm representing the former partners which was not received by the law firm because the email address of the recipient was spelt incorrectly.

What can employers learn from this costly mistake?

This is a good lesson for all professionals about the importance of paying attention to every detail when it comes to completing work tasks. For example, in the HR space, the utmost attention and care should be taken when drafting employment documents such as employment contracts and policies.

Whilst many employers have a “go to template” that is used for all new hires, it is important that the same mistakes are not repeated in all contracts. One mistake may prove costly for the business, for example, if an employee has not been paid the correct wage under an award because they are wrongly classified as grade 3 rather than grade 4. Also – restraint clauses may be completely useless if the geographical limitation is incorrect or period of restraint sought is omitted.

Every contract should be treated not just as a “copy paste” template but be tailored to the circumstances of the employment. As a general rule, before providing an employment contract to a candidate employers should check:

  • Whether the name of the candidate has been spelt correctly;
  • Whether the address for the candidate is correct;
  • Position title;
  • Start date;
  • End date (if a fixed or maximum term contract);
  • Remuneration / salary details – does the amount include superannuation, bonuses, and allowances etc that are applicable to the employee’s role?
  • Employment status of the employee (i.e. full time, part time or casual);
  • Hours of work; and
  • The correct award or enterprise agreement and the appropriate classification (if applicable).

Employers are also reminded that employment contracts are not the only place where oversights occur. Policy and procedure documents are also important to keep up to date to ensure their ongoing relevance to the business.


Information provided in this blog 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 blog, 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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