Shane Koelmeyer's Blog (181)

All Eyes on Me: Workplace surveillance

Technology is often used to make the performance of our daily or work tasks easier – however it has become increasingly sophisticated and can now be used to measure and monitor our every move and task.

Recently, financial institution Barclays introduced a new tracking devices system called “OccupEye” underneath employee workstations in the UK. The…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 31, 2017 at 17:32 — No Comments

To join or not to join: Employee found to have bullied co-worker to join union not unfairly dismissed

Bullying complaints can often be difficult to manage and investigate, particularly when they involve allegations about the exercise of a workplace right to join or not join a union.

In King v The Trustee for Bartlett Family Trust T/A Concept Wire Industries [2017] FWC 3867, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) considered an unfair dismissal…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 31, 2017 at 17:04 — No Comments

“All spaghetti and no meatballs”: FWO seeks penalties against a restaurant that deliberately disregarded advice and underpaid employees

It is no secret that the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has been cracking down on employers breaching their employment obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the FW Act) and exploiting vulnerable workers in order to gain financial and competitive advantage.

Indeed, the Federal Government is very close to passing a Bill…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 31, 2017 at 16:51 — No Comments

I’ll get my people to call your people: Employee awarded compensation after employer sidesteps representative

Allegations of workplace bullying can present some of the most demanding circumstances that an employer will face in the course of the employment relationship. There is the initial response to consider, an investigation, the possibility of counter allegations and, of course, the potential involvement of lawyers and unions.

The Fair Work Commission…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 31, 2017 at 16:45 — No Comments

“WCI: NSW – Workplace Conduct Investigation”

Warning for employers relying on investigation reports in a termination   

What happens when the relationship of trust necessary between an employer and an employee breaks down? As the employer, who do you trust when you are trying to ensure honesty in the workplace?…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 31, 2017 at 16:38 — No Comments

The one that got away: Correctional services officer reinstated following inmate escape

In a recent decision of the NSW Industrial Relations Commissions (NSW IRC), a senior corrective services officer (the Employee) was reinstated following his dismissal for involvement in an incident which lead to the escape of a maximum security inmate (Collins v Industrial Relations Secretary on behalf of the Department of Justice (Corrective Services NSW) [2017] NSWIRComm 1051).…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 30, 2017 at 17:48 — No Comments

A diamond (miner) in the rough – Mining employee validly dismissed for incident management breaches

It’s been said many times before, but we simply can’t understate the importance of employers enforcing health and safety policies and procedures in the workplace, including incident management procedures. These policies and procedures can save lives and limbs and allow employers to investigate incidents to prevent future occurrences. 

The…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 22, 2017 at 15:11 — No Comments

“Oh Behave! : What is a workplace Code of Conduct?”

At Workplace Law, we work with our clients to help them establish a set of workplace values and a Code of Conduct to set the standards expected from all employees.

Google’s much-publicised decision to dismiss an employee in America who wrote an internal memo to all staff criticising the tech company’s diversity policies has highlighted the necessity…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 22, 2017 at 14:56 — No Comments

Doctor, Doctor: Full Bench rejects appeal from employee who altered medical certificate

Employers and human resources professionals may often be provided with medical certificates which they are not quite sure about, prompting them to look at the certificate a bit more closely.

In Bluzer v Monash University [2017] FWCFB 4032, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) considered an appeal against a decision to…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 22, 2017 at 14:51 — No Comments

Better safe than sorry – Best practice for dealing with poor performance issues

Here at Workplace Law, we regularly assist clients with unfair dismissal claims, which often involve disputes over performance management processes and meetings.

Performance issues can be some of the most difficult for employers to manage and when performance management results in disciplinary action, employers need to be on the front foot to protect…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 11, 2017 at 11:30 — No Comments

“Dear all...” – FWC finds employee’s heated mass email a valid reason for dismissal

Email, in one form or another, has been around for more than 40 years but employers and employees are still coming to grips with how to manage email etiquette in the workplace.

In a recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) (Mr Andrew Pearce v Viva Energy Refining Pty Ltd [2017] FWC 3817), an employee was validly dismissed for…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 10, 2017 at 16:22 — No Comments

To everything there is a season: Ski employee was not dismissed

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has dismissed an application for unfair dismissal in Bosley v Kosciuszko Thredbo Pty Ltd [2017] FWC 3763, upholding the jurisdictional objections of the employer.

Mr Bosley was employed as a fulltime seasonal employee in the ski patrol team and had worked in this capacity for the past 13 ski seasons. His…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 10, 2017 at 16:10 — No Comments

“Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s a …redundancy”: Managing workplace restructures

An inevitable fact of a growing business is that at some point it will undergo an organizational restructure. These will undoubtedly affect employees across all levels of the company. Employers should be ready to appropriately manage and communicate these changes to employees.

Changes to duties…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 31, 2017 at 11:30 — No Comments

This is how we do it: Using workplace laws to support HR’s position on staffing decisions

HR professionals inhabit a unique environment with a unique set of challenges  they are expected to balance compliance, business interests and employee interests all at once. The most difficult position a HR professional can find themself in is being asked to carry out a business decision by a superior that conflicts with their obligations to ensure compliance with workplace laws, including the protections…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 31, 2017 at 11:30 — No Comments

No shoes, no shirt and I still get service – the changing nature of appearance and dress code policies

Most workplaces have an appearance and dress code policy which commonly requires employees to wear a particular uniform or have a certain standard of appearance.

Increasingly, workplaces have dropped or relaxed dress code policies which previously required that professional business attire would be worn at all times in the office.…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 31, 2017 at 11:00 — No Comments

An induction on deductions from employees’ pay

Student accommodation provider UniLodge faced reports this month that it deducted a total amount of $74,336.00 for “rent” over the period October 2011 to April 2016 from the combined salary of two of its onsite caretakers.

The husband and wife caretakers claimed that they were paid a total of $85,784.40 gross over the same period, despite being…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 20, 2017 at 16:08 — No Comments

“O Captain! My Captain!” – Not a vindication, but dismissal was harsh: FWC says captain who failed employer’s alcohol test was unfairly dismissed

Setting policies and procedures for the effective management of drugs and alcohol in the workplace is important, particularly for safety critical industries.

The overarching goal of such policies and procedures is to ensure employees do not show up for work in an impaired state and place themselves, other employees or their employer’s business at…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 20, 2017 at 15:50 — No Comments

“Because I said so …” The causal link between adverse action and workplace rights

The general protections provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) aim to protect employees from adverse action (including dismissal) because of a proscribed reason. Proscribed reasons include the existence of a workplace right and the exercise (or failure to exercise) a workplace right.

By way of example, an employee has a…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 20, 2017 at 15:30 — No Comments

“You shall not pass!” Jurisdictional objections in unfair dismissal claims

When an employer receives notice from the Fair Work Commission (FWC) of an unfair dismissal claim, the first question they should ask is – does the FWC have jurisdiction to hear the matter? 

There are numerous circumstances in which the FWC may not have jurisdiction and/or in which an applicant may not be eligible to make a claim to the FWC.…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 14, 2017 at 14:55 — No Comments

Called out in the Commission: Employee ordered to pay employer’s legal costs

In a rare decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), an employee has been ordered to pay her former employer’s legal costs after it held that the employee’s application had no prospects of success, was without basis and was an abuse of process.

Costs under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 14, 2017 at 12:51 — No Comments

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