Shane Koelmeyer's Blog (136)

Missed the train: Employer fined 250k for failing to provide training to work experience student

You have spent time, money and resources to hire the best candidate for the job and you cannot wait for them to get into their role.  Before they start, your new worker needs to be trained, especially in workplace health and safety (WHS).

Employers need to ensure that all workers are trained and understand the WHS policies and procedures. For…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 6, 2017 at 16:51 — No Comments

Quality assurance: Why employees must be qualified for the tasks they perform

Employers should not underestimate the importance of investing in workplace health and safety, including training for employees as well as ensuring that new hires or those promoted are qualified to perform the tasks of their new role.



Case Study 1…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 6, 2017 at 16:00 — No Comments

Employment Law Essentials – What is “Procedural Fairness”?

Whether the termination of an employee’s employment was procedurally fair or unfair forms the basis of the unfair dismissal jurisdiction under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). Employers can often put themselves at risk of unfair dismissal claims when procedural fairness is not provided to employees during disciplinary action and / or the termination process.…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 6, 2017 at 15:30 — No Comments

Take it from the top: Charities under scrutiny in wake of class actions and FWO inquiry

It is quite common to be walking on a busy street or in a shopping centre and be approached by someone asking for a donation for a specific charity.  Have you ever wondered about how much these “fundraisers” are being paid?  Well, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has.

Since October 2016, the FWO has conducted investigations as part of its Inquiry…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 31, 2017 at 9:16 — No Comments

Employee phone home: Truck driver not unfairly dismissed for failing to adhere to mobile phone policy

Mobile phone use during work hours can cause an unwanted distraction. Other times, the use of mobile phones may be restricted due to safety reasons.

Similar to our blog…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 30, 2017 at 17:00 — No Comments

Distraction reaction: Site operator shares liability with negligent heavy machinery operator distracted by mobile phone call

A site operator has been ordered to share the damages bill with a negligent worker and subcontractor employer after the ACT Supreme Court found that the site operator’s safety rules and practices were deficient.

In 2012, Huon Contractors Pty Ltd (Huon) conducted work on a subdivision development in the ACT.  Huon had engaged numerous…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 29, 2017 at 15:30 — No Comments

Working hard for the money: FWO sends out warnings about payment and pay methods

As harvest season is fast approaching, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has reminded growers that they need to be familiar with their obligations under the Horticulture Award 2010 (Horticulture Award).  The reminder has been issued in response to claims that labour hire contractors are approaching growers and offering workers at very low rates of pay.…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 24, 2017 at 14:39 — No Comments

Two weeks’ notice: What are the requirements for notice of termination of employment?

The requirements around when notice of termination is required and how to provide that notice can be difficult for employers.  An employer’s obligations with respect to notice and notice periods are specified in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act)

Except in circumstances of serious misconduct, employers are required to provide notice…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 24, 2017 at 14:36 — No Comments

We Don’t Talk Anymore: The “Human” in HR – Part 3

Human resources management is experiencing a digital revolution as online platforms and data collection solutions flood the market.

If the make-up of a workforce can be understood and managed through data alone, will future HR departments be the domain of data analysts?

In…

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

Resolutions up and applications down: Unfair Dismissals Quarterly Report released

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has released its Unfair Dismissals Quarterly Report for the period October 2016 to December 2016 (the Report).  The Report revealed that there has been a decrease in the number of applications lodged with the FWC compared to the same period in previous years. 

Resolutions have also occurred more quickly,…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 15, 2017 at 14:50 — No Comments

In the heat of the meeting: Can a resignation given in a heated moment be accepted?

We know people can say or do things that we do not mean when we are under pressure, feeling stress or are angry.

In rare incidences (often in the context of disciplinary meetings), an employee may indicate that they wish to resign only to later try to withdraw their resignation or claim that they did not really resign. Can a resignation given “in…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 15, 2017 at 14:30 — No Comments

Have you got “the right stuff” when it comes to super?

Superannuation payments and calculations can be a tricky thing for employers, of all sizes, to get right. These challenges came to light last month when the Financial Sector Union of Australia (FSU) claimed that 7,000 part time staff did not receive their full super entitlements from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), with claims dating as far back as 2009.  The full extent of the potential underpayment is…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 8, 2017 at 12:55 — No Comments

FOMODA: Fear of Missing Out on Disciplinary Action

The Fair Work Commission (the Commission) has often held that a dismissal will be found to be harsh, unjust or unreasonable when one of the reasons for the termination of employment included an event which occurred earlier and which was not addressed at the time. This is encapsulated in the concept of “use it or lose it”.

Where employee…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 8, 2017 at 12:37 — No Comments

I, Robot: The “Human” in HR – Part 2

Today it seems like every HR magazine or e-newsletter contains an advertisement or article on “HR tech” that promises to provide all manner & quantity of data on a workforce. There is also a running conversation about how HR will become more automated in the future with computers supervising robots!

Until such time as the robots and computers do…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 8, 2017 at 12:30 — No Comments

Cash me outside: Employer fined nearly $533,000 in addition to back payment for cash back scheme

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia’s decision in Fair Work Ombudsman v Rubee Enterprises Pty Ltd & Anor [2016] FCCA 3456 (Rubee’s Case) has penalised a cafe in Albury NSW $532,900 for exploiting five foreign employees.  This is the largest fine ever ordered as a result of legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).  The cafe was involved in a number of breaches of the Fair Work Act…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 1, 2017 at 14:37 — No Comments

Human Nature: The “Human” in HR – Part 1

In recent years we have observed the increased use of technology and big data in Human Resources. The question is whether this shift is taking the “human” out of Human Resources by devaluing genuine personal interactions and conversations when it comes to matters such as employee wellbeing and performance.

In a recent article about employee data…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 1, 2017 at 14:30 — No Comments

Restrainted Love: The Value of Restraint of Trade Clauses

Restraint of trade clauses are often used in employment contracts to prevent or limit an employee from engaging in conduct that is adverse or inconsistent with the employer’s interests once employment has ended. Typically, employees are restrained from soliciting clients or establishing competing businesses.

In a previous…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 1, 2017 at 14:30 — No Comments

Give me time – Employees reinstated following hasty redundancy consultation

Restructuring and redundancies can be difficult under the best of circumstances. Employers have obligations to their employees during these times and sometimes the fast paced demands of the business are at odds with those obligations. In a recent decision, Williams and Ors v Staples Australia Pty Ltd [2017] FWC 607, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) examined the obligations of a particular employer and found that its…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on February 28, 2017 at 10:07 — No Comments

It is all in the flexicution: Flexible working arrangements

What does an employer do in circumstances where it has granted flexible working arrangements and it is no longer able to accommodate the employee? 

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission (NSW IRC) in Construction Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (New South Wales Branch) v South Western Sydney Local…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on February 22, 2017 at 15:18 — No Comments

That’s my pejorative – Ethnic slurs in the workplace

All employers should be aware that discrimination in the workplace on the basis of a “protected attribute” is unlawful. For example, Australia’s anti-discrimination legislation provides that it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of “race.”

Significantly, however, the legislation extends beyond “race”: the Racial Discrimination Act 1975…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on February 22, 2017 at 15:14 — No Comments

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