An employer who relied on their zero-tolerance alcohol policy when dismissing an employee who drunkenly tried to access the workplace out-of-hours has successfully defended the dismissal before the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
In Lewer v Inco Ships T/A Inco Ships Pty Ltd  FWC 6666, the FWC heard that an employee, who worked on a tanking vessel, attempted to re-enter the vessel after dinner and a few drinks so that he could sleep-off the alcohol. When he…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 10, 2018 at 13:24 — No Comments
Employees have an implied duty to obey their employer’s reasonable and lawful directions. Whilst employers cannot direct an employee to engage in conduct which is unlawful, the reasonableness of an employer’s direction will depend on the individual circumstances.
In Parkes v Fat Prophets Pty Ltd  FWC 6121, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) held that an employer’s “unreasonable ultimatum” to an employee that he relocate to Sydney or lose his job was a…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 10, 2018 at 13:13 — No Comments
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 university campus (Savage v Monash University and Programmed Maintenance Services Ltd  VCC 1774).
The control room operator was walking from her car to the security control room in steel capped boots when she stepped through a puddle onto the uneven surface below and injured her ankle. The ankle injury…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 10, 2018 at 12:54 — No Comments
During the recruitment process, employers want to present their best side to prospective employees in order to entice top talent to join them. Employers can potentially expose themselves to litigation for representations made or made on their behalf that are misleading and deceptive and later relied upon by prospective employees in the recruitment process.
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) provides that it is illegal for a business to engage in conduct that…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 10, 2018 at 12:30 — No Comments
Ending the employment relationship can sometimes be difficult and often, those responsible for facilitating the termination are so relieved to have it all over that they don’t worry about pursuing the return of seemingly insignificant employer property, like used uniform items.
The return of uniform items at the end of employment, particularly those with company branding, can seem like quibbling over something small. However, the purpose of pursuing the return of such property is not…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 10, 2018 at 12:25 — No Comments
Most workplaces utilise some form of surveillance, the most obvious of which is monitoring the use of email and internet. Surveillance can also extend to the use of GPS tracking in company vehicles or the use of location services in devices, like mobile phones or tablets.
The use of GPS trackers in vehicles and devices is most common in roles where employees work away from a desk, at multiple different locations throughout the day – like couriers or delivery drivers, tradespersons or…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 12:00 — No Comments
It is almost undisputed that the majority of Australian workers are spending more of their time at the workplace. It is therefore unsurprising that employees and employers are becoming more concerned with the quality of the time that employees spend at work and the relationships they have with their co-workers.
As a result, there has been an increased focus by employers on establishing a positive “workplace culture” through employer-sponsored social events and team-building activities…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 10:56 — No Comments
There is no doubt that social media has changed workplace relations. It has impacted the employment relationship and the relationships employees have with each other.
Throughout 2017 the courts, the tribunals and employers more generally have continued to iron out the wrinkles in how they deal with social media in the workplace.
In this blog, we look back on some of the more interesting social media cases from the year that was 2017.
The employee in…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 10:46 — No Comments
There are two remedies available to an employee claiming unfair dismissal under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) – reinstatement (with any required back-pay) and compensation.
Section 390 of the FW Act makes it clear that reinstatement will be the primary remedy and that the Fair Work Commission (FWC) must not make an order for compensation unless it is satisfied that reinstatement of the person is inappropriate.
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 10:27 — No Comments
In a recent Federal Circuit Court decision, Fair Work Ombudsman v Commercial and Residential Cleaning Group Pty Ltd & Ors  FCCA 2838, Judge Lucev ordered significant penalties against a Perth cleaning company and two of its directors.
The case concerned only three underpaid employees but resulted in more than $510,000 in penalties for contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).
All three employees were Taiwanese…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 10:15 — No Comments
A national campaign with the slogan #SaveDave, which took the dismissal of a union representative employee all the way to the Fair Work Commission (FWC), has highlighted to employers the importance of recognising what is, and what is not, industrial action.
What is industrial action?
The regulation of industrial action set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) is limited, in large part, to…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 9:30 — No Comments
In recent years, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has made it clear that it is prepared to prosecute not only employers, but also individuals and third parties ‘involved in’ contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).
Most recently, the FWO was successful in its prosecution of a Chinese restaurant as well as its sole director, its human resources manager and its store manager for various breaches of the FW Act, which resulted in 85…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 9:27 — No Comments
Recently, the South Australian government announced that two of its employees engaged as carers were found unsuitable to work with children, following the introduction of a new testing and screening process involving psychological testing.
The new tests were introduced following the recommendations of the State’s Child Protection Systems Royal Commission report. As a result, all new applicants for positions as carers in South Australian residential care facilities are now required to…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 9:04 — No Comments
A recent survey conducted by global workplace solutions group, ManpowerGroup, has revealed that almost 90% of workers are opting for, or at least open to, arrangements that allow for flexibility in lieu of traditional “9 to 5” work arrangements.
The research report, #GigResponsibly – The Rise of NextGen Work, uses the term “NextGen Work” to…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 7, 2017 at 12:00 — No Comments
The anti-bullying measures in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) were introduced in response to the Government Inquiry report, Workplace Bullying: We Just Want it to Stop, which recognised the problem of bullying in workplaces as both an industrial relations issue, and a risk to the work health and safety of workers.
The SafeWork Australia…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 7, 2017 at 11:48 — No Comments
In Australia, we rely on statutory declarations for a range of purposes, from declaring identity details when documents are lost to making statements about particular situations, including in the employment context.
What is a statutory declaration?
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 7, 2017 at 11:31 — No Comments
The Fair Work Regulations 2009 provide a non-exhaustive list of instances that might constitute “serious misconduct” warranting summary dismissal. We have previously discussed these Regulations and what might or might not constitute serious misconduct in our blog, “If I can be serious for a moment – getting serious about serious…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 6, 2017 at 13:01 — No Comments
Earlier this year, we told the tale of the of the trolley collectors in Once upon a trolley – an ongoing saga involving underpayments, vulnerable workers and the Fair Work Ombudsman’s (FWO’s) scrutiny of labour supply chains. In that blog, we focussed on an enforceable undertaking that involved Coles supermarkets and the…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 6, 2017 at 12:52 — No Comments
The anti-bullying jurisdiction of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) gives the Fair Work Commission (FWC) a broad power to make any order it considers appropriate to prevent a worker from being bullied at work (except an order which requires monetary payment).
In Burbeck v Alice Springs Town Council; Davison; Price;…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 6, 2017 at 10:58 — No Comments
Earlier this year, we wrote about the growing concern of an increasing number of people being engaged in unpaid work that was unlawfully described as work experience, a vocational placement or an internship (see our blog “The Intern”).
When engagements of this kind are legitimate,…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 2, 2017 at 16:00 — No Comments