Shane Koelmeyer's Blog – May 2016 Archive (13)

You gotta fight for your right (to get costs) – Employee who refused settlement offer ordered to pay employer's cost

In our recent blog article Running Man – Employee Who Faked Test Results Abandons Hearing we discussed the Fair Work Commission (FWC)’s discretion to make a costs order in exceptional circumstances.  The FWC in F v GHS Regional Pty Ltd [2016] FWC 3120 has decided to exercise its discretion to award costs in favour of the Employer once…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 31, 2016 at 16:30 — No Comments

Loud and Clear: Why it is important to have clearly written and communicated workplace policies

When an employer decides it would like to implement a new policy or amend one of its existing policies, key steps in the process are sometimes overlooked – communication and training. 

Communication and training are important as they ensure employees are aware of changes workplace as well as any new requirements.

Ideally communication and training about the new policy or changes should take place prior to implementation. 

By not training and educating employees,…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 31, 2016 at 16:00 — No Comments

The real employees (of Melbourne): Advertising for female only staff

In an attempt to reduce the gender imbalance in Melbourne University’s School of Mathematics and Statistics, the University is now advertising three permanent positions exclusively for female applicants only.

This raises some interesting points of discussion about discrimination laws in Australia.  There are a number of laws in Australia applicable to discrimination in employment on the basis of gender including the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth), Equal Opportunity Act…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 26, 2016 at 12:30 — No Comments

Wash your mouth out! – Bad and threatening language in the workplace

There has been a spate of decisions delivered by the Fair Work Commission recently dealing with terminations of employment arising from the way employees have spoken to their managers. We all know that bad language in the workplace is unacceptable, but employers seeking to dismiss employees as the result of outbursts of profanity must still take the time to properly execute the termination process or risk adverse findings from the Commission. We thought it was a good time to review a few of…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 24, 2016 at 15:30 — No Comments

A rose by any other name? Beware of racial discrimination in the recruitment process

Earlier this month, journalist and TV presenter Waleed Aly in his Logie acceptance speech referenced an interaction he had with an actor that night. Aly recalled that the actor told him that he was not able to use his birth name Mustafa, because he would not be able to get a job in the TV industry.

Aly’s speech highlighted one of the potential dangers to businesses in the recruitment and selection process – omitting from the selection process an applicant with a name which may…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 24, 2016 at 15:30 — No Comments

Running Man – Employee who faked test results abandons hearing

Generally speaking, most matters in the Fair Work Commission run in a “no costs” jurisdiction. This means that parties bringing or responding to applications in the Commission will be responsible for their own costs - no matter who is successful. However, the Commission does have some discretion to order costs in exceptional circumstances. One such rare decision was handed down last week in G v Toll Holdings Ltd [2016] FWC 2790.

Mr G was a Yard Truck Driver for Toll Holdings…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 18, 2016 at 16:25 — No Comments

Risky Business: The Budget’s internship program

On Tuesday 3 May 2016, the Coalition put forward its Budget proposals.  One of the highly scrutinised key measures proposed was the PaTH intern program (Prepare, Trial, Hire). 

The PaTH intern program is intended to encourage unemployed youth into the workforce through skills and training programs with paid internships and incentive payments for prospective employers.  The program has three stages:

  1. Employability Skills Training – 6 weeks of training will focus on skills…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 18, 2016 at 16:16 — No Comments

Objection! – Access to the unfair dismissal jurisdiction

Employers unfamiliar with the unfair dismissal process often overlook an important part of their response to an unfair dismissal application: whether the former employee is even eligible to make a claim!

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) provides protection for certain categories of employee from “unfair dismissal”.  Not everyone has access to the jurisdiction.  Accordingly, employers should look at each new application carefully and examine:

  • Was the…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 18, 2016 at 16:00 — No Comments

Working 9 to 5? Overtime and reasonable additional hours

Employers are often left completely surprised when an employee makes a claim for overtime payments they claim to have worked over the course of their employment.



What are the maximum weekly hours?

The National Employment Standards (NES) provides that for full-time employees, the maximum “ordinary” weekly hours are 38. However, section 62 FW Act contemplates circumstances whereby an employer may request or require an employee to work more…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 10, 2016 at 16:00 — No Comments

Baby it's cold outside – How “sickies” and presenteeism hurt employers

Cold and flu season is upon us again, which means employers should be planning for the inevitable round of absences. This time of the year presents many challenges for employers, so here are our practical tips for managing the winter months.

‘Workplace warriors’ and presenteeism

Workplace warriors are those employees with the mentality that they must show up for work no matter how sick they are feeling and that sick leave should only be taken in…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 10, 2016 at 16:00 — No Comments

If you leave me – Can I come too? - When employees leave but their online profile says otherwise

We all know social media has power for both good and bad, especially for businesses and their employees. The actions of employees online can be useful and bring goodwill to a business, but we live in the age of the all powerful online review and an employee’s comments can expose a business to serious reputational damage.

A number of Fair Work Commission decisions over the past few years have given authority for the position that individuals who identify themselves (or are…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 6, 2016 at 15:30 — No Comments

For your eyes only: Investigation reports and legal privilege

Employers often seek assistance or advice from their lawyers when a sufficiently serious workplace complaint (such as fraud, sexual harassment or bullying) is made. Lawyers may be asked to conduct an investigation into the allegations and prepare a “Confidential and Privileged” report for the employer, the findings of which may be used later in a disciplinary process.



What happens when a dismissed employee seeks access to the…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 6, 2016 at 15:30 — No Comments

Dressing Down: Celebrity Fashion and Wedding Dress Designer forced into liquidation due to unpaid employee entitlements

It has recently been reported that celebrity fashion designer, Johanna Johnson who has designed gowns for Madonna and Christina Hendricks is being pursued in court by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and former employees for more than $1 million.  The amount includes at least $300,000 in owed superannuation that had not been paid to employees for many years.

The situation of Johanna Johnson’s business serves as a reminder to employers that they have superannuation…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 6, 2016 at 15:30 — No Comments

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