Shane Koelmeyer's Blog (271)

“Boo” or “Boo-Urns” – Australia’s racial discrimination laws – does intention matter?

There was much conversation last week regarding the certain sections of AFL crowds booing and jeering former Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes. As most people know Adam is a Sydney Swans AFL player, a proud indigenous man and a prominent advocate on behalf of the Australian indigenous community.

The behaviour has certainly opened up significant debate about whether such behaviour is bullying fuelled by racism or if fans were heckling the player for other reasons, such as his…


Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 3, 2015 at 13:02 — No Comments

What to do about employees charged with criminal offences

Employers are often faced with the challenging task of how to approach the situation where an employee falls foul of the law as a result of conduct in their personal life.

Consider the following recent examples involving professional footballers:

In February this year, a former rugby league, Australian rules and now rugby union player was charged with the use and supply of cocaine. The player was immediately stood down from his club, the Queensland Reds, and after entering a…


Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 28, 2015 at 16:18 — No Comments

[No] ticket to drive – a lesson for employers

In the recent case of Mr Christopher K v Linfox Australia Pty Ltd [2015] FWC 3967 the Fair Work Commission confirmed that there will be a valid reason for the termination of an employee’s employment where they are unable to perform the inherent requirements of their position.

In this matter, Mr K was employed as a full-time truck driver for Linfox at its Newcastle site. Earlier this year, whilst driving his own vehicle, Mr K was charged…


Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 22, 2015 at 19:28 — No Comments

Inherent Requirements and Psychological Conditions

As our readers are aware, we have previously blogged about including psychological testing as part of a pre-employment medical.  Building on that theme we now comment on a recent FWC decision involving an employer’s ability to have existing employees undergo a psychological medical examination.

In January 2014, Mr Z raised concerns about the behaviour of his…


Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 20, 2015 at 13:18 — No Comments

FWC recognises importance of confidentiality in employer investigations

Sharon Bowker; Annette Coombe; Stephen Zwarts v DP World Melbourne Limited t/a DP World; Maritime Union of Australia, The Victorian Branch and Others [2015] FWC 4542

Three DP World employees previously applied to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for stop bullying orders against their DP World colleagues who were also members of the Maritime Union of Australia.

The substantive proceedings were put on hold until FWC heard DP…


Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 13, 2015 at 17:04 — No Comments

Uber or employees?

California (USA) Labor Commission Rules Uber Driver is an Employee.

In California, a Commissioner has said that an Uber driver who connects with his customers through the Uber app must be considered to be an employee.  This means that Uber drivers are now eligible for reimbursements for expenses and for the minimum wage.

Uber is a service where drivers can pick up…


Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 6, 2015 at 13:04 — No Comments

Employee witness support for employer’s actions essential in FWC

The widely reported decision of Commissioner Stanton in William F v Mt Arthur Coal Pty Ltd [2015] FWC 2343 highlights the importance of witnesses participating in the FWC’s hearing processes.

Employees raising concerns about workplace issues or incidents must not only be willing to complain, but also to then support the employer who acts in relation to that complaint once the matter comes to trial.  Employers too, must also create an environment that is…


Added by Shane Koelmeyer on June 22, 2015 at 18:37 — No Comments

The Importance of WHS Training During Employee Induction

The implementation and delivery of a work health and safety (WHS) induction program is an important part of the development of a positive workplace health safety and culture for an organisation.

While induction programs are a way for employers to introduce new employees to their organisation, a WHS induction program is an equally essential step in the new…


Added by Shane Koelmeyer on June 15, 2015 at 10:57 — No Comments

A Cautionary Tale About Employees & Twitter

In April 2015 Mr Scott McIntyre, a SBS reporter and presenter, made headlines for posting a series of tweets about ANZAC day that were considered by many to be highly inappropriate and disrespectful. 

It is important to note that Mr McIntyre’s twitter profile stated that he was an SBS presenter permitting the assumption that his tweets were approved/endorsed/encouraged by his employer (SBS) and not just his personal opinion.

As a result of those tweets, Mr McIntyre was sacked…


Added by Shane Koelmeyer on June 9, 2015 at 15:30 — No Comments

The Value of Pre-Employment Medical Examinations

Organisations have obligations to ensure the health and safety of their employees.  One way for organisations to manage the risks is by making use of pre-employment medicals (PEMs). 

For an organisation to utilise PEMs effectively it is important they understand:

  • The purpose for the assessment – why do you need to perform the PEM?

  • What is to be achieved from the PEM?

  • Is the…


Added by Shane Koelmeyer on June 4, 2015 at 9:00 — No Comments

Did you just double dip? Budget impacts on the paid parental leave scheme

As part of the Government’s 2015 – 2016 budget, Treasurer Joe Hockey announced that the Government plans to end the “double dipping” by some working parents who may have had an entitlement to receive both their employer funded and the government funded paid parental leave schemes. 

At present, primary carers can access 18 weeks of pay at the minimum wage (currently, $640.90/week), as well as payments provided by their…


Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 22, 2015 at 12:00 — No Comments

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