January 2020 Blog Posts (20)

Summary dismissal, Serious Misconduct & Workplace Investigations

A case at the Fair Work Commission (Trialonas v Steric Solutions Pty Ltd) highlighted the need for employers to understand what Summary Dismissal is, how it applies to Serious Misconduct and the importance of thorough professional workplace investigations.

In this case a worker was summarily dismissed for using abusive language towards his supervisor but then allowed back to work…

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Added by Phil O'Brien on January 31, 2020 at 16:30 — No Comments

Keeping you regular: Regular and systematic casual employment

Employers often supplement their workforce by utilising casual employees to perform work in addition to that performed by permanent employees. While such engagements might start out as irregular (or, truly casual), it is not uncommon for casual employment to become regular and systematic, and for a casual employee to develop an expectation of continued employment.



Risks then arise when those regular casual…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 31, 2020 at 15:21 — No Comments

All together now: HR consultant and supervisor found accessorily liable for breach of FW Act

An external HR consultant and a supervisor have been found accessorily liable for contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) after they were involved in the dismissal of an employee who raised a potential award non-compliance issue (Myers v Arenco Holdings Pty Ltd & Ors [2019] FCCA 3077).



The employee was a yoga instructor at a studio where her duties included…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 31, 2020 at 15:17 — No Comments

Coronavirus: A Guideline for Employers

In recent times there has been widespread publicity about the outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, which has spread from the Hubei province in China and has since been identified in other countries, including Australia.



On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” …



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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 31, 2020 at 15:00 — No Comments

Investigating Complaints Part 1 – Analysing the complaint.

Investigating Complaints Part 1 – Analysing the complaint.

This series is a step by step guide to help you investigate employee complaints.  The guides can also be used to investigate complaints from stakeholders including clients and customers.

This process is by no means the only process, it is however the process I use and have been using successfully for a number of years.

The first step in the investigation process is…

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Added by Phil O'Brien on January 31, 2020 at 12:30 — No Comments

Unfair Dismissal: Case Studies from the FWC

Perhaps one of the most vexed issues employers face is how to terminate employees without exposing the organisation to the risk of a successful unfair dismissal action. 

In light of the 15 January updates to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) Unfair Dismissals Benchbook, these two unfair dismissal…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on January 29, 2020 at 14:03 — No Comments

Complaint Management  & complainant expectations

Complaint Management  - Dealing with complainants and their expectations. As an business owner, employer or manager you may have to deal with complaints from stakeholders including clients, customers, suppliers or employees.  Complaints could relate to a number of issues however from experience we have found common complaints include;

  • The behaviour of your staff towards stakeholders/clients/other employees
  • The way in which your organisation or facility is being…
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Added by Phil O'Brien on January 28, 2020 at 11:22 — No Comments

How To Set Yourself Up For Success in 2020: The Power Of A Morning Routine

A new year means new opportunities and a chance to set yourself up for a successful year ahead. But we’re not talking about making New Year’s resolutions. We’re talking about something much simpler, and much more likely to make a difference to your life, both personally and professionally. 

The science shows that most New Year’s resolutions don't stick because they are grandiose and create a big shift in the way in which you operate. 

So how can…

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Added by Jan Terkelsen on January 28, 2020 at 10:13 — No Comments

Interview impotence - can't perform?

I’ve been doing some interviewing. The job was a front of house team leader in a human services agency that supports clients suffering disadvantage. There were 80 applicants. Some 70 per cent had no claims on the job! I was one of a selection panel of three. We interviewed 16 candidates. Most were nervous, most were under-prepared, most had done inadequate research. Most were unpractised in interview technique, all wanted the job and none would be happy with running second. Everyone of the…

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Added by wayne faulkner on January 27, 2020 at 14:00 — 1 Comment

How to set up an office wellness room

Our jobs have become so stressful that wellness is no longer a luxury but a real need if we wish to stay healthy both physically and mentally. Business owners and HR managers have realised this a long time ago, as we have seen a rise in…

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Added by Emma Williams on January 24, 2020 at 21:00 — No Comments

What did you say? Employee dismissed for offensive remarks in the workplace

It goes without saying that employees should treat each other with respect and courtesy in the workplace. 



In a recent decision, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) was tasked with considering a claim from a dismissed employee who alleged that remarks he made in the workplace were not offensive and did not justify his dismissal - Chileshe v EnergyAustralia Pty Ltd [2019] FWC 7622.



The employee in this case was…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 24, 2020 at 16:06 — No Comments

A good deed goes a long way: FWC rejects claim deed was made under duress

As we have discussed in previous blogs, it is not uncommon for an employer and employee to enter into a deed of release or settlement when ending the employment relationship. A deed provides assurances to both parties that the employment relationship is at an end and they can both move forward.



A major reason that deeds are so effective is that they operate as a bar to any proceedings that a party may wish to commence at a later point in…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 24, 2020 at 15:27 — No Comments

Whistleblowing in 2020: Is Your Organisation Ready?

The concept of whistleblowing was once frowned upon, or at the very least looked upon with trepidation. However, in recent years, the value of promoting whistleblowing as an acceptable way to improve corporate regulatory compliance and culture has been demonstrated. In this changing landscape,…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on January 23, 2020 at 9:22 — No Comments

How Employers Can Learn From 5,700 Employees Underpaid By Woolworths – Top 4 Tips For Employers

Woolworths, Lush and Qantas were some of the big names in the spotlight recently due to underpayment of wages claims. Previously we discussed the wide ranging underpayment of wages issues a former Masterchef judge and bubble tea drink company had to deal with.  The top tip for Employers in that article was to…

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Added by Jonathan Mamaril on January 17, 2020 at 11:30 — No Comments

Difficult Conversations Part 1

Holding a conversation for which you believe the content will upset the listener evokes the concept of a difficult conversation. Difficult because the speaker often assumes the news will be difficult for the receiver to hear. And so the conversation also becomes labelled as difficult for the speaker to know how best to frame what they need to say to cause the least discomfort for the listener. 

In such situations,…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on January 17, 2020 at 9:26 — No Comments

Managing Volunteers in the Workplace

Volunteers can be a fabulous resource in any business. Generally, they bring enthusiasm, true passion for the organisation's ethos and purpose, and a "can-do" attitude to the job.

However, volunteers in the workplace can also bring their own set of challenges for organisations. Even though they are not on the payroll, volunteers enjoy the same protections as paid workers are entitled to. Indeed, the Work Health…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on January 16, 2020 at 12:20 — No Comments

7 Benefits of Foreign Language Training Programs for Employees

Source: depositphotos.com

In an increasingly competitive market, attracting, retaining, and…

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Added by Catherine Palmer on January 16, 2020 at 0:21 — No Comments

Workplace Investigations Managing Expectations

At times during a workplace investigation it may be necessary to manage the expectations of managers especially senior managers. As an investigator you must take control and responsibility for the investigation.

In my experience management expectations/interference/demands comes in three forms;

  1. Expectations around the process – how the investigation is conducted.
  2. Expectations about the outcome – What they want.
  3. Expectations around the timelines – How…
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Added by Phil O'Brien on January 14, 2020 at 10:39 — No Comments

Dealing with uncooperative complainants in workplace investigations

Workplace Investigations Uncooperative Complainants – at times during a workplace investigation you may have to deal with an uncooperative complainant, what should you do?

In my experience uncooperative complainants fall into 3 categories; (there may be more, but this is what I have encountered.)

  1. Complainants who are concerned and even fearful of the process and their part in the investigation.
  2. Complainants who know that their complaint is baseless and want…
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Added by Phil O'Brien on January 10, 2020 at 9:30 — No Comments

After the fires: 7 communication tips to help workplaces start the year

The essentials:

As those workplaces that closed over Christmas and New Year reopen after the break, a few simple internal communication actions are helping both the operational and human responses to the current Australian fire catastrophe.

The most effective employee communication responses…

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Added by Jonathan Champ on January 8, 2020 at 22:49 — No Comments

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