In the highly-anticipated decision of Comcare v Banerji, the High Court has found it is not unconstitutional for the federal government to restrict the rights of public servants to express their political views in a public forum.
So what does this decision mean for employees, freedom of political communication and the right to free speech?
Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 21, 2019 at 11:30 — No Comments
There is a high likelihood that every employer will have to deal with action - or at least the threat of action - involving the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
Let's take a look at the role of the FWC, and the importance of a defensible investigation report in the event an employee lodges a claim.
The FWC is Australia's national workplace…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 14, 2019 at 11:44 — No Comments
To say that a workplace investigation report is an important document is certainly something of an understatement. Following the investigation, the report will be relied upon for all manner of significant organisational decisions, tasks and action.
As a result, it is essential that workplace investigators create a professional, transparent and unbiased document.
Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 31, 2019 at 11:13 — No Comments
In any workplace investigation, there will be multiple competing factors for an investigator to consider. One core issue is developing the appropriate interview strategy.
Investigative interviewing requires careful consideration of the purpose of the investigation, and exactly who will be interviewed. There is also the question of tone - ensuring that the interview remains cordial and does not begin to resemble an…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 24, 2019 at 11:31 — No Comments
During the process of conducting workplace investigations, it is generally necessary to prepare letters of notification, and later, letters of allegation.
We take a look at the difference between the two, and provide some tips on how to prepare these important documents. …Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 17, 2019 at 14:06 — No Comments
When conducting a workplace investigation, it is crucial to be able to demonstrate that appropriate procedures have been followed. This is essential in defending any subsequent action that may be taken.
It can be helpful for employers to create an action plan utilising Terms of Reference (ToR) and the services of an external investigator to keep the investigation process on track.
Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 10, 2019 at 12:22 — No Comments
Employers should be well aware of the legal and associated requirements that come into play when someone in the workplace raises their hand with a grievance.
Complaints about unacceptable and/or inappropriate behaviour can arise from any work area, and in regard to a wide variety of issues. Grievance handling needs to be fair and consistent - yet with each situation being approached on an individual basis. …Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 3, 2019 at 14:24 — No Comments
For many employers, a workplace investigation process can appear quite challenging to navigate. Questions around the actual subject of the investigation, and who is best qualified to carry out this important task, can immediately arise.
The investigation process itself is characterised by a number of important processes that are designed to reduce the risk of negative perceptions and/or potential legal pitfalls at a…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on June 26, 2019 at 15:00 — No Comments
An ever-increasing key dilemma for employers in the modern age is how to deal with the misconduct by staff through their use of social media platforms.
The list of potentially offending conduct is lengthy. For example, staff might call in sick but then post details of their activities on social media. Employees could post inappropriate, defamatory or confidential information on their accounts. One high-profile…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on June 19, 2019 at 12:54 — No Comments
Employers often face a quandary in dealing with underperformers, and whether to place them onto a performance management program.
It's essential that any such move can always be considered to be 'reasonable management action' in response to inappropriate behaviours or inadequate or unsatisfactory…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on June 12, 2019 at 13:48 — No Comments
Whistleblower protections have been top of mind for many Australian organisations recently, following a number of changes to the law.
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistle-Blower Protections) Bill 2017 is due to come into effect from July…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on June 5, 2019 at 11:15 — No Comments
When conducting investigations in the workplace, senior staff and human resource managers often have to deal with uncooperative respondents.
Understandably, this can significantly hamper the progress of the investigation.
There are many ways in which the smooth running of an investigation can be negatively affected…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 29, 2019 at 11:12 — No Comments
One of the more difficult aspects of managing an employment relationship is appropriately dealing with complaints, both from the perspective of the complainant and the accused. This is made even more complicated when a reluctant complainant brings something to the attention of Human Resources or management, then does not want it investigated.
We examine why a complainant might not want to take an issue further, and…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 22, 2019 at 17:23 — No Comments
Like schoolyard bullying, workplace bullying is far from a new phenomenon. When people who may not have much in common outside work are thrust together on a daily basis, there are bound to be disputes, friction and potentially even outright hostility.
Of course, any serious matters need to be dealt with by conducting a thorough workplace investigation. Recently, our investigators have noticed a number of trends in…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 15, 2019 at 11:09 — No Comments
For employers, the completion of a workplace investigation can feel like the end of a marathon. The relevant issues have been aired and discussed, a report delivered and decisions made. However, it is also important to effectively share relevant information with affected parties and the broader organisation as the investigation process draws to a close.
It is likely that employees and other stakeholders affected by…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 8, 2019 at 13:30 — No Comments
It is one of society's great shames that our most vulnerable individuals are often open to abuse by those entrusted with their care. However, it is somewhat edifying to know that stringent legal and regulatory measures are in place in Australia to ensure that employers and others act quickly when allegations arise of abuse in care.
In the case of issues involving children, organisations such as the Ombudsman mandate…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 1, 2019 at 12:30 — No Comments
There can be many questions, fears and insecurities that arise in the course of a workplace investigation. Experienced investigators are often asked by witnesses and other staff to divulge what has been said and by whom. This is unsurprising; after all, for one or more people their reputation and/or job could be on the line as a result of accusations made.
Workplace investigators must take care when dealing with the…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 24, 2019 at 13:11 — No Comments
When conducting a workplace investigation, it is essential that there is consideration given to maintaining an appropriate balance between professionalism, impartiality and empathy.
By ensuring that this balance is maintained, employers are best able to protect the interests of staff, and safeguard against allegations…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 17, 2019 at 13:00 — No Comments
When a workplace investigation is required, there may occasionally be good reason to seek legal professional privilege regarding the findings. This is particularly the case in matters that may require criminal investigation, such as fraud, theft or sexual harassment.
So, is it sufficient to engage a law firm when undertaking workplace investigation if you wish to attract legal professional privilege? We take a look…Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 10, 2019 at 11:29 — No Comments
Using in-house resources to sort out organisational problems certainly makes a lot of sense. HR departments tend to be well equipped to receive and manage internal complaints, facilitating solutions as they go.
But while sourcing external assistance can seem unnecessary, there are certain serious workplace situations where calling in specialist investigative expertise will be the preferable solution. …Continue
Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 3, 2019 at 6:00 — No Comments