Shane Koelmeyer's Blog (299)

Free fallin’: Worker injured whilst visiting the workplace suffers work-related injury

The NSW Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) has made an interesting decision relating to workers who sustain an injury whilst at the workplace volunteering to perform work.

Under workers compensation legislation, an employer will only be liable for an injury if that injury arises out of or in the course of the worker’s employment.

In a major decision last year, the NSW Court of Appeal found that an injury sustained by a worker who had visited the workplace on…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 14, 2018 at 15:16 — No Comments

Pistol Pete: Employee who brought firearms and explosives to workplace not unfairly dismissed

We all have different hobbies, activities or interests we want to share with our friends and colleagues. However, not all interests are appropriate for the workplace.

In Rodger v ACT Government – Transport Canberra and City Services T/A ACTION [2018] FWC 6970, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) held that an employee’s conduct in bringing ornamental duelling pistols and inert booster charges in to work to show his colleagues created a risk to safety and…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 14, 2018 at 15:06 — No Comments

In conTEXT – FWC finds employee not dismissed by text message

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), an employee is only protected from unfair dismissal if the employee is actually dismissed. Section 386 of the FW Act sets out the meaning of “dismissed” for this purpose and states that a person has been dismissed if their employment has been terminated on the employer’s initiative or if the person was forced to resign because of the conduct of the employer.

In most cases, it is clear when an employee is dismissed or has resigned.…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 14, 2018 at 15:00 — No Comments

Fly, eagle, fly – Lessons from the Manly Sea Eagles head coach resignation saga

The NRL’s Manly Sea Eagles have faced an uncomfortable situation regarding a key employee in recent times. Just as the club’s pre-season was about to start, it had two head coaches ready, willing and able to show up for training. Trent Barrett had tendered his resignation from the position in June 2018 and was serving out his twelve-month notice period. In the meantime, the club had also hired Des Hasler to replace Barrett as the head coach.

Despite hiring a new coach, the club…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 22, 2018 at 14:08 — No Comments

Muddying the waters: Adverse action taken against employee for failure to perform duties

The general protections provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) make it unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against a person for a prohibited reason. Often, however, employees include claims of bullying and harassment that have the effect of “muddying the waters” about the real reason that adverse action was taken.

In Turley v James Frizelles Automotive Group [ 2018] FCCA 2989, an employee claimed that his employer took…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 22, 2018 at 14:06 — No Comments

Anyone can accessorise: The accessorial liability provisions of the FW Act

Findings of accessorial liability for contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) are now frequent occurrences. Most commonly, the individuals found to have been involved in contraventions of the FW Act are directors of companies, and those findings of personal liability result from prosecutions brought by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

However, employers and their managers should be aware that it is not only the FWO that is able…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 22, 2018 at 14:03 — No Comments

Personal-IT - Personal devices in the work context

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 1, 2018 at 8:37 — No Comments

I'm no Wonder Woman - Supporting the mental wellbeing of business leaders

Reports estimate that 45% of Australians will experience a mental health condition at some stage in their lifetime and the mental health and wellbeing of employees is recognised as a significant workplace issue.



Businesses and regulators have now acknowledged that psychosocial hazards should be managed as a safety risks and that employers have work health and safety duties in relation to psychological…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 1, 2018 at 8:28 — No Comments

It’s all about me: Employer reasonable in not accommodating employee’s variation of hours request

One of the logistical challenges often faced by employers is the management of rosters and employee working hours. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when it comes to this, such as an employee’s availability, changing circumstances and the particular needs of the business.

It can be difficult for employers to balance these interests but a recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has shown support for employers who make reasonable…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on September 21, 2018 at 15:42 — No Comments

It wasn’t me: Fair Work Commissioner considers Facebook posts as evidence in an unfair dismissal matter

Employees active on social media (such as Facebook) fail to consider who might be able to see their personal online posts at any given time. The consequences can be significant – particularly in an employment context.

It is becoming increasingly common for employers to review their employees’ social media presence at various stages of the employment relationship, particularly when claims are made against the employer by an employee or former employee.  So, what happens when an…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on September 21, 2018 at 15:40 — No Comments

Notice me! Notice of termination and the common law

It is often said that the essence of the employment relationship is the work/wages bargain – where an employer directs an employee to complete certain work in exchange for wages.  However, the reality of the employment relationship is much more complex.

To manage these complexities, most employers attempt to cement the terms of the employment relationship in a single, written document – the employment contract.

Of course, the employment contract reflects the fundamental…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on September 21, 2018 at 15:36 — No Comments

No shirt, no service: Fair Work Commission orders the suspension of protected industrial action involving a uniform ban

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), employees are entitled to take protected industrial action in circumstances where they are bargaining for a new enterprise agreement.

The action can take many forms – from striking and “go slows”, to changes in the clothes that employees wear.

In circumstances where that statement, impact or disruption has the potential to pose a threat to the life, health, safety or welfare of others, the Fair Work…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on September 14, 2018 at 12:35 — No Comments

WHS and Sport: College accepts responsibility for death of football player from heatstroke

With the summer sports season approaching, the tragic death of a 19 year old college football player in the USA serves as a reminder to sporting organisations at all levels about the duty of care owed to their players.

In May 2018, the first year college football player with the University of Maryland collapsed during a team training exercise which required players to perform sprint tests. The player suffered a seizure and was later admitted into hospital suffering from heatstroke and…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on September 14, 2018 at 12:32 — No Comments

Paw patrol: Employer considerations for pet-friendly workplaces

There has been an increasing trend in recent years for employers to implement pet-friendly workplaces in an effort to boost employee morale and productivity. The basis of the concept is that pets are widely understood to have the effect of improving an individual’s mood and reducing levels of stress and anxiety – sentiments that are invaluable in a workplace (particularly high-intensity work environments).

Pet-friendly workplaces can take various forms such as allowing employees to…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on September 14, 2018 at 12:24 — No Comments

A Moving Experience: What to expect and what to consider when relocating

In Part 1 of this blog, we looked at a number of commonly overlooked, but important, consideration for employers in the relocation process.

In this Part 2, we turn to the types of employment issues employers can expect to face during the process.

Relocation redundancy

The possibility of relocation redundancy generally arises if an employee’s contract of employment links their position directly to a location. If the work in that location no…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on September 14, 2018 at 12:13 — No Comments

PCBU fined $375,000 following death of turf stacker

In yet another decision resulting from a tragic workplace safety incident, an employer has been fined $375,000 after one of its workers was fatally crushed by a turf harvester being driven by a co-worker.

In SafeWork NSW v Turfco Australia Pty Ltd [2018] NSWDC 191, the Court heard that, at the time of the incident, Turfco had in place a ‘hop-off’ system used by its workers that was contrary to its own operator’s manual.

Turfco is engaged in the growing, harvesting and…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 17, 2018 at 16:28 — No Comments

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