Shane Koelmeyer's Blog (389)

Draw the line: Managing employee conduct and behaviour in the workplace

Managing employee conduct and behaviour can be a challenge. The question of what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in the workplace will depend on a variety of factors, including the industry in which the employees work, the overall culture of the workplace and community standards at any given time.


In claims…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 11, 2020 at 17:08 — No Comments

All in good fun: Company vicariously liable for injury resulting from skylarking supervisor

Enjoying the company of your colleagues is something most people hope to find in the workplace. It can make work much more enjoyable and lead to lasting friendships. However, fun in the workplace can cross a line when it takes the form of dangerous skylarking or roughhousing.


Dangerous behaviour by colleagues can pose…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 11, 2020 at 17:01 — No Comments

Below not above: Salary reduction brought employee under high income threshold

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has significantly impacted the financial stability of many businesses. Employers have had to make difficult decisions and implement different measures to ensure the ongoing viability of their businesses. Some of these measures have included asking employees to agree to temporary reductions in their hours of work or to a reduction in their remuneration.…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on August 11, 2020 at 16:51 — No Comments

Relationship status: It’s complicated - Understanding your contract in eSports and gaming

Being offered, or offering a person, a new opportunity in the gaming or eSports industry can be incredibly exciting. 


Everyone is looking to the road ahead and enthusiastically imagining a long and fruitful relationship. Gamers are understandably keen to get the work or training underway but, in that excitement, can…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 21, 2020 at 13:16 — No Comments

Patience, you must have: FWC upholds safety-related dismissal of employee given multiple chances

The Fair Work Commission’s (FWC’s) recent decision in Hafsteins v Correct Installs Pty Ltd [2020] FWC 2729 has showcased a “patient” employer’s handling of an employee’s numerous workplace health and safety breaches. 


The employee was employed at a racking and storage system installation…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 21, 2020 at 13:05 — No Comments

Bus money: FWC upholds dismissal of employee who borrowed money from bus passenger

Out of hours conduct and its impact on the employment relationship is always a hotly debated topic – particularly between employers and their employees.


Many employees hold the belief that their conduct outside of work is entirely irrelevant to their employment. However, this is not always the case as recently…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 14, 2020 at 15:36 — No Comments

Brisbane company first to be convicted of industrial manslaughter

Workplace fatalities are tragic and devastating events. In order to reflect the seriousness of these incidents, some jurisdictions across Australia have amended their work health and safety laws to establish the offence of industrial manslaughter, where the negligent conduct by a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) or officers causes the death of a worker.…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 14, 2020 at 15:30 — No Comments

The probation myth: Probation and the "minimum employment period" in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

There is a common misconception that probationary periods allow an employer to dismiss an employee for any reason (or for no reason at all) prior to the confirmation of their employment. This is not necessarily the case and, in fact, there is no statutory basis that entitles an employer and an employee to a probationary period.…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on July 14, 2020 at 15:00 — No Comments

A-League club facing adverse action claim in Court

It is sometimes forgotten that sporting clubs and organisations are employers who are also subject to workplace laws and regulations in relation to their employees.


In a stark reminder that sporting clubs and organisations are not exempt from the rules, the former team manager of Western United has commenced…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on June 22, 2020 at 10:51 — No Comments

No competition: Conflicts of interest in the employment relationship

Many standard employment contracts contain a clause that addresses an employee’s obligations in relation to secondary employment and conflicts of interest. The obligation is generally that an employee will not act in a manner that conflicts with the interests of their employer or their duties as an employee. This contractual obligation is reflective of the common law duty that an employee must not engage in conduct that is incompatible with their duties to…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on June 22, 2020 at 10:42 — No Comments

Leave me be: JobKeeper and annual leave requests

In April 2020, temporary amendments were introduced into the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) to support the JobKeeper scheme. The provisions permit eligible employers to give certain directions to eligible employees in relation to reducing hours or days of work and/or temporarily changing their usual duties, location of work or days and times of work.

In addition, the JobKeeper provisions…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on June 22, 2020 at 10:34 — No Comments

Stand down and out: FWC dismisses challenge to stand down

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on June 22, 2020 at 10:22 — No Comments

Adverse action claim initiated against professional football club

The Chief Operating Officer of Macarthur and South West United FC (the Club) has launched legal proceedings against the Club, the Club Chair and another director alleging breaches of the general protections provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).



The FW Act provides…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on June 22, 2020 at 10:00 — No Comments

Eating out: Full Bench find UberEats delivery driver not an employee

In a significant recent decision, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) held that an UberEats delivery driver was not an employee, with the majority finding that the delivery driver was in fact an independent contractor (Gupta v Portier Pacific Pty Ltd; Uber Australia Pty Ltd t/a Uber Eats [2020] FWCFB 1698).



The delivery driver made an application to the FWC alleging that…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 20, 2020 at 12:19 — No Comments

Taking the high ground: FWC upholds dismissal of employee who stored marijuana equipment in the workplace

In deciding whether to take disciplinary action against an employee, it is important for employers to ensure that the employee is given a reasonable opportunity to provide a response or explanation before a final decision is made, particularly when it concerns matters that could result in summary dismissal.


This requirement for procedural fairness can prove to be difficult if an employee, when faced with…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 20, 2020 at 12:07 — No Comments

Cover me: Dismissed department Head fails in bid to be covered by modern award

The unfair dismissal provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) provide a mechanism by which employees who have been unfairly dismissed can seek a remedy through the Fair Work Commission (FWC). However, not all employees will be protected from unfair dismissal and able to make a claim.…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 20, 2020 at 12:00 — No Comments

Fake news: Union ordered to pay $3 million for spurious safety claims

The regulation of industrial action in Australia is complex. Whilst there is a need to acknowledge the rights of employees to engage in industrial action, the overall effect of industrial action on an employer’s business operations cannot be understated. Strikes or work stoppages and delays can have serious financial and reputational consequences for a business.…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 12, 2020 at 15:31 — No Comments

Blame game: Experience of worker no excuse for not complying with work health and safety duty

In R v Sapform Pty Ltd [2020] NSWDC 86, the NSW District Court (the Court) has criticised a formwork company for attempting to blame a worker who died after he was impaled by a metal bar when he fell from a height.  The company was convicted and fined $450,000 for a Category 2 offence for the fatality.…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 12, 2020 at 13:08 — No Comments

Vexed variation: The FWC, COVID-19 and variations to redundancy pay

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has a vital role to play in the management of the current COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to impact employment relationships across the country.


One aspect of the FWC’s role is the determination of applications by employers to reduce the amount of redundancy pay payable to employees.


In making such…
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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on May 12, 2020 at 12:47 — No Comments

Send me your location? Staying connected while working from home

The coronavirus pandemic has not only upended our social and family lives, for many of us it has also required us to fundamentally change the ways that we work, including working remotely. When once employees could meet up to collaborate on projects, or chat face to face with each other, employees have now been confined to their homes, physically working in isolation.…

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Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 22, 2020 at 11:46 — No Comments

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