In a recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) (Heydon v The Highgate Group Pty Limited  FWC 956), an employee’s summary dismissal was upheld after he tried to extort money from his employer and then deliberately withheld information about work health and safety (WHS) issues, forcing his employer to shut down a site for 1.5 days.
The employee was the Operations Manager for a business that designed, constructed and serviced…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 23, 2018 at 14:36 — No Comments
Late last week, a job advertisement from a Sydney Optus store was the subject of media attention for its discriminatory language. The job advertisement placed on Seek for a casual retail consultant at its Neutral Bay store stated that candidates who were “Anglo Saxon” and lived near Neutral Bay were preferred.
The advertisement prompted the question – had this Optus store engaged in discriminatory conduct that is considered unlawful under Australia’s anti-discrimination…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 23, 2018 at 14:31 — No Comments
Mobile phones have become somewhat of a permanent extension of the individual in this day and age. It is rare to come across someone who does not have their mobile phone in their hand, pocket, bag or otherwise within reaching distance at all times.
It is concerning, however, when employees seem unable to detach themselves from their mobile phones during work hours. In white-collar industries, employers often face the problem of employees spending too much time at work taking personal…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 23, 2018 at 14:00 — No Comments
In applications for orders to stop bullying, the conduct of an employer will not constitute bullying under section 789FD of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) if it can be shown that the particular conduct is “reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner”.
In some cases, the alleged bullying behaviour will relate to changes that an employer has made to the usual processes and procedures of the business – which can have adverse…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 17, 2018 at 11:54 — No Comments
Employers can often find themselves in a difficult position when they are advised by an employee that they have been charged with a non-work related criminal offence and may be unable to attend for work.
In our previous blog, we suggested caution about acting too quickly in these situations and discussed the need for employers to consider the individual circumstances of employees and to seek legal advice before making any decisions about whether the employee should return to work or…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 17, 2018 at 11:51 — No Comments
Launching an investigation in response to a workplace complaint can be a serious business. Investigators are required to speak to witnesses and review any evidence that is available to them. Weighing the evidence provided during an investigation is a crucial step in reaching a valid conclusion about whether an alleged event or incident occurred as it is said to have occurred.
But what happens when an employee withholds information or evidence that is relevant to an investigation?…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 17, 2018 at 11:48 — No Comments
An employee who was summarily dismissed by her employer for allegedly leaking sensitive business information has been awarded 11 weeks’ compensation in the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
In this case, Bond v Wynbob Pty Ltd  FWC 1337, the employee worked in a carpeting and flooring franchise that was facing a possible take-over by the franchisor.
The manager of the franchise believed that the franchisor’s actions toward claiming ownership over the…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 17, 2018 at 11:04 — No Comments
In order for any employment relationship to function, there needs to a level of mutual trust and confidence between employers and employees. It is often said that this goes to the very “heart” of the employment relationship. Indeed, employees need to trust that their employers will act honestly and not take advantage of them in the same way that employers need to trust that their employees will also act honestly and in the best interests of the business.
It is, unfortunately, not…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 17, 2018 at 11:00 — No Comments
Australian sports fans were shocked when three Australian cricketers were caught up in a ball tampering scandal, leading to the downfall of the Australian cricket captain and his deputy.
The public watched while the story unfolded with the Australian cricket captain initially stating that he and the “leadership group” had instructed another player to tamper with the ball. There was much discussion about how the culture of the Australian cricket team had gone sour and how the team had…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 17, 2018 at 10:56 — No Comments
In the decisions of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Fair Work Ombudsman v Raying Holding Pty Ltd & Anor (No.2)  FCCA 2148 and Fair Work Ombudsman v Raying Holding Pty Ltd & Anor (No.3)  FCCA 668, the General Manager of a labour hire business was fined $43,000 for his involvement in contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) initiated proceedings in…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 6, 2018 at 14:10 — No Comments
It’s that time again – cold and flu season. In this blog, we explore some key issues around managing sick leave during this tricky time of the year.
Sick leave as a paid entitlement has not always existed in Australia. It was in 1922 that the first paid sick leave entitlement appeared in an industrial instrument known as the Engineers Award, which stated that “No employee shall be entitled to payment for non-attendance on the ground of…
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 6, 2018 at 14:04 — No Comments
Managing underperformance and engaging in performance management processes can be difficult and stressful for both employees and their managers.
It is not uncommon for employees who are required to participate in a performance management process to raise concerns about the impacts of the process on their health (often relating to anxiety or stress). When these issues are raised, employers find themselves in a difficult position – how to press on with managing underperformance without…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on April 6, 2018 at 12:30 — No Comments
It is increasingly common for workers, particularly those employed on a part-time basis, to hold multiple jobs. Usually the positions will be with different employers and are worked at different days and times.
In Lacson v Australian Postal Corporation  FCCA 511, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia heard an underpayment application by an employee who claimed that the Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post) did not pay his overtime, rest relief and meal…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 26, 2018 at 11:25 — No Comments
It is a story told and heard often – a small business starts with a single, great idea or product and experiences great success in a very short amount of time. However, problems arise when the business, wishing to grow its success, decides to create more products, open more offices or stores and hire more staff – without having all of the appropriate systems and processes in place to deal with the additional responsibilities and liabilities that are attached to expansion.
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 26, 2018 at 11:20 — No Comments
The loss of client contracts can be devastating for businesses – it can also be par for the course.
Some employers operate exclusively on a continuous rotation of cycling client contracts won and lost regularly. Of course, this a perfectly reasonable way of conducting a business, but what does it mean for the employees engaged to perform work under those contracts?
What is the status of their employment if a client contract is lost? And what are their entitlements if their…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 12, 2018 at 14:33 — No Comments
Two recent work health and safety prosecutions highlight to employers the importance of following adopted safety plans and having regard to available guidance material when developing safety documents and the serious consequences for safety offences.
The harmonized work health and safety legislation creates three categories of offences, the most serious of which is a Category 1 offence, which attracts maximum penalties of
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 12, 2018 at 14:30 — No Comments
For roles that do not require fixed hours or only require staff “as needed”, hiring casual employees is a favoured option of many employers.
The benefit of hiring casual employees is that it provides both the employee and employer with flexibility. Casual employees are engaged to perform work on an ad-hoc basis and do not generally have fixed or regular hours, there is also no guarantee of ongoing employment and the employment relationship technically ends at the conclusion of each…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 12, 2018 at 14:30 — No Comments
A teenage employee of a yoghurt shop has successfully applied to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for the termination of a workplace collective agreement that was “out of step with the contemporary minimum standards set by modern awards”.
In a blog late last year, we discussed the process by which an enterprise agreement can be terminated. In short, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) provides that, once the nominal expiry date of an…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 8, 2018 at 14:25 — No Comments
Record keeping - it’s not many people’s favourite pastime, but it is a critical task for every responsible employer.
Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), employers can be penalised for failing to keep proper records and for failing to issue their employees with pay slips in a timely manner.
The types of records that employers must keep include (but are not limited to) information about the position of the employee (e.g. commencement date and…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 8, 2018 at 14:00 — No Comments
When responding to an unfair dismissal claim or an adverse action claim involving dismissal, there are a range of jurisdictional objections available to employers depending on the circumstances. One of the most frequently utilised jurisdictional objections is that the employee lodged their application outside the 21-day statutory time limit.
When this happens, the only option available to an employee who seeks to make an application out of time is to apply to the Fair Work Commission…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on March 1, 2018 at 13:46 — No Comments