In what circumstances must employees take responsibility for their own actions leading to injuries in the workplace?
In a recent decision of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (OneSteel Recycling Proprietary Limited v Workers’ Compensation Regulator  QIRC 113), a self-insured employer’s decision to deny a worker’s workers compensation claim was upheld on the basis that the worker’s own serious and wilful misconduct lead to his injuries.
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on February 12, 2018 at 15:07 — No Comments
Most employers have a clear understanding of the importance of cultural “fit” to having a happy and productive workforce. Questions about “fit” usually arise during the recruitment process, but are rarely addressed in circumstances involving redundancy and redeployment.
The requirement to implement redundancies usually results from an organisational restructure where an…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on February 12, 2018 at 14:48 — No Comments
Implementing a Code of Conduct is vital to establish and maintain expected standards of behaviour in the workplace. In our previous blog “Oh Behave!: What is a workplace Code of Conduct?” we discussed the typical content of a Code of Conduct and how to utilise this Code to uphold the values of the organisation and provide a behavioural framework in the…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on February 12, 2018 at 14:00 — No Comments
Licensing schemes for labour hire operators will commence operation in both Queensland and South Australia in the first half of 2018, with the Victorian Government also introducing legislation into the State Parliament.
The licensing schemes will commence in South Australia from 1 March 2018 and from 16 April 2018 in Queensland, while the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 is currently before the Victorian Parliament.
These legislative measures have been introduced to…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on February 5, 2018 at 12:57 — No Comments
There can be no doubt that the emergence of the “gig economy” has changed the way we work and is challenging our understanding of the employment relationship.
Since its launch in 2009, Uber has been at the centre of many debates about the gig economy and the characterisation of workers as either employees or independent contractors. Internationally, the status of Uber drivers has played out in several courts and tribunals, with findings on both sides of the aisle according to local…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on February 5, 2018 at 12:45 — No Comments
Across the world, issues of equality and justice have taken centre stage recently. We are experiencing a time of increased awareness about the need to redress past discrimination and prejudice towards many minority groups.
In the employment context, that impact of discrimination and prejudice is most clear when looking at the under-representation of certain groups in particular industries and positions. In response, many employers are making it a goal to rectify those imbalances…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on February 5, 2018 at 12:00 — No Comments
An employer who relied on their zero-tolerance alcohol policy when dismissing an employee who drunkenly tried to access the workplace out-of-hours has successfully defended the dismissal before the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
In Lewer v Inco Ships T/A Inco Ships Pty Ltd  FWC 6666, the FWC heard that an employee, who worked on a tanking vessel, attempted to re-enter the vessel after dinner and a few drinks so that he could sleep-off the alcohol. When he…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 10, 2018 at 13:24 — No Comments
Employees have an implied duty to obey their employer’s reasonable and lawful directions. Whilst employers cannot direct an employee to engage in conduct which is unlawful, the reasonableness of an employer’s direction will depend on the individual circumstances.
In Parkes v Fat Prophets Pty Ltd  FWC 6121, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) held that an employer’s “unreasonable ultimatum” to an employee that he relocate to Sydney or lose his job was a…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 10, 2018 at 13:13 — No Comments
In a recent decision of the Victorian County Court, a university has been ordered to pay $275,000 in damages to a security control room operator who worked on the university campus (Savage v Monash University and Programmed Maintenance Services Ltd  VCC 1774).
The control room operator was walking from her car to the security control room in steel capped boots when she stepped through a puddle onto the uneven surface below and injured her ankle. The ankle injury…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 10, 2018 at 12:54 — No Comments
During the recruitment process, employers want to present their best side to prospective employees in order to entice top talent to join them. Employers can potentially expose themselves to litigation for representations made or made on their behalf that are misleading and deceptive and later relied upon by prospective employees in the recruitment process.
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) provides that it is illegal for a business to engage in conduct that…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 10, 2018 at 12:30 — No Comments
Ending the employment relationship can sometimes be difficult and often, those responsible for facilitating the termination are so relieved to have it all over that they don’t worry about pursuing the return of seemingly insignificant employer property, like used uniform items.
The return of uniform items at the end of employment, particularly those with company branding, can seem like quibbling over something small. However, the purpose of pursuing the return of such property is not…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on January 10, 2018 at 12:25 — No Comments
Most workplaces utilise some form of surveillance, the most obvious of which is monitoring the use of email and internet. Surveillance can also extend to the use of GPS tracking in company vehicles or the use of location services in devices, like mobile phones or tablets.
The use of GPS trackers in vehicles and devices is most common in roles where employees work away from a desk, at multiple different locations throughout the day – like couriers or delivery drivers, tradespersons or…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 12:00 — No Comments
It is almost undisputed that the majority of Australian workers are spending more of their time at the workplace. It is therefore unsurprising that employees and employers are becoming more concerned with the quality of the time that employees spend at work and the relationships they have with their co-workers.
As a result, there has been an increased focus by employers on establishing a positive “workplace culture” through employer-sponsored social events and team-building activities…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 10:56 — No Comments
There is no doubt that social media has changed workplace relations. It has impacted the employment relationship and the relationships employees have with each other.
Throughout 2017 the courts, the tribunals and employers more generally have continued to iron out the wrinkles in how they deal with social media in the workplace.
In this blog, we look back on some of the more interesting social media cases from the year that was 2017.
The employee in…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 10:46 — No Comments
There are two remedies available to an employee claiming unfair dismissal under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) – reinstatement (with any required back-pay) and compensation.
Section 390 of the FW Act makes it clear that reinstatement will be the primary remedy and that the Fair Work Commission (FWC) must not make an order for compensation unless it is satisfied that reinstatement of the person is inappropriate.
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 10:27 — No Comments
In a recent Federal Circuit Court decision, Fair Work Ombudsman v Commercial and Residential Cleaning Group Pty Ltd & Ors  FCCA 2838, Judge Lucev ordered significant penalties against a Perth cleaning company and two of its directors.
The case concerned only three underpaid employees but resulted in more than $510,000 in penalties for contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).
All three employees were Taiwanese…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 10:15 — No Comments
A national campaign with the slogan #SaveDave, which took the dismissal of a union representative employee all the way to the Fair Work Commission (FWC), has highlighted to employers the importance of recognising what is, and what is not, industrial action.
What is industrial action?
The regulation of industrial action set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) is limited, in large part, to…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 9:30 — No Comments
In recent years, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has made it clear that it is prepared to prosecute not only employers, but also individuals and third parties ‘involved in’ contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).
Most recently, the FWO was successful in its prosecution of a Chinese restaurant as well as its sole director, its human resources manager and its store manager for various breaches of the FW Act, which resulted in 85…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 9:27 — No Comments
Recently, the South Australian government announced that two of its employees engaged as carers were found unsuitable to work with children, following the introduction of a new testing and screening process involving psychological testing.
The new tests were introduced following the recommendations of the State’s Child Protection Systems Royal Commission report. As a result, all new applicants for positions as carers in South Australian residential care facilities are now required to…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on December 12, 2017 at 9:04 — No Comments
A recent survey conducted by global workplace solutions group, ManpowerGroup, has revealed that almost 90% of workers are opting for, or at least open to, arrangements that allow for flexibility in lieu of traditional “9 to 5” work arrangements.
The research report, #GigResponsibly – The Rise of NextGen Work, uses the term “NextGen Work” to…Continue
Added by Shane Koelmeyer on November 7, 2017 at 12:00 — No Comments