Employment Law & Industrial Relations Archive

Company Ordered To Pay More Than $100,000 For Sexual Harassment By Worker

Full Federal Court Sets New Benchmark The Oracle decision in the Full Court of the Federal Court in July 2014 concerned complaints by an employee Rebecca Richardson, that she had been sexually harassed by a fellow employee on a regular basis over a period of some months.  In the court below, a single Judge of […]

Time to review employment agreements

While employers often take great care to ensure that their employment agreements robustly protect their interests, far fewer employers regularly review them to ensure that they are up to date. Where an employee’s role or responsibilities have changed since they were first employed, their employment agreement may become out of date and, in some circumstances, […]

Employment basics

  It is surprising how often in our practice we come across employers who are unaware of some of the basic legal requirements that have to be met when engaging new employees.   We are talking about employers understanding the fundamentaland minimum statutory obligations that they have and must adhere to when engaging new employees. These […]

Employee requests for flexible working arrangements

Employers may be aware from press reports of the announcement that was made in February 2013 by Bill Shorten, the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, of changes that the Gillard Government wants to make to the Fair Work Act to broaden the right of employees to request flexible working arrangements.   However, many employers may […]

Myths about probationary periods

Sacked for looking too young In a recent case that received widespread media coverage, a real estate agency, Buxton (Sandringham) Pty Ltd, was taken to task by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) for sacking a worker who had been employed for just 2 weeks. The employee was told that the reason for her dismissal was […]

When is a discretionary bonus not discretionary?

Broadly speaking, granting Power of Attorney to another person (grantee) gives the grantee the right to act on behalf of the person who grants the ‘Power’ (grantor). These rights include the power to sign documents on behalf of the grantor. Between family members (particularly between spouses and life partners), Powers of Attorney assist in circumstances […]

Goodbye Trade Practices Act

The new federal Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) has replaced the Trade Practices Act (TPA). The CCA has introduced a number of important changes to the law, including strengthened consumer protections and greater powers to regulators such as the ACCC. Businesses will need to be aware of their new rights and obligations.

Major changes affect employers

A number of important changes introduced by the Fair Work Act 2009 could significantly impact small and medium businesses.  Two recent changes provide new entitlements to employees with children which could have ramifications for your business and staff management. Under these changes brought in by the Fair Work Act 2009, effective 1 January 2010, employees […]

Sex files & summary dismissal

A recent decision has highlighted the need for employers to have robust internet and computer use policies in place. In a recent Victorian County Court decision, an employee, Keith Watson, sought damages against his employer, Swatch Group (Australia) Pty Ltd, for distress as a result of allegedly being directed to engage in price fixing against […]

Don’t get trapped by emails & texts

A recent court battle highlights the dangers of documenting ‘thoughts’ and ‘feelings’ in business emails and text messages that should be the matter of private conversations.