Its Spring! Although it’s still brisk and blustery out there – in the weather and many of our clients’ businesses – with some ongoing workplace issues this year being ensuring the correct classification of workers as either employees or independent contractors, permanent or casual engagement, and new developments in domestic violence leave entitlements and casual conversion rights.
By Mark Cox, Director and Madeleine Brown, Associate
High Court rules in favour of employer in social media freedom of political communication case
Comcare v Banerji  HCA 23
A public servant sacked for publishing 1000’s of anonymous tweets criticising her employer has failed in her bid to challenge her dismissal as a breach of the implied freedom of political communication. Read More
By Mark Cox, Director and Gemma Little, Associate.
Key parental leave employer obligations explained
An employee has requested to work on a part-time basis on return from parental leave. Or a workplace change has resulted in an employee’s position being removed while they are on parental leave. As an employer, what are your obligations? This article outlines the key obligations an employer has while an employee is on, and when they return from, parental leave. Read More
By Mark Cox, Director and Lauren Wright, Law Graduate
Employers successfully making cross claims against former employees
In a recent trend, employers are successfully filing cross claims against employees after the employee has commenced claims against the employer. Two recent Federal cases highlight that employers need to issue cross claims in a timely manner, and that employees need to be aware of the significant financial risks that they could be exposed to if their employer pursues a cross claim against them. Read More
By Renae Harg, Senior Associate
Communication made easier by text message but not made right
Although modern businesses use many communication methods to interact with employees and clients, consideration needs to be given to the communication methods used when dealing with employment and industrial relations issues. This is particularly relevant when dismissing an employee. Read More
By Madeleine Brown, Associate
Employer to Pay $170,000 in Grave Case of Sexual Harassment
In a recent decision of the Federal Circuit Court, Hill v Hughes t/a Beesley and Hughes Lawyers, the Court awarded $170,000 in damages to Ms Hill, a paralegal, who suffered a relentless barrage of sexual harassment by her employer. Read More
By Renae Harg, Senior Associate
Australia amends whistleblower protection laws
New laws providing greater protection for whistleblowers were passed through federal parliament and take effect on 1 July 2019. The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019 (Cth) (Whistleblower Act) was introduced to provide for a single, strengthened whistleblower regime to cover the corporate, financial and credit sectors. Read More
by Renae Harg, Senior Associate and Lauren Wright, Law Graduate
Employment Law: Breach of Confidentiality – what you need to know
Increases in technology have made it easier for employees to transmit their employer’s confidential information. Confidential information such as client lists, supplier information, pricing and financial arrangements, employee arrangements and business strategies can be invaluable to a business. Read More
By Joanna Knoth, Senior Associate and Gemma Little, Lawyer
An employee is not be entitled to be paid for any “reasonable additional hours” they work. However, an employee may be entitled to be paid overtime, penalty rates or other allowances for time worked outside of or in addition to their ordinary hours of work if they are covered by an award or enterprise agreement.
By Conor Fahey, Lawyer
Can a refusal to accept a pay cut result in a genuine redundancy? employers will need to ensure that before enacting any redundancy, there are genuine operational reasons underpinning the decision beyond mere reduction in salaries.