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Category Archives: Workplace Law Column

ALERT: Changes to modern awards – commenced 1 November 2018

As part of its 4-yearly review, the Fair Work Commission has made changes to a number of modern awards.  The changes are in relation to payment of wages on termination of employment as well as plain language re-drafting of several standard clauses. The changes take effect from the start of the first full pay period…

Out of hours Facebook Messenger post valid reason for dismissal

The FWC have upheld a company’s decision to dismiss an employee after the employee sent a pornographic video to a number of his colleagues through the Facebook Messenger app. One evening, on the employee’s rostered day off, he received a pornographic video message on Messenger from an old friend he had recently reacquainted with.  Later…

Obese worker fails to establish adverse action claim

The Federal Circuit Court has rejected that a security company took adverse action against an obese security guard (‘Applicant’), after the worker claimed he had been discriminated against because of his obesity. The Applicant was engaged to work in a control room at a university campus.  As a result of proven performance concerns, the University…

Court punishes employer for failing to apply casual conversion clause properly

The Federal Court of Australia has fined an employer who refused a employee the opportunity to convert his casual employment to equivalent full-time employment. The employee was a freight handler with a major transport company.  The employee had a right to elect to convert from casual employment to equivalent permanent employment under the both the…

Supervisor fairly dismissed for indecently exposing himself… twice

A wholesale floristry company has successfully defended the unfair dismissal application of a former supervisor. The Fair Work Commission heard that in March 2017, the Supervisor was involved in two incidents, six days apart.  In the first incident, two employees advised the Employer of an incident where the Supervisor had “unzipped his pants, removed his…

Vulnerable workers’ Bill passes through Senate

On 4 September 2017, the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017, passed through the Senate, and after approval of its amendments by the House of Representatives, is now awaiting Royal Assent. Upon receiving Royal Assent, most of the changes contained in the Bill will immediately become active provisions of the Fair Work Act…

Court enforces IT employee’s 4 year restraint of trade

The Supreme Court of Victoria has granted an injunction to an IT company (‘the Applicant’) that commenced an interlocutory application to have an employee (‘the Employee’) restrained from working for a competitor for four years. Prior to June 2016, the Employee had a company which owned 40% of the shares in the Applicant’s company.  The…

FWC slams employer for treatment of injured employee

This particular case involved an employee who was required to have an extended unpaid absence from her employment as a cleaner following complicated surgery to her ankle. About four months after the surgery, a representative of the employer had a discussion with the Applicant about her medical condition and her prospects of a return to…

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