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Consultation with employees - Why, what and when?

The obligation on employers to consult with employees arises in a number of contexts. It is an obligation that often doesn’t get the focus that it requires.

However, the decision in Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association v Qantas Airways Limited (No.2) [2013] FCCA 1696 (28 October 2013) reminds employers that consultation is not something that they can approach as a mere formality in the decision making process.  A failure to consult can result in substantial civil penalties being imposed. In that case, Judge Raphael of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia ordered Qantas to pay $41,250 in penalties for breaching its consultation obligations and for failing to provide information required for effective consultation.

In this In Brief, we examine when employers are required to consult with their employees, what consultation means and the costs of non-compliance.

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