HR News

Human Resources News & Opinion

13 Nov 2019



Probationary problems: Dismissing an employee on their probation period
Some employers proceed under the misapprehension that they can terminate an employee on probation without providing any reason for the dismissal, with the employee unable to pursue any legal claim against them. The recent decision of Pacheco-Hernandez v Duty Free Stores Gold Coast Pty Ltd (No. 2) [2019] FCCA 1295 has shown this is incorrect.
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Can I stop an employee taking annual leave?
It should go without saying that employees should apply for leave and have it approved by their employer before booking any flights, accommodation, tours or activities. But what happens if an employee applies for leave after they’ve booked, or disregard your leave rejection and take time off anyway? Businesses have policies outlining what an employee needs to do before they take that overseas trip, have a day off for some RnR, or can also specify periods where leave will not be granted, such as Christmas and around the New Year.
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Company and its directors charged with industrial manslaughter and reckless conduct in Queensland first
Brisbane Auto Recycling is accused of negligently causing the death of a worker by failing to separate a mobile plant from pedestrians, after a man was hit and killed by a reversing forklift at a wrecking yard in Rocklea earlier in May this year. Under section 34C, the PCBU could be fined up to $10 million. Directors Asadullah Hussaini and Mohammad Ali Jan Karimi could also be fined up to $600,000 each, or jailed for up to five years, if convicted of reckless conduct – category 1 under section 31 of the Act.
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Do you rely on annualised salary arrangements, off-set clauses or over award payments to pay your employees?
Employers’ should be aware of the upcoming changes to the annualised salary arrangements which will take effect from the 1 March 2020 and affect multiple industries. This piece covers the key changes, off-set clauses and common law contracts.
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Redundancy and job insecurity are growing and it's a problem for the economy at large
Many Australians have been painfully aware for some time now that the idea of a "job for life", and the security that comes with that, has long gone. But now career counsellors are warning that anxiety resulting from widespread job insecurity is reaching alarming levels and it has the potential to further harm the economy.
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'Manifestly unfair': Opera Australia sacks singer over social media posts
Opera Australia has sacked one of its singers after it found her claim that her ex-husband impersonated her on social media to make abusive posts was "implausible". Vanessa Lewis, a member of OA’s chorus since 1995, said she will consider legal action against the national opera company after it terminated her employment on October 30 over allegations of misconduct..
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Playing the ‘complexity’ card: Why corporates can’t blame awards for wage theft
Is Australia’s award system so complex that major corporations capable of handling millions of customers and billions of dollars can’t manage to pay employees properly?.
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Age discrimination backfiring on employers
Despite being illegal, it seems that many employers are still discriminating against workers based on their age. And they are doing so to their own detriment, it has been suggested.
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‘The way we’re working, isn’t working’: Dropbox
Would you trial four-hour work days, beach-side remote offices and job swapping to boost productivity? Dropbox Australia tested these and more, and now wants other workplaces to do the same..
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Are you missing your most vital step in managing a bullying complaint?
Employers are commonly told that a key, if not the first, response to a bullying complaint is to implement an investigation. While I agree an investigation, formal or informal, is essential, there is a vital first step required for risk management. That is ensuring your employee is kept safe from mental health injury and further harm with appropriate workplace support. If you don’t, you may be placing your employee at greater risk of psychological injury and breaching your health and safety obligations.
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23 Oct 2019



Change the rules? It's about time
Respectable companies caught underpaying their staff says more about an over-complex workplace system than avarice. If Wesfarmers has underpaid its employees by some $15 million, it is now very obvious the workplace relations system is too complicated.
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Sunglass Hut to back-pay 620 workers
Sunglass Hut will back-pay $2.3 million to employees after breaching Australia’s workplace laws and underpaying 620 staff at stores across the country.
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Time Running Out To Apply For Labour Hire Licences
From 30 October 2019, only labour hire providers who are licensed or are awaiting an application decision will be allowed to operate in Victoria. This is courtesy of Victoria’s first ever Labour Hire Licensing Scheme, which is about protecting vulnerable workers while cracking down on dodgy operators that seek to profit from denying workers minimum pay rates and conditions.
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IR reforms crucial to kick-start the economy: Ombudsman
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says the government’s concerns about Australia’s overly complex industrial relations system are shared by the nation’s small business community.
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Ninety per cent of organisations say employee legislation and awards are confusing or contradictory
New research from Australia’s leading network in payroll training, consultancy and advisory has found that more than nine in 10 organisations find government legislation or employee awards difficult to interpret, with most agreeing that many of these clauses need to be revised or made simpler.
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Government seeks to restore clarity to personal leave entitlements
The Morrison Government will seek leave, in the High Court, to appeal a recent Full Federal Court decision, which has sparked confusion and uncertainty around the way sick and carers leave entitlements should be calculated.
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Employee not entitled to demand flexible work arrangements
The Fair Work Commission has confirmed that whilst an employee with caring responsibilities is entitled to request a flexible working arrangement, an employee is not entitled to demand such a flexible work arrangement even in the most difficult of personal circumstances.
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“Poisonous employee” wins claim of adverse action
This recent Federal Circuit Court decision reminds us of the need for employers to ensure that redundancies are implemented on the basis of genuine operational reasons.

A decision to terminate an employee’s employment or disestablish an employee’s position where there is a lack of evidence around the operational reasons for the decision is likely to be challenged, particularly where an employee has made a complaint or inquiry in relation to their employment.
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Submissions invited on wage theft criminalisation
The Morrison Government is committed to introducing strong and effective criminal sanctions to help stamp out deliberate and systematic wage theft by Australian employers.

Work on legislation is already underway but before a draft Bill is finalised, community feedback is being sought to help inform the development of a new offence and penalty regime, which must include significant jail terms and fines for the most serious offences.
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2 October 2019



City of Sydney wins national HR award
The City of Sydney has been recognised for being an employer of choice for women, winning a national human resources award..
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Psychometric testing is widely used in job recruitment — so it's worth learning how it works
You're qualified. Your CV sings. You interview well. You've got this. Then comes the psychometric test — a series of questions or statements designed to measure your personality characteristics or cognitive abilities.
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Are employers required to pay redundancy if the job is no longer required as a result of the “ordinary and customary turnover of labour”?
When an employer terminates an employee’s contract of employment, they are required to pay an amount for redundancy based on the employee’s years of continuous service. If an employer terminates an employee’s employment, how much redundancy are they obligated to pay and what exceptions might there be to paying redundancy?.
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Can employers legally collect and store employees’ sensitive data?
Ever wondered if your employer is storing your personal data and information? A recent decision by the Fair Work Commission Full Bench has analysed closely whether employers can legally collect and store their employees’ data..
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LinkedIn Connections – Who do They Belong to?
There are a wide range of factors that both employers and employees must take into consideration when ending an employment relationship. Whilst many points on the "end-of-employment checklist" are simple to action and take place without issue, one increasingly common point of contention is the question of what happens to the LinkedIn connections formed by an employee in the course of their employment.
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Are employee claims always crystal clear? If not…what do you do?
When an employee makes a claim against their employer, you should know exactly what the claim is, the evidence they intend to rely on and the remedy or outcome they seek. However, what happens if all these things aren’t clear? How are you supposed to put your best case forward?.
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Expert business guide to the gig economy and the casualisation of the workforce
DESCRIPTIONWith the gig economy increasingly affecting how businesses operate, in particular with regards to how they procure and deliver labour, the key issues for employers are put under the microscope.
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25th Sept 2019



Superannuation guarantee amnesty introduced … again! And this time with a sting in the tail
On 24 May 2018, the Government first introduced a 12-month superannuation guarantee amnesty. The relevant Bill failed to pass the Senate and then lapsed when the federal election was called on 11 April 2019. On 18 September 2019, the Bill was re-introduced, with an amnesty period beginning on 24 May 2018 and ending six months after the legislation receives Royal Assent. The amnesty is being offered as a last chance for employers. In this version of the amnesty, if a taxpayer doesn’t take advantage of the amnesty in relation to historical shortfalls, they will be subject to a penalty of up to 200%. And the Commissioner will lose the power to remit that penalty below 100% for historical quarters.
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When the whistle blows
When a whistleblower complaint is lodged it sets into motion a chain of events and procedures that, if followed correctly, will expose the truth – or falsehood – of the allegation.
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5 Tips for Drafting Position Descriptions
The day to day priorities of management and HR professionals can sometimes leave position descriptions as an afterthought. However, when drafted properly, position descriptions can be an invaluable tool for both employers and employees.
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Service Not Required to trgger an entitlement to leave and the importance of the fine print
The case of CFMMEU v North Wambo Pty Ltd t/as Peabody Energy Australia [2019] FWC 7732 has again raised the often confusing issue of leave accrual in the case of absence through injury..
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Nearly a quarter of firms using temp staff at a senior level
More than one in five, or 22%, of organisations in Australia have employed temporary or contract staff at a senior level over the past year, with another 6% using executive or c-suite candidates for short-term needs, according to data from Hays..
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Remote employment advocate crowned Rural Woman of the Year
Wagga Wagga’s Jo Palmer created Pointer Remote Roles, a platform designed to help people get into work, regardless of where they live. Ms Palmer told Macquarie’s Rural Reporter Eddie Summerfield, it was hard to believe she was named the rural woman of year.
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Baby Boomers less threatened by rapidly evolving technology in the workplace than younger generations
Research commissioned by technology leader Genesys, aimed at improving the understanding of attitudes towards artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, revealed older generations are significantly more positive towards AI technology in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). This suggests they are considerably more comfortable with the implementation of modern workforce tools as opposed to younger respondents.
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18 Sept 2019



Employee claimants can face cross claims from employers
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.
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FWC Prosecution for underpayment and falsifying records
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operator of a Coffee Club outlet in Victoria, alleging they underpaid two young workers a total of more than $15,000 and provided false records to inspectors. Facing the Federal Circuit Court are Edison Peng and his company JMSL Pty Ltd, which owns and operates the Coffee Club franchise outlet at the Westfield Geelong shopping centre.
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Parental Leave — Important Responsibilities As An Employer
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.
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Personal/carers leave - how it should be calculated - latest developments
Employers should, at the very least, keep a watching brief on this significant case. If this case stands then employers may need to revisit how their payroll function accrues for personal leave for shiftworkers to ensure those employees are not short changed. It also, of course, raises the spectre of backpay for employees who did not receive payment for personal/carer's leave in circumstances where they were entitled to it in accordance with the decision.
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Thales signs court-enforceable undertaking
A major manufacturing company has back-paid workers more than $7 million in wages, superannuation and interest, after entering into a Court-Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman. Fair Work Inspectors investigated Thales Australia Limited (Thales) after the company self-disclosed last year that it had paid annual salaries below what employees were entitled to under the applicable enterprise agreements.
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'Massive fail': Bank teller with arthritis fights a big bank and wins
The ANZ has failed in its bid to force a bank teller with arthritis to move to another branch after working in Hoppers Crossing, in Melbourne's western suburbs, for more than 20 years.
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Victims To Have Their Say On Wage Theft
The Andrews Labor Government is calling for victims of wage theft to have their say about new wage theft offences at the first of a series of wage theft forums in Northcote. The Labor Government is holding forums across Victoria and will consult a range of employer groups and unions to ensure the new laws are fair. The forums will be led by Member for Ringwood Dustin Halse.
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Bakers Delight suffers setback in pay agreement with staff
Bakers Delight's application to terminate a pay agreement with employees was rejected because its human resources manager could not be contacted by the Fair Work Commission.
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Taxpayers may foot $1 billion bill for casual workers' back pay
Taxpayers may have to foot the bill for as much as $1 billion worth of casual worker backpay claims, employers warn, as Labor digs in over its bid to remove a regulation aimed at stopping workers from "double dipping" on casual loadings and the entitlements they are supposed to cover.
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CFMEU organisers plead guilty over drug charges
Two construction union organisers have pleaded guilty to charges of drug possession and dealing following a cocaine bust in Sydney's eastern suburbs. Master Builders Association chief executive Denita Wawn said the case "bells the cat" on the CFMEU's hypocrisy. "It’s astounding that despite these charges, the three officials concerned retain expansive rights to enter workplaces and prosecute small businesses," she said.
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11 Sept 2019



No soft landing for returning expats
New research confirms the widely held view that Australian companies are locking out workers returning from overseas.
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Women going backwards at the top of corporate Australia
Gender equality among Australia's top chief executive ranks could be 80 years away, with the latest survey showing female appointments are going backwards and some companies have no women at all in their leadership teams.
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Why don't more dads take parental leave? The answer is in their heads
Men don't — in the main — take parental leave beyond the two-week cigar break that the Australian culture views as permissible. There isn't an awful lot of research in Australia into why this is so. But a survey in 2017 conducted by recruitment agency Hays gives a good indication of the sticking points.
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Privilege is the hidden ingredient for success that we don't talk about enough
The business world's most celebrated success stories all seem to have an opinion on what it takes to reach your goals and dreams. They'll tell you that all you need to do is work hard, fail often, learn from you mistakes, focus on your passion and persist until you reach your goals.
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Think Domestic Violence Has Nothing to do with You as an Employer? Think Again!
“It’s terrible that you’re experiencing domestic violence but what’s it got to do with me? I’m just your employer.” Well, actually, quite a bit, in terms of both general employee entitlements and individual cases.
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What do Employers need to Consider when Terminating Someone on a Visa?
There’s no surprise why companies want to sponsor migrants; their global skills enhance the business’ competitiveness by offering something unique and the company’s culture is enriched with diversity. What happens though when it’s time to call quits on your employment relationship with a visa holder?
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Employer liable for intentional harm by employee – Ward v Allianz Australia Insurance Services [2019] NSWDC 293
In this New South Wales District Court decision, an employer was found liable for the deliberate actions of a manager who verbally and physically bullied the plaintiff over a period of 14 months.
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Underemployment and overemployment problems leave few workers satisfied
Underemployment and overemployment at the same time? It is happening, and it could be keeping you from a wage rise.
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Labor MP wants new approach to employment
New Labor MP Libby Coker used her first speech to parliament to advocate for specific industry plans to ease technological transitions, while investing in research and start-ups. She also floated the idea of a jobs guarantee program, with non-government organisations, local government and the public sector to help train people needing work.
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Say your prayers: what employment law tells us about the Folau case
Forget the media furore, discourse on freedom of religion, widespread public debate and shock jocks’ monologues. The battle between Israel Folau, Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW is a legal one. That battle will be played out between the goalposts set by Australian employment law. The current state of employment law in this country looks like it will produce a far clearer outcome than some would have you believe.
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3 September 2019



The business impact of proposed religious discrimination laws
Employers are urged to be mindful of proposed legislation put forward which aims to target religious discrimination in the workplace.
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‘Give us more training’, say payroll managers
The people in charge of ensuring employees are paid correctly and on time are reporting significant training shortfalls, according to the industry association — and most are unable to rely on government agencies to answer their resulting questions.
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Don't mention the R word! Strategies for older workers' third acts.
The global population aged 60 years or over numbered 962 million in 2017, and is expected to double by 2050 to nearly 2.1 billion, according to the United Nations. Perhaps driven by the sheer force of baby boomer numbers and influence, societal attitudes towards older workers are becoming more positive, and that’s something older workers can use to give them ammunition and confidence.
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These figures show just how much working life has changed for women
The good news is policies to make work more flexible are keeping women working, however they still face the struggles that come with going part-time
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Buy now, pay later: AI and the ‘red-light risk' for millions of Australian jobs
Supermarkets are among the businesses forging ahead with new technology, and observers warn that cutting jobs is a prime motive
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'Nothing to show': how Australia's gender pay gap is harming older women
Figures released on Thursday show the national gender pay gap remains stable at 14% and the gap between full-time average weekly earnings for men and women was $241.50 per week.
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Be a Safety Champion!
October is National Safe Work Month. This year’s theme demonstrates that anyone, both employers and workers from any occupation or industry can be a champion for work health and safety. Everyone can support a safety culture at their workplace and promote best practice work health and safety initiatives.
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Flexible working, the neglected congestion-busting solution for our cities
One obvious solution to traffic congestion, caused mostly by workers commuting to jobs in the city centre during peak hours, might appear to be building more, or bigger, roads. But a less-obvious answer, and potentially a more cost-effective one, might be to increase flexible working arrangements.
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28 August 2019



No respect: STEM jobs 'spit women out'
Some two-thirds of women working in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers say their views or voices are devalued because of their gender, while 40 per cent have borne the brunt of sexist jokes or offensive comments, a survey has found.
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“Not doing this would be silly”: ING ditches ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ labels and adopts equal paid parental leave
Australian bank ING has made an important leap on paid parental leave equality, becoming the first bank in the country to give both parents equal access to 14 weeks’ paid leave, removing ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ labels in the process. “We are a contemporary, modern employer trying to attract people to work for us. Not doing this would be silly,” ING’s head of retail banking Melanie Evans told a forum while announcing the launch in Sydney.
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WA to introduce industrial manslaughter penalty into WHS law
The McGowan Government will introduce a new Work Health and Safety Bill that will modernise workplace safety laws, better protect workers and hold those responsible for any workplace deaths. One of the main features of the legislation is the introduction of two new offences of industrial manslaughter
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Sick leave win for Cadbury shift workers could flow on across Australian workplaces
Two Tasmanian Cadbury workers have won a Federal Court case brought by the chocolate maker's parent company Mondelez over their sick leave entitlements, in a determination that is expected to have ramifications across Australia.
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Lion bans salary questions for job applicants
Lion Co has become one of the first companies to ban questions to job candidates about their salary history in an effort to tackle the gender pay gap. The brewer, which owns brands Boags, James Squire and Hahn, announced on Monday that it had scrubbed salary questions from its job applications and officially banned them from interviews after finding they perpetuated lower salaries for women.
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Industrial relations overhaul could hurt unions and workers
Australian workers could be caught in the crosshairs of the country’s biggest industrial relations shakeup in over two decades, according to the Labor Party and union insiders.
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Paid parental leave for dads a key to narrowing gender pay gap
Asdís Arnalds, from the faculty of social work at the University of Iceland, will give the keynote address at the Australian National University on Thursday about how her country has doubled the proportion of fathers who take paternity leave from 40 per cent to 80 per cent since it was extended from six months to nine months.
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What Gender Pay Gap? Big little lies?
Is the Gender Pay Gap a myth? Is it really 'a thing'? Don't we all know plenty of women who are paid the same as men? Welcome to Equal Pay Day! A day to unpack the myth from the muddle and nonsense. Yes, the Gender Pay Gap is indeed 'a thing'. Today marks the additional 59 days women have to work from the end of the last financial year to earn the same amount as men.
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Why Women Quit
One of the biggest conversations in the business world here in 2019, smack in the middle of a time characterized by misogynist mobs, the rollback of reproductive rights, and #MeToo, is why the hell women don’t occupy more leadership positions in business.
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On the brink of privacy class actions in Australia
This article provides a snapshot of the class actions and legal regime in Australia with respect to privacy breaches, and to provide predictions about the future landscape in anticipation of the pending decision from the Australian Information Commissioner. It concludes with a list of measures your organisation can take to prepare.
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Biometric scanning in the workplace: Can employees refuse consent?
Technology enabling facial, fingerprint and iris scans offers employers an efficient and accurate means to secure their workplaces, monitor and record their employees’ time and attendance. Yet there are serious privacy concerns when it comes to biometric technology. Once you collect the data it is vulnerable to be misused or hacked. You can change passwords, but you can’t change your fingerprint or iris scan.
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21 August 2019

Eight reasons why introverts make great leaders
Susan Cain’s TED talk and book Quiet: The Power of Introverts brought to light the amazing qualities of introverts.
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ICAC report reveals culture of bullying and sexual harassment in South Australian public service
The ICAC Public Integrity Survey has uncovered widespread allegations of "toxic" workplace cultures within the public service where staff were "too scared to report" misconduct and corruption for fear of losing their jobs.
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'Lunch in their cars': Workers battle stress and trauma in their jobs
Almost half of 25,000 working people say they have experienced trauma or distressing situations at work, a survey has found. And just under a third (31 per cent) said they had experienced violence after being abused, threatened or assaulted by clients, customers or co-workers.
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Hydro Tasmania wins national mental health award
Expanding its workplace health program to put a greater focus on mental health has netted Hydro Tasmania a national award. Hydro Tasmania won the Workplace Life Award for its A New Mindset program at the 2019 National Suicide Prevention Australia Conference.
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How to get your boss to say 'yes' to a flexible working arrangement
Sally Henderson is a career Mum with 3 kids who wants her boss to say yes to a flexible work arrangement. But despite more Australian employers offering flexible work conditions as a way to help employees achieve work life balance, Sally’s boss, at an undisclosed Sydney Council, isn’t on board.
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There is no correlation between age and value, but ageism is always a sign of stupidity
The notion that age is a realistic predictor of skills, relevance, wisdom and value is rubbish. It is not, nor will ever be, the total determinant of connectivity, smarts and success. There are just so many other components to throw in and mix in the evaluation pot.
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Researchers seek to identify optimal workplace design
Plans have been unveiled by the Association of Australasian Acoustical Consultants to crowdfund a research project that will explore how best to design workplaces for optimal productivity and employee performance.
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Not-for-profit organisations to be bound by Whistleblower Protection Regime
From 1 July 2019, any not-for-profit organisations operating as a trading or financial corporation are required to comply with the new whistleblower protection regime under Part 9.4AAA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Organisations should assess whether they meet the definition of ‘trading or financial corporation’. ‘Trading’ in this sense refers to the sale of goods or services, while ‘financial’ relates to borrowing, lending, investing or providing advice on financial matters.
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Can a meeting to discuss carer’s leave be administrative action?
Key Points: The Federal Court was asked to consider the meaning of the phrase “administrative action”. The Federal Court found in favour of the employee and decided that he was entitled to compensation in respect to his adjustment disorder with anxious mood.
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No diagnosis? No worries: Tribunal accepts claim for symptoms
The absence of a concrete medical diagnosis will not be a barrier to making a successful claim. Further, an aggravation of symptoms may be enough to establish that an employee has suffered an injury or disease for the purposes of the SRC Act.
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Everything you need to know about giving a formal warning
So, when should you issue a warning, and how do you put it into writing? We asked experts in workplace law and HR to share their best practice tips on formal written warnings.
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14 August 2019

Federal Government urged to axe 'better off overall' test to streamline EBA process
Enterprise bargaining agreements have become "Downton Abbey-sized laundry lists" and need to be "unscrambled" to lift productivity and wages growth, the Business Council of Australia says.
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“WorkChoices 2.0”: Furor as Coalition backbenchers call for SME unfair dismissal exemption
Opposition Industrial Relations Spokesperson Tony Burke has called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to rule out changes which would “make it easier for bosses to sack people” after reports emerged Coalition backbenchers are pushing to exempt SMEs from unfair dismissal laws.
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Liberal senator says employers must be able to sack workers who are not 'the right fit'
Labor and unions have hit back at calls by a Liberal senator for employers to be able to sack workers if they are not “the right fit”, arguing the Coalition is preparing to gut unfair dismissal laws.
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Deeds of Release and their effectiveness – update 2019
This arti­cle looks at fac­tors which may impact upon the cer­tain­ty and dura­bil­i­ty of deeds of release and also the extent if any, to which a deed of release entered into in the employ­ment set­ting, oper­ates to min­imise or pre­clude the inter­ven­tion of the Fair Work Ombudsman in exer­cis­ing its func­tions under the Fair Work Act.
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RBA fail: Migrant visa boom crushing Australian wages
Entire industries have become heavily reliant on migrant workers to perform low-skilled work in the labour market for below award rates, which is unambiguously undercutting local workers and lowering overall wage growth. If anything, the rise of female and elderly participation is a response to the failing wages growth arising from the mass immigration model as it destroys industrial relations, leaving households no choice but to work harder and longer.
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Dismissal by SMS, not OK - FWC
Terminating an employee’s employment can be a confronting situation. It is difficult news to deliver and is often fuelled with emotion. For those reasons, many managers and employers attempt to avoid conflict or confrontation by delivering the news in a way that doesn’t involve a face to face meeting, such as in email or text message. In two recent decisions, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has warned against such an approach and has heavily criticised two separate employers who dismissed employees via text message.
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Cyber Restraints Of Trade In The New Era Of Digital Markets
An enforceable restraint of trade can be a key business asset, giving an employer time to recover when a senior employee has left the business for a competitor. Like a good insurance policy, it’s a big relief to have it when you need it.
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A civil, civil service – restraint and moderation in the Australian Public Service
The High Court of Australia's decision in Comcare v Banerji clarifies the extent to which a public sector employer can restrict their employees' ability to freely and publicly express their political views. This alert considers the possible implications for public and private sector employers.
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Keep­ing the High Court deci­sion in Com­care v Baner­ji in perspective
There has been some com­men­tary that this case will have wide­spread reper­cus­sions for free­dom of speech for all employ­ees, includ­ing those in the pri­vate sec­tor.
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Fair Work Act general protections for a corporate whistleblower?
The general protections scheme under Part 3-1 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) protects employees from adverse action taken against them by their employer because they have or exercise a workplace right. One of the protected ‘workplace rights’ is that in s 341(1)(c)(ii) – the ability of an employee to make a complaint in relation to their employment. This has founded a substantial proportion of general protections claims.
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Outside hours conduct of teacher justifies instant dismissal
This decision confirms the legal position established in several other cases that schools can take into account teachers' out-of-hours behaviours when making decisions in relation to their ongoing employment.
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7 Aug 2019

Law firms pay price for poor HR record
Almost all large and mid-sized law firms have an in-house human resources (HR) team to handle recruitment, development, reward and other people issues. A high-performing trusted HR team is essential in winning the war for top talent. Unfortunately, many firms are shooting themselves in the foot by having poor relationships in and around HR. At its extreme, it goes something like this…
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Does Australia have a 'job snob' problem?
With some in the Australian Government's own ranks arguing for a lift in the unemployment benefit, senior ministers appear to be upping the rhetoric about joblessness being a matter of choice for many.
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Unfair dismissal rules failing core objectives: Ombudsman
A formal review of Australia’s Small Business Fair Dismissal Code has recommended sweeping changes to simplify the rules, finding that the current law “is not delivering what was intended”.
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Did you cheer for Israel Folau's sacking? Sorry, but you can't have it both ways
Under the Fair Work Act, it is illegal to sack an employee by reason of the employee's religion. There is scant case law about what this protection means.
Folau's is a test case in which the court will need to determine whether the word "religion" should be interpreted to include protection for an employee's religious expression and activities. If the court finds in Folau's favour, the furious debate about Folau's contract will have been for nought. Employment contracts and codes of conduct can't subvert anti-discrimination laws.
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A quarter of young people working multiple jobs
Startling new figures from the ABS show that one in four Australians under the age of 30 are having to work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet. But which state or territory has the highest incidence of people employed in multiple roles simultaneously?
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Seven workplace hazards commonly overlooked by employers
Employers are required by law to provide a safe, risk-free work environment for all employees. This will include assessing and monitoring the workplace for risks, and listening to and consulting all workers.
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Fact Sheet On Legal Protections For Mature Workers
The ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) has released a fact sheet on legal protections for mature workers in Australia, outlining the national and state laws protecting them from discrimination and upholding their right to seek flexible work arrangements. It also addresses the way workplace health and safety laws can be uniquely relevant to older Australians.
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Public servant loses free speech High Court case over tweets criticising government policies
Michaela Banerji argued she had been unlawfully fired in 2013, from what was then the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
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Shocking yet not surprising: wage theft has become a culturally accepted part of business
Many Australians are shocked by celebrity chef George Calombaris being caught for underpaying employees A$7.8 million. But what should not be a surprise is the prevalence in Australia of wage theft – typically underpaying award rates and entitlements such as overtime, superannuation and penalty rates.
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31 July 2019

Why data is the key to Finance/HR collaboration
Digital transformation offers an important opportunity for CFOs and CHROs to work closely together to drive business performance. But translating a talent strategy into a business strategy requires both parties to have access to the same data. How can both teams get a consistent, 360-degree view of metrics and a cohesive set of analytics to make data-based decisions?
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NAB appoints Group Chief People Officer
National Australia Bank has announced the appointment of Susan Ferrier as Group Chief People Officer. Ms Ferrier has extensive experience as a Chief People Officer and in other senior executive human resources roles, working in Australia and overseas for multi-jurisdictional businesses.
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Sexual harassment— award of aggravated damages
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.
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Australia's international reputation 'at risk' over treatment of visa workers
Narendra Shetty was set to open his first restaurant in Mumbai when the opportunity to sharpen his culinary skills through an internship in Australia seemed too good to refuse.
"Australia is known for culinary things," he said. "I came here ... to improve ... to learn more about [cooking] seafood, steaks, pastries, basic cutting skills and appetisers".
Mr Shetty, who signed a contract with Australian Internships to work at the Escarpment Group of hotels in the Blue Mountains, including the Hydro Majestic and Lilianfels, now faces the potential risk of deportation after he allegedly complained about his fixed salary and being asked to pay above-market rent.
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Wage theft or honest mistake? Small business hits back
Small business owners fear the Morrison government's plan to criminalise wage theft may unfairly target those who make "honest mistakes" and are demanding changes to the award system to make it easier for them to pay workers correctly.
Australia's industrial relations umpire Iain Ross says he understands the concerns, agreeing the system could be difficult to navigate.
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Employers could face jail over wage theft under new laws
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has put employers on notice that those who exploit workers may soon face criminal penalties, after a company whose directors include celebrity chef George Calombaris was fined for underpaying staff $7.8 million. "Right now, the Attorney-General is drafting laws to deal with criminalising worker exploitation," Mr Morrison confirmed during parliamentary question time on Wednesday.
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Prime Minister ups pressure on Labor over union reforms
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sharpened his attacks on Labor over new laws which would ban militant union officials who serially break the law. Mr Morrison took aim at Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese in a speech in Perth on Saturday afternoon, saying his actions don't match his words on "thuggish" union behaviour.
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ACTU lobbies crossbenchers to oppose Coalition's 'unfair' union-busting bill
ACTU president Michele O’Neil says laws will make it possible for government ministers and disgruntled employers to shut down unions
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24 July 2019

Worker fired for refusing to use fingerprint sign-in wins appeal
Businesses collecting biometric data from their employees are being advised to review their processes after the Fair Work Commission (FWC) ruled in favour of a worker fired for refusing to use a fingerprint scanner.
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Australians know working sick is bad for them, but they do it anyway
We’re often told Australians love pulling sickies, but this winter, businesses are being warned to watch out for the opposite. A YouGov poll of about 1,000 Aussies released this week has found a whopping two-thirds (66%) expect to go into work sick this winter.
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Why Employees Don’t Share Knowledge with Each Other
Companies want employees to share what they know. After all, research has found that this leads to greater creativity, more innovation, and better performance, for individuals, teams, and organizations. Yet despite companies’ attempts to encourage knowledge sharing (think of those open office spaces), many employees withhold what they know — a phenomenon known as knowledge hoarding or knowledge hiding.
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Companies wasting millions on diversity programs
Australian companies, government organisations and charities are wasting millions of dollars on diversity and inclusion programs, with human resources professionals conceding that nearly a third of initiatives designed to promote a more balanced workplace are either never or rarely effective.
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Why socialising in the workplace is vital for strong business
Cultivating a culture of positivity and wellness in the workplace is more important than ever as Australia experiences a mental health crisis. In fact, encouraging strong social connections should be a top priority for all businesses, particularly in a world consumed by social media and reduced social interaction.
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Wage theft is a business model. Let's criminalise it
Australia’s high-end restaurant sector has again been exposed as rotten, with George Calombaris’s restaurant business paying back nearly $8 million to hundreds of workers. For years, many of the biggest names in the industry have made their fortunes on the back of their staff who’ve worked extraordinarily long hours for terrible pay.
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Reasonable Additional Hours – What All Employers Must Know
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...
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New whistleblower laws apply from 1 July 2019: three things affected employers should do
The Act makes important changes to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) affecting almost all companies, including foreign corporations, trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth, ADIs, NOHCs, super funds, and insurers. This means thousands of Australian employers will need to rapidly change their approach to whistleblowing.
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Sticks and stones may break your bones but mean words… are a risk to health and safety!
Stop and take a moment to look around your office, workplace, or wherever you may be sitting. Spot at least five of your colleagues? Odds are one of them has experienced mental ill-health in the last month. Or maybe you did.
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10 July 2019

How family-friendly are Australian workplace policies?
According to UNICEF, not very friendly at all ...
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Is traditional long service still relevant?
With the changing nature of employment, more people are changing jobs more often, making it harder to access long service leave, but is it even necessary?
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Go home on time! Working long hours increases your chance of having a stroke
Australia is in the bottom third of OECD countries when it comes to working long hours, with 13% of us clocking up 50 hours or more a week in paid work. These long hours are bad for our health. A new study from France has found that regularly working long days of ten hours or more increases our risk of having a stroke.
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Research: Women Score Higher Than Men in Most Leadership Skills
So why are only 4.9% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 2% of S&P 500 CEOs women? Could it be down to confidence?
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Employers beware: If you cant say anything nice, dont say anything at all
The last few years have seen a significant spike in defamation litigation, much of which seems to have been prompted by careless comments made either via email or on social media platforms...
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Australian employment opportunities misaligned with job seekers' needs, study warns
Australia's labour market and the interests of employers and employees are seriously misaligned, according to a study by a leading jobs website.
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When is swearing in the workplace a basis for dismissal?
A useful analysis of previous cases by law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth
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General Protections claims – beware of personal liability
It has been more than 8 years since the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) came into force, however many business owners and senior managers are unaware of the existence and effect of the "General Protections" regime contained in Part 3-1 of the Act. (and that they can be sued personally!)
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16 January 2019

Australia’s Modern Slavery Act: compliance cost or business opportunity?
Australia's Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (the Act) is a significant move towards the eradication of slavery that has been largely well received by business and embraced by civil society. The Business Council of Australia welcomed the establishment of the Act, noting that 'business is committed to identifying forced labour and weeding it out of tainted supply chains'. The Business Council also acknowledged that greater transparency in supply chains will drive 'better practice'.
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Hungry Jack's accused of advertising for government-funded interns for summer period
The Retail and Fast Food Workers Union has accused Hungry Jack's of seeking interns to fill its summer workforce, relying on a taxpayer-funded payments to cover a busy time of the year. The union shared an image of a job advertisement on Facebook, which says it is "looking to help out young people with their first job" and would offer interns 15 hours per week in stores in Sydney.
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NT Police Commissioner taken to court by lower-ranking officer passed over for promotion
A Northern Territory police officer who was passed over for promotion has taken the extraordinary step of taking his commissioner to court - but his attempt to block the appointment of five successful applicants was dismissed. In Supreme Court today, Senior Sergeant Lee Morgan's lawyers said he had been second in line for the promotion, until an internal issue saw him removed from the pool by NT Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw.
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BHP driver sacked after Pilbara train derailment claims unfair dismissal
BHP has sacked the driver of a train which was deliberately derailed in Western Australia's remote Pilbara last year, carrying 30,000 tonnes of iron ore. The fully-laden train, pulling 268 carriages, was derailed early on November 5, about 120 kilometres south of Port Hedland.
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New National Employment Standards entitlement to family and domestic violence leave
On 12 December 2018, the Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Act 2018 (the Amendment Act) took effect. As a result, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) was amended to provide employees with a new entitlement of five days' unpaid family and domestic violence leave as part of the National Employment Standards (NES).
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The Productivity Commission inquiry was just the start. It's time for a broader review of super and how much it is needed
There’s a lot in the Productivity Commission’s landmark 722-page table-thumper of a report into Australia’s superannuation system, completed after nearly three years of invesigation. For now, I’ll make three comments.
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It's not just the isolation. Working from home has surprising downsides
What if you never had to return to work? Never had to return to work at the office, that is. You'd be able to juggle kids on school holidays. You wouldn't need to navigate traffic jams. Your employer might gain increased productivity, lower turnover and lower lease costs. But there are less obvious downsides...
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An Employee's Commute Thwarts an Employer Commuting Redundancy Pay
In the recent Fair Work Commission (FWC) decision in Australian Footwear T/A Diana Ferrari [2018] FWC 7864 the employer, a business trading under the name Diana Ferrari, applied to the FWC to vary the redundancy amount payable to an employee, Ms Tzortzis, whose employment was terminated on the basis of redundancy, to nil.
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The Fair Work Act and WHS Act: Should they go in the recycling bin with used wrapping paper?
The Fair Work Act has been the core industrial law governing Commonwealth Government and private sector employers for over a decade and, despite changes in Government (and six changes in Prime Minister!), the National Employment Standards and remedies available for unfair dismissal and general protections remain largely unchanged. Similarly, the Model Work Health and Safety Acts have seen limited legislative amendment, despite multiple changes in State and Territory governments. However, the familiarity of employers with these laws stands ready for significant change.
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19 December 2018

Federal Government announces casual employee amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
Jobs and Industrial Relations Minister, Kelly O'Dwyer, has announced new regulations and legislation under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to address `double dipping' claims by casual employees and casual conversion rights.
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Easier pay rises for workers in women-dominated industries under new Labor plan
Labor will enshrine gender pay equity into law as a principle guiding the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and remove barriers to equal pay applications in women-dominated industries if elected. Under changes announced on the last day of Labor's national conference in Adelaide today, the capacity of the FWC to order pay increases for workers in industries such as early childhood education, aged care and disability services will be strengthened.
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How small business owners can support their employees' health and wellbeing
Just as employers play a critical role in setting performance targets and goals for employees, employers also have the power to build a healthier workforce where staff are not just productive, but happier as well. Studies show 40.3% and 20.2% of employees are overweight or obese respectively, which costs the economy $637 million a year. And if you think that simply means a cost to the healthcare system, you'd be surprised to learn it also includes costs to productivity, as businesses are adversely affected by increased rates of absenteeism amongst workers with obesity.
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Easier pay rises for workers in women-dominated industries under new Labor plan
Labor will enshrine gender pay equity into law as a principle guiding the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and remove barriers to equal pay applications in women-dominated industries if elected. Under changes announced on the last day of Labor’s national conference in Adelaide today, the capacity of the FWC to order pay increases for workers in industries such as early childhood education, aged care and disability services will be strengthened.
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Workers compensation claims for psychological injury - dual HR and injury investigation - why both?
An employer who investigates an employee for any matter - performance, code of conduct issues, grievance complaints or anything else - can sometimes find themselves then dealing with a subsequent workers compensation claim for psychological injury. The timing of the compensation claim can vary. It can emerge at the beginning of the HR investigation. Sometimes, the claim can be made following the investigation or, often, when leave entitlements run out.
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Changes to casual employment - what you need to know
In the past few months, there has been a flurry of activity, discussion and legal changes in relation to casual employees. This article will tell you what you need to know.
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Directors' Liability for Employee Entitlements
In the December issue of the LexisNexis Inhouse Counsel Newsletter - Volume 22 Number 9&10, Tom Darbyshire looks into the implications of The Corporations Amendment (Strengthening Protections for Employee Entitlements) Bill 2018 (Cth) (the Bill) that was introduced into parliament on 20 September 2018. "Over the last year, much has been written and said in Australia about phoenixing, the process whereby the directors of a company transfer its assets or operations to another entity, leaving its debts behind and its creditors unpaid.
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FWO Report Shows There is Much to be Done
The Fair Work Ombudsman's October 2018 Report (Report) into National compliance reinforces one or two truisms that are unfortunately part of the baggage that continues to burden our industrial relations system. In addition to shining a light on those areas of our economy where non-compliance remains a huge problem, the Report tells us that almost 40% of previously non-compliant employers continue to offend.
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Union officials 'sound the alarm' on industrial relations as Labor holds firm on its policies
Union boss Sally McManus has declared she is "sounding the alarm" on rising inequality and unfairness and signalled she would turn to a Shorten Labor government to deliver more industrial relations reforms. Addressing the final day of the ALP conference in Adelaide, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) secretary received a standing ovation as she demanded action to address insecure jobs and stagnant wages growth.
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Woolworths application for Christmas Day shifts rejected by industrial umpire
Woolworths staff will not be allowed to work Christmas Day in NSW after the Industrial Relations commission struck down a request from the supermarket chain.
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5 December 2018

Trial period provisions continue to cause headaches for employers
Mr Roach was offered the job of Business Manager at Nazareth. Mr Roach signed an employment agreement which contained a trial period, and the parties agreed on a start date. However, before Mr Roach started work as the Business Manager, he was offered the job of General Manager by Nazareth. Mr Roach accepted this offer and signed a new employment agreement, which also contained a trial period. The parties agreed that Mr Roach would start working on the previously agreed date, but as the General Manager.
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Christmas party season: if it isn't official, it isn't compensable
Ms Fiona Mozsny was a public servant who had been employed at a Service Centre within the Department of Human Services. On 10 December 2016, Ms Moszny suffered a left knee injury when she was pulled over by a drunk co-worker at a Christmas party organised and attended by a group of public servants. Ms Moszney made a claim for the injury. Comcare denied liability on the grounds that the injury had not arisen out of, or in the course of, Ms Mozsny's employment given the Christmas party was not a Department-approved or Department-organised function.
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The bold and the brave: How to speak up against bad culture
It seems speaking up is (finally) getting the traction it deserves. Whether it's calling out sexist behaviour or airing a systemic wrong that has flourished unchecked for years, plain speaking is definitely having a moment. Julia Banks' high-profile defection to the federal parliament crossbench a few days ago, and her eloquent speech about bullying in the Liberal ranks in the wake of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's dumping, paves the way for Julia to exercise her beliefs along with other political independents - hopefully continuing a tradition begun by the late Ted Mack.
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Three tips for managing annual leave in a small team over the holiday period
How much annual leave is the right amount? How do you balance the desire for work-life balance against the need to keep your business moving forward? Certain Australian companies are starting to offer extra annual leave, with some employers removing limits on leave entitlements altogether.
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Section 318 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 proves fatal to a slip in the pleadings
In Hall v Ecoline Pty Ltd T/As Treetop Adventure Park [2018] NSWSC 1732 Davies J had to decide whether the plaintiff could rely upon a statement of claim which was materially different to his pre-filing statement. The plaintiff was employed by Mars Australia Pty Ltd ((Mars) the second Defendant). At the time of his injury, the plaintiff was engaged in an off-site team-building exercise at an adventure park operated by Ecoline Pty Ltd t/as Treetop Adventure Park ((Treetops) the first Defendant).
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At last, Australia has a Modern Slavery Act. Here’s what you’ll need to know
It has taken years, but after votes in the Senate and House of Representatives last week, Australia has a Modern Slavery Act. It’ll take effect on January 1. But what difference will it make? First, what is modern slavery?
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ICAC report condemns SafeWork SA following failed prosecutions
South Australia's anti-corruption watchdog has released a scathing report into SafeWork SA, saying the workplace safety agency fails to carry out most of the functions expected of it and is at serious risk of corruption. The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) launched the evaluation following two high-profile failed prosecutions, and a large number of complaints against the body.
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Penalty for newspaper director
The former director of a Sydney newspaper publisher has been penalised after threatening and later sacking a journalist who sought assistance from the Fair Work Ombudsman. The Federal Circuit Court has ordered Theodore Skalkos, sole director of F.L. Press Pty Ltd, to pay $27,500 in penalties to a former employee of the Serbian-language Novosti newspaper.
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Important support for retrenched workers
The Coalition Government has agreed its first partnerships under the innovative Stronger Transitions package, partnering with two Melbourne businesses to deliver training and support to workers before retrenchment, helping them to move to new jobs sooner. Earlier this year, both Bitzer and Dunlop Flooring separately announced they would be ending their operations in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine.
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Remote work is the 'new frontier', but is it really the death of the office?
Mike Eckstein was living the "millennial dream", working for an exciting start-up in Chicago, far from the cloistered tech scene at home in Sydney. In his late 20s, flexible work was the last thing on his mind - something for parents and part-retirees. Then his mum got sick with a degenerative disease that demanded round-the-clock care. Mr Eckstein packed up his new life and moved back to Sydney.
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Wages crisis threatens to cause a financial meltdown, killing a 'fair go'
Low wages growth is undermining financial stability, curtailing economic growth, driving people into dangerous indebtedness, deepening inequality and undermining the Australian social compact built on the principle of a "fair go". That's the conclusion of a new book produced by some of Australia's leading labour market scholars and researchers, The Wages Crisis in Australia.
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28 November 2018

How to stop paying compensation after 33 years
Ms Tocade suffered an aggravation of pre-existing arthritis in the neck at a work function in 1984. Comcare paid compensation for some 33 years, until 29 May 2017, when Comcare determined it was no longer liable to pay compensation for medical expenses and incapacity.
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Injured on a work trip: is the employer liable? AAT considers another hotel injury claim
While on a work trip, the applicant slipped over at her hotel after a night out drinking. The Tribunal found that the injury was sustained in an interval from her employment as the activities undertaken were not induced or encouraged by Telstra.
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To Protect (your income) and Serve
Damages are capital and not "income" under an income protection policy. To reduce compensation benefits due to a payment of damages for loss of earning capacity, income protection policies need to be clearly worded to do so.
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The Christmas party - what are the employer's responsibilities?
We have all heard stories where people let their hair down at the Christmas party - and the boozy office bash turns messy. A number of untoward things can take place! We have reached that time of the year when we need to remind ourselves and staff about acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour. Clearly unwelcome, uninvited and sometimes unintentional behaviour that can make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated is unacceptable.
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Five strategies for dealing with a manipulative co-worker
Manipulators in everyday life are not necessarily bad people. You might admire or even love a manipulator (they are frequently found in family contexts), but feel tormented by their constant conniving. I've dealt with a variety of difficult people over recent weeks, like the needy, controlling and aggressive, or the disrespectful, moody and procrastination-prone, but for many of us, the manipulator is especially challenging because they push our emotional buttons.
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When a consequential condition does not result from a work injury
The worker brought proceedings in the Workers Compensation Commission claiming compensation pursuant to section 60 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 for treatment of claimed right shoulder and right clavicle conditions. He claimed those conditions were compensable for two reasons: 1. His right shoulder condition arose as a result of him favouring that shoulder after suffering compensable injury to his left shoulder on 13 July 2010, and 2. He injured his right clavicle when he fell while getting out of a car on 2 July 2017. He claimed because of the problems with his shoulders he was unable to brace against the impact of the fall as a result of which he injured his clavicle.
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Let's get flexible, flexible
The Fair Work Commission is getting serious about normalising family-friendly working arrangements. From 1 December 2018, all modern awards will require employers to genuinely try to reach agreement with their award-covered employees on a flexible working arrangement, if requested by the employee.
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Contractors vs Employees: who do I need to pay superannuation to?
As an employer, one of the most important factors to keep in mind with regard to the engagement of contractors is ensuring that you get the on-costs right. The rules for superannuation, payroll tax and workers compensation are complicated, not only due to the general uncertainty surrounding the tests used to classify workers as either employees or contractors, or the grab bag of considerations to be taken into account, but also thanks to the fact that legislation in each area prescribes different exceptions or extensions to those rules.
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Redefining workers in the platform economy: lessons from the Foodora bunfight
Had Foodora's Australian operations not already gone into voluntary administration, the November 16 decision of the Fair Work Commission might well have finished the food-delivery company off. The commission upheld former courier Josh Klooger's unfair dismissal complaint against Foodora. In doing so, it found Foodora had incorrectly classified him as an independent contractor, rather than an employee.
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Mining firms set up LGBTI inclusion policies, but more work needs to be done
The participation of women in the mining and resources sector has long been discussed, but more recently attention has been drawn to the experiences of workers who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI). One of Western Australia's biggest mining companies, Alcoa, is at the forefront of that debate, admitting the sector is not the beacon of diversity it should be.
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RCR Tomlinson collapse leaves contractors hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket, union warns
The collapse of one of the nation's oldest engineering companies RCR Tomlinson has destroyed Christmas for thousands of families, according to the union dealing with the fallout from the unexpected job losses. Electrical Trade Union (ETU) state secretary Peter Ong said hundreds of devastated contractors were calling him saying they were owed hundreds of thousands of dollars and were suffering financial hardship.
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21 November 2018

Victoria's Secret backlash over trans and plus-sized models is a 21st century labour dispute
Victoria's Secret CEO Jan Singer has resigned after two years in the job in a storm of controversy. Part of the reason for her departure was the declining financial performance of the company, but the immediate cause was a public relations crisis brought on by the models and influencers the brand depends on. It all unfolded over a week. On Thursday, November 8, marketing director Ed Razek gave an interview to Vogue ahead of the recording of the Victoria's Secret fashion show.
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SA teachers set to vote to go on strike for first time in 10 years
Parents "should plan now" for South Australia's first public schools teachers' strike in 10 years, the Australian Education Union says. Teachers are voting this week on whether to walk off the job next Thursday morning, November 29.
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Confidentiality agreements frustrate national inquiry into workplace sexual harassment
The Human Rights Commission wants employers to temporarily lift confidentiality agreements so that workers can give evidence to its ongoing inquiry into workplace sexual harassment. And they want it to happen by the end of the month. Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins called the inquiry in June to look at the best ways to prevent harassment in the workplace and respond to allegations.
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Commission orders compensation for distressing employment termination
The Fair Work Commission has ordered that compensation be paid to three employees of an Indigenous Corporation for the distress caused by their employer asking that they prove their connection to the local traditional owner group.
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The royal commission is about to grill the chiefs of the big four banks. Here's why soon they mightn't exist
It will be worth watching the final round of hearings at the banking royal commission, which begin on Monday. The chief executives of each of the big four will be recalled for reexaminations. It might be the final time they appear in the same room. It might even be the last time there's even such a thing as the big four.
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Union Rights of Entry: What Employers Need to Know
Provisions within the Fair Work Act surrounding right of entry currently allow union representatives with an entry permit to enter an employer's premises in order to meet with employees who are, or could be members of the union, to hold discussions during "breaks", or to investigate a suspected contravention of an award or enterprise agreement. As with all others within the Fair Work Act, the rules surrounding right of entry must be strictly adhered to by all stakeholders.
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Bureaucratic thinking versus brilliant minds at the workplace
Nature abhors a vacuum and bureaucracy positively detests brilliance. We don't "do" brilliance very well. We admire it from a distance, but we wouldn't like to have to live with it or worse work with it. We'd run a marathon in preference to managing a brilliant person. We'd apply to be a shepherd on a cat farm rather than recruiting a brilliant staffer.
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When it comes to a gender equality strategy, 70% of employers lack authenticity
It's Thursday morning, and a message flashes up on my phone. Another invitation to meet for coffee from a fellow business executive, wanting to find out more about me and my business. Initially, these invitations also had me intrigued. I'd graciously accept, expressing my preference for hot chocolate and suggesting my favourite haunt. Perhaps I might be offered a potential business partnership, inclusion in a leadership mentoring program or invitation to speak at an event?
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'Epidemic of time theft': Australians work two months' unpaid overtime a year
Australians are working an average of six hours' unpaid overtime a week, a total of $106bn of free work given to employers every year. An Australia Institute survey of 1,459 people to mark the 10th anniversary of Go Home on Time Day, found Australia suffers from an epidemic of overwork while others complain of underemployment. The survey suggests the rates of unpaid overtime are increasing, to an average of six hours' unpaid work a week in 2018, up from 5.1 hours a week in 2017 and 4.6 hours in 2016.
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Casual workers in Australia getting short-changed, research finds
Many casual workers are not getting paid much more than their permanent counterparts, and some are even making less, new research has found. The peak body for unions claims the research has "blown apart the myth" from the business lobby that casuals are paid a significant premium for the loss of leave rights and job security.
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14 November 2018

'I was failing as a mother and a career woman': Why Kim put her family first
The pressure on mothers to "have it all" is unrelenting – to be a present, loving and attentive mum as well as a career woman climbing the corporate ladder. But it's often not easy to achieve this elusive balance, as shown by this year's high-profile resignations of TV personality Jessica Rowe and radio host Em Rusciano, who both cited family reasons: "I want to be a more present mum for my girls," Rowe said when announcing her decision to leave Studio 10. "They need their mum."
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'Classic no-win situation': Harassment can mean career suicide for workers, reputational damage for companies
Women still feel they are in a no-win situation if they speak up about harassment in the workplace even as some employers take a tougher stance against bad behaviour, including tightening the reins on Christmas parties. The best most women can hope for if they make a legal complaint is monetary compensation, but taking action is often viewed as "career suicide".
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The Google walkout is a watershed moment in 21st century labour activism
That 20,000 Google employees walked off the job on Nov 1 was a watershed event, a hugely significant symbolic development for labour relations in the 21st century. After all, this is Google, supposedly the best company to work for in a sector renowned for luring the brightest and best with large salaries and excellent conditions.
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Startup employee wages ‘unsustainably’ high as government migration policies stymie tech talent
Earlier this year, a report by Deloitte and Australian Computer Society (ACS) highlighted the need for Australia to find an additional 200,000 technology workers in the next five years, or risk becoming increasingly irrelevant as a digital economy. As it stands, the talent deficit is driving businesses to go to increasingly greater monetary lengths to entice top performers, driving up wage growth in the tech space at the cost of innovation.
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Merivale staff seek to kill off WorkChoices-era pay agreement over weekend penalty rates
Two current Merivale hospitality staff have launched a bid in the Fair Work Commission to terminate a 2007 employee agreement which they say leaves them worse off than if they were covered by the hospitality award.
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Why You Should Invest In A Healthy Team
Our work force reflects our society, and things are not looking great. As a society in Australia we spend $170 billion or just over 10 per cent of GDP on healthcare. According to a report absenteeism and presenteeism, that is showing up for work but not being at your best, costs the Australian economy $35 billion/year or three per cent of GDP. When organisations also factor in the indirect costs of absenteeism, such as replacement labour, lost productivity and increased risk, absenteeism comes at huge costs, particularly to those that have to cover for it.
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Industrial muscle exposes union’s sham safety concerns
The Federal Court of Australia has imposed significant penalties on the CFMMEU after it found the union again in breach of workplace right of entry laws when it targeted BKH Group construction sites under the guise of genuinely held safety concerns.
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Managing mental health – employers must respond proactively to known risks of psychiatric harm
A state government employee with known mental health issues, who suffered a breakdown after a mounting conflict with her supervisor was not properly addressed, was awarded more than $600,000 in damages.
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You don’t have to be ‘perfect’ when it comes to Reasonable Administrative Action
It is not the role of the Tribunal to assess whether the employer is managing the worker wisely, or sympathetically, or if there is an appropriate management culture in place. The Tribunal’s task is to decide whether the particular administrative action was reasonable.
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Move over millennials: Here comes the older coworking class
When Peter Mayne’s coworking space decided to trial ‘treadmill’ desks, the 70 year old serial entrepreneur was one of the first up and running. The founder of business advisory Mayne Capital has spent years of his career in traditional office spaces, but he's now entered a career chapter that sees him sharing space and ideas with a whole range of startup companies.
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Foodora Australia admits riders owed $5m were 'more likely than not' employees
On Thursday, the administrators released a report in which they conceded Foodora had been underpaying its workers by incorrectly classing them as independent contractors.
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Class action firm to intervene in casual worker test case
A class action law firm representing thousands of workers allegedly owed more than $320 million in entitlements will apply to intervene in a casual worker test case. ACT-based law firm Adero will on Thursday apply in the Federal Court to intervene in the case between mining industry labour hire firm WorkPac and its former worker Robert Rossato, which seeks to clarify the definition of a casual worker.
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7 November 2018

Ageism is rife: A third of employers illegally specify an age limit on job applications, new research shows
The Employing Older Workers report, overseen by the Australian Human Rights Commission, found almost a third of Australian employers continue to specify an age limit for job applicants, despite the practice being illegal. Moreover, 30% of those employers will not employ people over 50, despite two-thirds acknowledging this protocol has lost the business valuable skills and intellectual property.
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Sydney's Anglican schools fight for exemptions which allow discrimination against gay teachers
The heads of 34 Anglican Schools in NSW have written to federal MPs urging them to protect exemptions in the Sex Discrimination Act that allow them to sack gay teachers.
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Westpac whistleblower reports poor risk culture and 'coverups' to APRA
A Westpac risk manager claims to have been ignored and bullied for raising red flags on alleged shortcomings on a technology project at the bank. "I don't trust HR will protect me, but I am just doing my job," the risk manager said. "I want to do my job properly and I don't expect to be abused for doing it."
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Diversity and profit: there is a link
Professor Ian Williamson, pro vice chancellor and dean of commerce at Wellington’s Victoria Business School, said that in a business environment facing severe talent shortages, diversity was the solution not only to shoring up staff numbers but had significantly positive impacts on organisational performance. “Human capital will become the scarcest factor” he said.
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Pregnant and discriminated against at work? Here's what to do
Pregnancy discrimination can take a range of surprising and sometimes subtle forms, from negative attitudes ("It's not a good look for you to have that baby bump in a customer service role") to dismissal (sometimes disguised as a redundancy). When you're at the receiving end, it can be difficult to identify discrimination and to know how to react — but if you suspect you're a target, this expert-approved advice can help you take action.
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Managing stress and uncertainty during a work crisis
When you're stressed at work it can affect everything in your life from your sleep and health, to your finances and relationships. It can even challenge your sense of identity. But keeping it to yourself isn't the answer. So here's some expert advice about what to do when work is getting you down.
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'State Of Permanent Jet Lag': Work-Related Insomnia Affecting One In Five Aussies
One in five Aussie workers are experiencing work-related insomnia -- an initial sign of mental illness, according to a new survey. The study of more than 5,000 workers also found that one in five currently experience a mental health condition, with 45 percent of those claiming they've been exposed to stigma in the workplace as a result.
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The Digital Workplace Divide
The workplace today can be anywhere from a remote office to a transatlantic plane. Workers now expect the same tools, access and connectivity wherever they are. The result is that technology inspires some and disrupts others. Learn more about specific concerns and trends in Australia, and the tangible steps we believe organisations can take now to respond to and empower their digital workers.
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A flexible workplace isn’t right fit for everyone
Flexible work arrangements encompass many formats, including part-time hours, job sharing, working from home or telecommuting, or even working compressed hours — for example, working the equivalent of a full week but over four days. Other variations include phased retirement, purchased leave and career breaks, and working as “a day extender”, which might involve working predominantly in the office, but carrying out additional work at home during the evening. But before you jump on the bandwagon, give some thought to whether flexible work arrangements are right for you.
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Mapping wellbeing in the workplace
The water cooler has long been the place to congregate and chat at work, but workplaces offer a rich variety of other spaces where people gather, hide, learn, and feel safe or unsafe. These components are all part of wellbeing at work. New fields of study are opening up into mapping and analysing what kind of resources are built for people in these work micro-geographies – and how that affects people’s behaviour, productivity and mental wellbeing at work, both positively and negatively.
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It's that time of year again - Vicarious liability and the office Christmas party
The damaging aftermath of work functions can be numerous: workers’ compensation claims, bullying claims, dismissal claims, sexual harassment claims and discrimination complaints. For this reason, the months of December and January can be a busy time for employment lawyers. The risk of sexual harassment, as well as other forms of nasties such as discrimination complaints and workplace injuries can increase over the silly season.
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The curious case of the missing workplace teaspoons
Once upon a time, a group of disheartened scientists found their tearoom bereft of teaspoons. Despite dispatching a research assistant to go purchase more – so sugar could be stirred and coffee dispensed – the newly purchased teaspoons disappeared within a few short months. Exasperated by the disappearance, the scientists decided they would measure the phenomenon. Do the teaspoons really disappear over time?
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31 October 2018

Can employees be dismissed for making vexatious complaints?
What can an employer do if an employee makes vexatious or baseless complaints in the pursuit of some ulterior purpose? These complaints might be made within the business, for example to a supervisor, HR or the Board, or externally, for example by way of a bullying application to the Fair Work Commission. In either case, the employer will likely be required to divert considerable resources away from the business or organisation to respond to, investigate and manage the complaint, and it is likely to be a stressful and destabilising matter for the business and those affected. This article will consider how courts have approached the issue and discuss how an employer may effectively manage vexatious complaints to mitigate the risk of legal claims.
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Dishonesty during the recruitment process can justify dismissal
The Fair Work Commission has held that the dismissal of an employee for providing false and misleading information during the recruitment process was not unfair, despite procedural failings by the employer.
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Conspiracy theories lead to accidental discrimination
Discrimination and Disability remain an important point of discussion in our workplaces. In a rare ‘assumed disability’ discrimination case (Stefanac v Secretary, Department of Family and Community Services [2018] NSWCATD 106), a Tribunal has awarded $20,000 to a public servant forced to take sick leave over concerns about her enthusiasm for conspiracy theories.
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How an Australian business owner left a lasting impression on Richard Branson
An Australian refugee who now runs her own business is a perfect example of why employers should look beyond CVs and resumes when they hire, Virgin founder Richard Branson says.
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As Australia’s workforce becomes more casualised, what does it mean for business owners?
To say it’s been a tumultuous couple of months for businesses in Australia would be an understatement. We’re not talking about the strawberry or honey crises, housing market upheaval, or even the crippling drought affecting thousands of farmers up north. Instead, business owners have been struck with uncertainty about the best way to do something fundamentally core to their business: hiring people.
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Expecting autistic people to ‘fit in’ is cruel and unproductive; value us for our strengths
Just 16% of adults with autism are in full-time paid employment, and this situation is not improving. The Economist has described this as “a tragic toll, as millions of people live idle and isolated outside the world of work”. When people with autism do get a job, they face bullying, discrimination and isolation in the workplace.
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The gig economy is nothing new – it was standard practice in the 18th century
While it might seem that long-established ways of working are being disrupted, history shows us that the one person, one career model is a relatively recent phenomenon. Prior to industrialisation in the 19th century, most people worked multiple jobs to piece together a living. Looking to the past uncovers some of the challenges, benefits and consequences of a gig economy.
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Google sacks dozens over sexual harassment
Google has sacked 48 people including 13 senior managers over sexual harassment claims since 2016. In a letter to employees, chief executive Sundar Pichai said the tech giant was taking a "hard line" on inappropriate conduct.
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Study finds that job creep reduces productivity at work
Research by professors from the University of South Australia has found that continuing work-related activities after hours has an adverse effect on productivity and recovery.
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If you think the best way to advance your career in Australia is to jump from job to job, think again. Most employers will overlook you
If you think the best way to advance your career in Australia is to jump from job to job, think again. According to a new survey from global jobs specialist Indeed, rather than helping you climb your way to the top sooner than what otherwise would be the case, it could be harming your prospects of landing your dream job. Based on responses from over 200 employers, the vast majority overlook a candidate who often changes jobs.
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The truth behind the standing-up-at-work movement
The average office worker today is more immobile than at any other point in human history. Hunter-gatherers walked an average of 15 kilometres a day, every day of their lives, according to Harvard Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology, Daniel Lieberman. By contrast, when you add the car commute, the sedentary working day and your lounge time, we can sit for more than 15 hours a day without even noticing. The dangers of this lifestyle were pointed out in an online toolkit created by the University of Queensland. It states that people who sit for more than 11 hours a day have a 40 per cent increased risk of death in the next three years, compared with people who sit for less than four hours.
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Time to pay your employees some Bitcoin?
In some news likely to make payroll officers everywhere shudder in despair, a survey by Australian blockchain human resources company Chronobank has found the majority of cryptocurrency fans would prefer their wages in Bitcoin over regular currency.
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24 October 2018

Does it matter what degree grade you get?
Universities are being warned they could be penalised in teaching quality rankings for handing out too many top degree grades. The University of Surrey has given first-class degrees to more than 40% of its students in recent years - and now about three-quarters of them either get a first or an upper second (2:1) across UK universities. Does this mean that employers are less impressed?
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Smoking at work FAQs
With the sharp increase in restrictions around the sale, promotion and public consumption of cigarettes over the last 15 years, it's no wonder there's confusion around smoking in the workplace. Are smoke breaks required by law? Is discriminating against smokers unlawful? Can an employer say where and when an employee is allowed to smoke at work?
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Watchdog inquires into prominent chef Guillaume Brahimi over underpayment allegations
The Fair Work Ombudsman says its "making enquiries" regarding one of prominent French chef Guillaume Brahimi's restaurants, amid allegations it is underpaying staff. Citing leaked rosters and payslips, Fairfax alleged in an investigation published on Sunday Brahimi is underpaying permanent workers at his Melbourne restaurant through unpaid overtime.
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When you get a deluge of job offers the best advice is - panic
If you get inundated by a flood of work offers, don't stay calm. Sometimes composure during overwhelming circumstances is overrated. When it rains it pours. It's not quite a proverb. It's not quite a cliche. But it's incontestably true. Well, not in a literal sense; sometimes it spits gently or there's just a fine mist.
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Boards that 'pick and stick' with the boss
At the time of writing, the ongoing saga at the ABC has seen both the chief executive and then the Chair of the Board lose their jobs. When the music finally stops, the remainder of the board might discover that they too have no chair remaining to sit on. There are questions about conduct that need answering.
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Government wades into casual confusion
The realm of casual employment has been a chaotic place lately. And it just got a little more political. For a quick recap, check out our bulletin. On appeal, the Full Federal Court upheld the decision that WorkPac was required to provide its casual employee with leave entitlements associated with permanent employment. WorkPac decided not to appeal to the High Court. It has now gone on the offensive. In a separate matter, WorkPac has filed proceedings in the Federal Court.
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Please don't dismiss the PC inquiry into mental health as `just another inquiry'
While chairing the National Mental Health Commission I pushed hard for an all-encompassing review of mental health, and I have welcomed the recent announcement that the Productivity Commission will conduct one. But I've been distressed to hear commentators dismiss it as just another inquiry, or one conducted through a narrow economic lens. Its strength is that it won't be limited to a narrow health lens.
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How to make work menopause-friendly: don't think of it as a problem to be managed
For many, menopause conjures up feelings of embarrassment, hot flushes, mood swings and sleep disturbance. It doesn't usually conjure up thoughts about the workplace. Yet menopause at work is fast becoming a target of government and organisational concern.
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Lucas Heights facility fails modern nuclear safety standards, independent review finds
A 1950s-era nuclear medicine lab in south-west Sydney should be replaced after a worker was exposed to radioactive material, an independent expert review has recommended. The review, published this morning, said the Lucas Heights facility failed modern nuclear safety standards and had a culture of "make-do and mend".
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Union rally floods Melbourne CBD as tens of thousands march for minimum wage increase
Several streets in Melbourne's CBD were closed to traffic as tens of thousands of Victorians joined a union protest calling for greater increases to the minimum wage and better job security. Protests were held in capital cities across Australia — as well as several regional cities — as part of the Australian Council of Trade Unions' (ACTU) Change The Rules campaign.
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Army, Navy and Air Force veterans face a fight against unemployment post-military life
Cheri had a successful 24-year career in the Army before deciding to return to civilian life. Her tours in the Middle East and various deployments at home earned her a set of skills that would be the envy of most workers. Now, as well as an admirable record of service, she has 30 job rejection letters to her name.
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Unions furious about Government's decision to join casual workers court case
The Federal Government has joined a court case trying to stop casual workers "double dipping" on leave entitlements, arguing recent decisions have caused "anxiety" among small businesses around the country. Jobs Minister Kelly O'Dwyer said a case currently before the Federal Court risked allowing casual workers to claim leave entitlements on top of their casual pay loading.
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17 October 2018

National survey on sexual harassment in the workplace paints an ugly picture.
The results of the 2018 survey on sexual harassment in the workplace (conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission and involving over 10,0000 Australian participants) are now in, and they have produced what I would consider to be some seriously concerning statistics.
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The seven things you need to do right now if you employ casual employees
Employers around Australia are grappling with the effect of a recent decision of the Full Federal Court, which found that employers must pay annual leave to wider categories of employees than previously thought. This wider category includes those employed as casual employees. That is, employees who have agreed to be engaged as a casual and receive a casual loading, typically 25%. In addition, those employees may now be entitled to four weeks' paid annual leave per year. The only employees excluded are those who have "the essence of casualness".
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To change the culture you've got to change the people
You've got to change the people. Literally, find new people. Or help the people you have to change. Any shift in culture will require one of those changes. And in case you think culture is fluffy stuff, recent investigations into bad behaviour by people in financial services and other sectors demonstrate why this matters and the ripples it causes. Culture is a behaviour glue, binding the actions and decisions of an organisation.
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Toxic workplaces are feeding the impostor phenomenon - here's why
Research suggests that around 70% of people will experience an illogical sense of being a phoney at work at some point in their careers. It's called the impostor phenomenon (also known, erroneously, as a syndrome). These impostor feelings typically manifest as a fear of failure, fear of success, a sometimes obsessive need for perfection, and an inability to accept praise and achievement. The phenomenon is also characterised by a genuine belief that at some point you, as the "impostor", are going to be found out for being a fake in your role.
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For the sake of our retirement savings, it's time to reform the investment management boys' club
Australians have A$2.6 trillion in superannuation assets. We conducted a study of Australian women who influence or make decisions about how these assets are invested. Research shows gender-diverse investment teams lead to better investment returns. Yet women report being subject to sexist and unequal treatment in their industry.
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Vital Signs: Amazon has lifted its wages, but the implications aren't as good as you might think
Amazon has just voluntarily raised its employees' minimum wage to US$15 an hour. Retail giant Costco has moved to US$14. This might not sound like a lot - and it is sure not a lot to live on - but with the US federal minimum wage at US$7.25 it is a big shift. Why are they paying more? The cheap answer is that Amazon in particular has buckled to external pressure.
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Tax rates and child care leave mums returning to work for next to no extra earnings: KPMG
Would you increase your working days from three to four to earn just $2.50 an hour? This is a scenario that could affect some partnered women with two children, if the woman is the second-income earner in the family working part-time, and she and her husband are both on the minimum wage.
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Why women don't ask for a pay rise
Over my 30 years in business I have seen many things. I'd like to say that nothing surprises me anymore. However one thing that continues to surprise me is, that in 30 years of business, until last week, not one of my female employees has ever asked for a pay rise. They have asked for more flexibility or more perks, but never more money. It baffles me as that has not been my experience with my male employees. Why is it so different?
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Employer had a valid reason to dismiss a flight attendant who called in sick due to intoxication
In a recent case, Luke Urso v QF Cabin Crew Australia Pty Limited T/A QCCA [2018] FWC 4436, the Fair Work Commission found the dismissal of a flight attendant because he was highly intoxicated during a layover was not unfair. Mr Urso was employed as a flight attendant with QF Cabin Crew Australia Pty Limited (QCCA), a subsidiary of Qantas Airways Limited (Qantas). On 22 July 2017, Mr Urso was `on slip', the term used when cabin crew are away from base and waiting for their next operational duty, in New York. He attended a bar with a fellow crew member, Mr Littmoden, between 10:00pm and 10:30pm. Mr Urso said he consumed two peach martinis and three gin and tonics.
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SA Employment Tribunal rules nurses' industrial action can go ahead
The South Australian Employment Tribunal has ruled planned industrial action in Adelaide hospitals can go ahead from tomorrow. The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation is protesting against overcrowding in emergency departments, saying the hospital system is at breaking point. The State Government lodged an urgent appeal with the tribunal late on Friday to try to have the action called off.
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Perth commuter chaos as bus strike, heavy fog disrupt road traffic
Perth bus drivers have voted to continue their campaign of industrial action after a strike by union members caused disruption for city commuters this morning, who were doubly impacted by heavy fog causing freeway congestion. At meetings in Joondalup and Rockingham this morning the drivers agreed not to switch on their bus ticket machines and were stood down for 48 hours by their employer, Transdev.
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10 October 2018


AHRC survey highlights actions employers should take now on sexual harassment
Against the background of the #MeToo movement, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has launched a 12-month national inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace. The world-first inquiry is now accepting submissions and will hold public consultations across Australia later in 2018. The AHRC has also just released the results of its fourth national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. These results confirm the pressing need for the holding of the inquiry, and highlight significant systemic issues for employers to address.
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Hospitable work in a co-working space
Co-working is now so commonplace that most new participants to the system know what to expect. Within these shared work environments. designers rub shoulders with tech start-up founders at the photocopier, while freelancers shoot the breeze with entrepreneurs in the communal kitchen.
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Shakespeare was right: What's in a name? Not much when it comes to casual employees
Mr Skene worked for WorkPac, a labour hire company, from April 2010 until April 2012. He was employed as a truck driver at two different Queensland mines. The employment agreements signed by Mr Skene all classified him as a casual employee and he was paid the appropriate casual loadings under the Workpac Pty Ltd Mining (Coal) Industry Workplace Agreement 2007. Given he received the casual loading, he didn't receive benefits attached to permanent employment such as annual leave. Sounds pretty clear, right?
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Labor's pay policy merely hints at helping low paid workers rather than actually doing it
There is little dispute the pay packages for leading chief executives have reached gross and excessive proportions while the wages of poorly paid Australians have stagnated. Pay ratios - a measure of disparity between the highest and median (representative) wages within a company - stand at around 100:1 in Australia's largest firms. That's up from 15:1 in the late 1970s.
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How to stop workers being exploited in the gig economy
Hot on the heels of the gig economy company Foodora shutting up shop in Australia amid accusations about its labour abuses, a Senate Committee report has recommended more robust laws to protect gig economy workers. But this doesn't go far enough. Foodora, which uses bicycle couriers to deliver food, says it has pulled out of Australia to focus on opportunities in other countries. Legal cases against it might also have had something to do with it.
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There is nothing sacrosanct about corporate culture; we can and must regulate it
Almost every inquiry into financial institutions, no matter the country, finds evidence of systemic misconduct. Customers overcharged, deceived and defrauded. At the root of the problem is organisational culture. It's a safe bet Australia's Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry will find the same. So what to do about it?
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Employee sent home from work without pay: Employer not required to pay employee who was unable to work
In a recent case, BHP Coal Pty Ltd t/a BHP Billiton v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union [2018] FWCFB (27 July 2018), the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission found an employee does not have to be paid if forced on leave because they cannot perform their role. Mr Goldspring, an employee of BHP, was informed that he was not permitted to work for a period after he had his drivers licence suspended for one month due to driving whilst suspended. Mr Goldspring's work duties had primarily involved the on-site operation of vehicles and mobile equipment for which a driver's license was required under the relevant safety regulations.
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McDonald's accused of exploiting young workers with 'learn and churn' practice
McDonald's Australia has been accused of systematically "churning" its workforce and reducing shifts for workers as they grow older in a bid to cut costs and hire younger staff. The global fast food chain is a major employer in Australia with more than 100,000 workers in stores across the country, which are mostly franchises.
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Up to 900 jobs at risk at Gold Coast Jewel development site amid 'unprecedented' problems, union warns
Up to 900 construction jobs on a Gold Coast high-rise development site could be at risk amid "unprecedented" problems, the construction union says. The CFMEU said 150 workers effectively lost their jobs on the Surfers Paradise project last week after builder Multiplex sent a message to some contractors drastically reducing their work. The union's assistant state secretary Jade Ingham said workers and the unions haven't been told the full story about what is going on.
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Unions calling for shake-up of employee bargaining powers ahead of next federal election
The union movement is demanding a dramatic shakeup of the way employees can negotiate pay and conditions, seizing on concerns over sluggish wage growth and fuelling debate about Australia's industrial relations landscape months out from a federal election.
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3 October 2018

Why emotional intelligence is the new black
You've likely heard of Daniel Goleman. It was 1995 when he suggested to the world the ability to manage one's own emotions and those of others was more important than how intellectually smart an individual is. This was further backed by The Future of Jobs report which says emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020.
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Men 'too scared' to mentor young women after #MeToo must lean in
I think every young, working woman would agree the #MeToo campaign was wildly overdue. As a former television news reporter in a capital city with a dozen #MeToo moments of my own, I fully endorse predators being exposed. When I consider all my major career moves, they were each made possible by a handful of men whose ongoing support, mentorship and sponsorship created real and lasting opportunity for me. These guys have been candid in their counsel, consistently respectful and relentlessly encouraging in their belief of me.
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How does the professional workforce feel about Fridays?
The Easybeats had a hit with Friday on my mind in 1965: Monday I have Friday on my mind...Do the 5 day drag once more... It's fair to say that a lot has changed in the professional world in the 50+ years since the above tune hit the charts, but according to both recent research and anecdotal evidence, nothing much has changed in employee attitudes towards Fridays: workers hang out for the end of the week, and generally speaking, Friday is far from favourable in terms of getting things done around the office.
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Spirals and circles, snakes and ladders. Why women’s super is complex
This week’s International Day of Older Persons reminds us Australia has made an international commitment to work towards the eradication of poverty in old age, and that at least one side of politics, Labor, has developed a suite of policies it says will help.
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Australian employers offering unlimited leave, Lego rooms and onsite boxing
In a time when many employers are offering less and less, some are bucking the trend.
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Does your business need a labour agreement?
Sponsoring an overseas worker has become a little more challenging following the recent changes to the employer sponsored visa legislation. The criteria impacting businesses the most is the introduction of the short term and medium to long term occupation lists where many in demand occupations do not appear on the list. If a business needs to sponsor an overseas worker but the occupation is not on the appropriate list, or the overseas worker doesn't have the required minimum two years work experience then sponsorship is not available under the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. This is where labour agreements come in handy.
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Contracts of Employment
The employment contract governs one of the most significant relationships in people's lives being that between the employee and employer. When well drafted, the employment contract is beneficial for both the employer and the employee as, amongst other things, it provides clarity regarding the obligations of both parties.
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Hundreds of workers walk off the job at billion-dollar Gold Coast Jewel resort development
Hundreds of workers are striking at a troubled $1 billion development on the Gold Coast, as subcontractors fear they will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars on the project.
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Politics podcast: Brendan O'Connor on Labor's industrial relations agenda
With Scott Morrison flagging his government will take a hard line on industrial relations, especially the CFMEU, Labor's shadow minister for employment and workplace relations, Brendan O'Connor will have a tough job ahead of the election. O'Connor says Labor remains totally opposed to the government's Ensuring Integrity legislation, which the Coalition wants to resurrect. "I can't see this bill in any way being salvageable, and that's why of course it sat for a year without the Senate debating it," he says.
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You shouldn't tolerate bullying in the workplace, even when it comes from your boss
Assertive people-even aggressive people-thrive in American workplaces. If your boss is intimidating or a coworker has a temper, even the most well-meaning business experts will often tell you to "toughen up" or move on. As the old saying goes, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen," right?
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Dangers of Ignoring HR Technology in Your Business
In this world of smartphones and connected refrigerators, your customers and employees expect you to keep pace with technology. From retail to travel to banking, the consumer expectation of on-demand service is the new normal. This goes for human resources, too. When someone applies for a job, or changes their withholding amounts, or submits their hours at the end of pay period-technology is key.
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26th September 2018

Is it time to review your employment agreements?
We live in an age of constant change where disruption, innovation and evolution are norms. In the business sector, it is good practice for employers to regularly review employment agreements, job descriptions, key-performance-indicators, wages and salaries, and the existence of the job itself. However, the principle of sanctity of contract is one of the cornerstones of the law, and therefore it is not surprising that the courts have made it clear that one party cannot unilaterally change or override the express terms of an employment agreement. It is fundamental that any variation to the employment agreement requires the genuine consent of the parties, whether the variation take the form of an alteration to existing terms or conditions, or the imposition of a new contractual term.
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"Impossible to run a business": Fair Work Commission decision to force employers to justify flexible work decisions
Australian employers will soon have to provide reasoning for denying any worker requests for flexible work arrangements under changes to modern awards to be implemented following a decision by the Fair Work Commission. The full bench of the Commission has decided to insert a clause into all modern awards to provide employees with the right to pursue legal action if employers fail to properly consider their requests for flexible work arrangements.
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Nine things you should never keep at your desk
Organisation comes naturally to some, but for others, it's just not in their nature. Maybe you're too busy to clean up, or perhaps organised chaos works well for you. Regardless, a messy desk can negatively impact productivity and your ability to perform tasks efficiently at work, according to a study published in The Harvard Business Review. Additionally, some of the items you keep on your desk may not be appropriate for the workplace, such as political items or documents with sensitive information.
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New ACL Penalties: no longer just the cost of doing business
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) penalties imposed by the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (Act) have often been viewed by highly profitable corporates as an inconvenience or just `a cost of doing business' - rather than a deterrent. This perception has fostered a culture of non-compliance, in direct contrast to the very purpose for which the penalties are imposed.
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Liability under the Fair Work Act: a very personal concern
It is becoming too common for plaintiffs and their legal representatives to bring claims personally against managers (and others) they feel were involved in an alleged contravention of the Fair Work Act 2009. Such an approach by plaintiff employees is, in part, tactical; a step designed to place pressure on the corporate employer to settle for the wellbeing of its manager and staff. Perhaps, suing the manager is designed to make the manager feel the wrath of the disgruntled employee. Legitimately, it is to hold a manager to account for their conduct.
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We won't fix female super until we fix female pay, but Labor's ideas are a start
Women retire with embarrassingly little super compared to men. In 2015-16 the typical (median) Australian woman retired with A$36,000. The typical male had A$110,000. When presented as averages, the difference is less stark because a small number of big superannuation accounts push up the average. In 2015-16 the average woman left with A$157,050 compared to A$270,710 for the average man.
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Employer pays the price of employee's misuse of competitor's confidential information
A recent out of court settlement of a high profile restraint of trade case in the South Australian real estate agency industry highlights again the significant risks that businesses face if they hire an employee who has taken and misused confidential information of their former employer. Toop&Toop Real Estate (the Company), a well-known independent real estate agency, reportedly received a payment of $750,000 from Harris Real Estate after it alleged in court that its former employee Arabella Hooper had misused the company's confidential client data base, causing it to suffer a significant loss of revenue from existing client leads.
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Avoiding fatigue compliance breaches
Driver fatigue and drowsy driving is a major safety hazard for all vehicles using Australia's roads. From 2013 to 2017, more people in NSW died in fatigue-related crashes than drink driving crashes. This is somewhat unsurprising when you take into account that being awake for about 17 hours has a similar effect on performance as a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05.
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Nurse allegedly assaulted in Canberra Hospital's mental health unit
Canberra nurses have again expressed concerns for their safety inside mental health wards, after graphic photos of another alleged assault on a nurse were posted on social media. The nurses union shared the photos of what is claimed to be an assault on a nurse at Canberra Hospital's adult mental health unit with a call for "action now". The photos show cuts, bite marks and bruising allegedly made on a nurse at the mental health unit.
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Employers push for a new casual worker category but unions slam the proposal
Employers are pushing for the creation of a new category of worker that would see casual loading slashed in exchange for some leave entitlements, but unions have slammed the proposal. The NSW Business Chamber has made an application to the Fair Work Commission for a new class of employee under some awards, called "perma-flexi". The proposal would see casual loading cut from 25 per cent to 10 per cent, with employees able to accrue leave but still be rostered on only as needed.
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Queensland media company fined for underpaying young workers by $300,000
Young journalists and production staff were deliberately underpaid and exploited by a Queensland news website company, an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman has found. As a result of legal action, Touchpoint Media and director Laurence Ward have been fined $264,924 and ordered to backpay 23 staff a total $305,780 for underpayments between January 2015 and June 2016. The case went to the Federal Circuit Court after Fair Work inspectors investigated staff complaints and found that Touchpoint Media frequently underpaid or failed to pay for work performed at the company.
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19th September 2018

Social butterflies are busy bees: How workplace friendships boost productivity
If you have a good friend for a colleague you are more likely to be engaged and satisfied at work. A recent US study at Olivet Nazarene University of 3000 people in full-time jobs found the majority (41%) take a neutral view of colleagues, with smaller categories for "only-at-work" friends (20%), real friends (15%) and enemies (2%).
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The workplaces where bullies flourish
The past month in federal politics has confirmed what many of us already suspected: knowing what goes on behind the scenes at parliament is like watching sausages be made. As the expression implies, knowing all the unsavoury details about how it's done is deeply offputting. And at best, it's still a bit of a sausage fest.
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Forget 'work-life balance'. Work is life, and that's how it should be
My dear dad had three jobs most of his working life. And he worked into his 80s, even though he didn't really have to from a financial point of view. I was well enough off to look after anything he needed. Well, almost anything. You see Dad always felt that there was something that work gave him that money couldn't buy - his respect for himself as a working man.
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It's hard to make money in aged care, and that's part of the problem
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety on Sunday, responding to concerns about the sector one day before an ABC Four Corners program which was to air them. Aged care is where the challenges of population ageing are most apparent and where policy choices have direct impact on the lives of Australians.
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Why yet another visa for farm work makes no sense
Rumours have circulated for months that the National Party and National Farmers Federation are pushing for a new so-called agricultural visa for temporary migrants. Now they have gained momentum, and reports indicate an announcement early next week. Details are scarce, but it seems the visa will differ from the two existing visas for agricultural workers from the Pacific - the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) and the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) - in being more flexible and also open to workers from across Asia.
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Unfair contract terms in fintech small business loan contracts
Following its review of Prospa Advance Pty Limited (Prospa) earlier this year, ASIC has announced that Prospa has agreed to change the loan terms in its standard form small business loan contract. The changes are to redress those terms considered to be in breach of the unfair contract terms provisions of the ASIC Act. Prospa has also agreed that any customer who entered into or renewed a contract from 12 November 2016 will receive the benefit of the changes.
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Australian workers are not the mathematicians they need to be, AI Group survey finds
Australian workers do not have the digital or foundation skills they need for the modern workplace, according to a report by the Australian Industry Group. The AI Group surveyed about 300 businesses and 75 per cent of them reported skills shortages, meaning they cannot find the staff they need to fill the jobs they have.
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The importance of proper training for employees
The ACT Court of Appeal (The Court of Appeal) has recently upheld a decision quashing a worker's award of damages just shy of $100,000. In the case of Jancevski v WR Engineering Pty Ltd [2018] ACTCA 34, it was for the Court of Appeal to determine whether WR Engineering Pty Ltd (Employer) provided Jancevski (Employee) with adequate training and warning following an injury which took place while an Employee was performing rectification works on an automatic panel lift garage door.
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Employee conduct outside of workplace increasingly a reason for termination
It is increasingly common for remedies to be sought by employees who have lost their jobs due to their conduct outside of the workplace. A series of recent cases have highlighted the need for employers to proceed carefully when dealing with these situations. These cases also demonstrate that such conduct can, in many circumstances, be inconsistent with employment obligations.
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Order to stop bullying made by Fair Work Commission: Management action not raised in a reasonable way
In a recent case, Application by Ms A [2018] FWC 4147, the Fair Work Commission made an order to stop bullying after it found the communication by a Body Corporate Committee Chairman towards a director of a company engaged to provide management services to a residential complex was unreasonable. B Pty Ltd was a corporate entity engaged to provide management services to a residential complex. Ms A, and her husband Mr D, were directors of that company. Mr C was the Chairman of the Body Corporate Committee for the residential complex that had engaged B Pty Ltd.
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Bunnings 'bank of hours' staffing regime triggers complaints, as hardware chain confirms review
One of Australia's major retail employers is reviewing a rostering practice that sends staff home during slow periods to make up the hours in peak times. Hardware retailer Bunnings has been implementing the practice, known as "bank of hours", across the country and is now reviewing it following a string of staff complaints. It averages out the rostered hours of part-time and full-time employees over the course of the year, with staff sent home during slow periods. They then have to make-up the hours in peak times, instead of getting overtime pay.
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Chart of the day: How bolshie are Australian workers in an era of stagnant wage growth?
One of the oddities of Australia's era of record low wages growth is it also an era of record low industrial action. The 2017/18 financial year was one of the quietest on the ABS's books for industrial disputes, with 110,000 working days lost - down 20 per cent on the previous year. There were only 164 disputes reported over the 12 months to June.
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Former Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber accused of calling women 'fat, hairy lesbians' in workplace
The Australian Greens party is facing more claims of sexism, with a former state leader accused of referring to women in the workplace as "fat, hairy lesbians", "power pussies" and "hairy-legged feminists". Former Victorian Greens party leader, Greg Barber, is also accused of having a "men's room" in his office - a meeting room that female staff members were not allowed to enter unless invited.
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5th September 2018

Workplace bullying and why the 'rough and tumble' of a job is no excuse
Politics is known for being a tough business, but multiple Liberal parliamentarians say their colleagues crossed a line during the recent leadership spill. Lucy Gichuhi has threatened to name bullies. Julia Banks referred to intimidation when announcing she was quitting politics. Kelly O'Dwyer says she knows of MPs who were threatened.
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Embracing Our Ikigai: How A Japanese Philosophy Can Transform The Workplace
In her latest guest post for B&T, the co-founder of Sydney content agency Storyation, Lauren Quaintance, (pictured below) takes a Japanese angle to a very modern take on the Aussie workplace.
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Industrial relations back in cabinet fold
Australian Industry Group has welcomed industrial relations being returned to a cabinet minister, calling it a critically important policy area. In one of his first acts since becoming prime minister, Scott Morrison put former financial services minister Kelly O'Dwyer in charge of industrial relations, elevating the role from the outer ministry.
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Keeping it casual: Casual employee entitled to annual leave
The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has rejected WorkPac's argument that the "industrial meaning" of the term "casual employee" has been incorporated into the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) for the purpose of the National Employment Standards (NES).
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Why IBM Australia wants staff to spend more time in the office
Technology giant IBM Australia has issued a memo to staff asking them to spend more time in the office and less time working remotely in a bid to promote better connection and teamwork between its staff. IT News reports human resources executives at IBM sent a memo to employees calling for "increased teaming and physical and emotional connections" within its workforce.
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Happiness at work trumps money for most Australians
What is more important to you at work: happiness or money? If you're like me, you'll be wondering why you need to choose. And yes, I'm the first to argue that "both" is a reasonable answer in the real world. But let's say you're hypothetically forced to choose. If you're like most Australians, you'll plump for happiness.
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Getting out of a contract: When is it OK to break a promise?
During the course of a contract, circumstances can change and businesses may not get what they originally bargained for. Losing out on some deals is a reality of business. But the law, in some limited circumstances, allows parties to a contract to get out of a bad deal they have made.
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Criminal Record Discrimination: How Should Workplaces Handle Employee Criminal Histories?
The Australian Human Rights Commission recently recommended that Suncorp should pay $2,500 in compensation to an employee, who was refused a job when Suncorp became aware that he had a 10 year old conviction for accessing and possessing child pornography offences.
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Companies keep slashing jobs, but new technologies won't replace good management
As technology improves, it's tempting for company executives to slash jobs that are "standard" and "routine", making them easy to automate. But research shows focusing on improving management practices will do more to improve companies' bottom lines. In a study of 32,000 manufacturing firms, American researchers showed firms using certain management practices had 20% better productivity than firms that neglected to use them.
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Unexpected loss of contract no reason to deny redundancy pay
A Federal Court case brought by a group of cleaners against their former employer has produced an important decision on the interpretation of rights to redundancy pay under the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act). In United Voice v Berkeley Challenge Pty Limited [2018] FCA 224, Justice John Reeves heard a claim commenced by the union United Voice, on behalf of 21 cleaners, alleging that Berkeley Challenge Pty Ltd (Berkeley), a contractor of cleaning services, contravened the Act in two significant ways.
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Tightening the Chain of Responsibility - Implications for the construction sector
The new Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will commence on 1 October 2018. The new laws will have a wide ranging impact on the construction sector, including the obligations of civil contractors. This article tells you what you need to know to finalise (or kick-start, if you are behind) your preparation for the new laws and penalties.
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29 August 2018

Directing an employee to attend an independent medical assessment
The winter months often bring an increase in employees' use of personal leave, primarily due to illness. An employee's brief and temporary absence, whether due to illness or even injury, supported by adequate medical evidence, can usually be managed by the employer without issue. However, difficulty and uncertainty arise where an employee takes extended personal leave with medical evidence that has little or no detail on the illness or injury suffered, or which offers no foreseeable return to work date.
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Are you being underpaid? Are you underpaying your staff?
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) recently conducted an audit of businesses throughout the eastern states of Australia which found that found that 72% of the businesses had breached workplace laws.[1] The audit resulted in the recovery of $471,904 for 616 workers across the 234 businesses audited. The most common breach was an underpayment of hourly rates, followed by non-existent or inadequate employment records. "72% of businesses had breached workplace laws"
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From Atlassian and Canva to Salesforce, here's the 50 best places to work in Australia
The title of being one of Australia's best places to work has again been claimed by a number of fast-growing technology companies, with the likes of Atlassian, Canva and Salesforce featuring in this year's list of the 50 great workplaces compiled by Great Place to Work Australia. The 11th annual study was dominated by local and international tech companies, with the average age of companies on this year's list being 48 years old. Of those companies, 75% of their workers are full-time, with average non-management salaries of $94,000.
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Melbourne's Barry cafe settles wrongful termination claim with underpaid worker
The owners of a Northcote cafe investigated for underpaying employees have reached a settlement with a former staff member over her wrongful termination. The settlement came hours before the former Barry cafe employee, Anna Langford, was to file an official wrongful termination complaint in court.
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The Indigenous employment gap is widening and we don't know how to fix it
The Closing the Gap framework sought to halve the employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, among other targets. But the employment target expired unmet this year. In remote parts of Australia, the gap has actually widened since 2011.
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The same but different: what passengers like about Uber
Uber's dramatic rise has been accompanied by criticism, including allegations of predatory pricing and flouting of safety and employment laws. Of course the flipside of this is that Uber allows ordinary people to share and monetise the spare capacity of their assets - in this case their car. It means fewer cars on the road and extra cash for anyone who becomes an Uber driver.
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Business owners' control of their work-life balance is the fine line between hard work and hell
We live in a society in which people are trying to do more each day. Both work and life are worthy competitors for time. Yet the complex demands of modern society have redefined the notion of work-life balance. Work-life balance has different meanings for different people and is often linked to individual preferences. We interviewed franchised and independent business owners in Australia to understand their work and life priorities.
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Foodora faces claims for unpaid tax and superannuation
Australian tax authorities are chasing Foodora for unpaid tax and superannuation having classified the company's food delivery riders as employees instead of independent contractors. The Australian Taxation Office and Revenue NSW began investigating Foodora's tax obligations before the food delivery company went into voluntary administration earlier this month.
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O'Dwyer urged to focus on wages growth, IR reform
Business groups and unions will press incoming workplace minister Kelly O'Dwyer to tackle stagnant wages growth and the need for reform of industrial relations rules. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's director of workplace relations, Scott Barklamb, said the government needed to focus on jobs growth to help boost stagnant wages.
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Simplified approach to mental health too risky
The positive role that work can play in a person's life is too frequently taken for granted until work is taken away or not available. One of the main contributing factors to psychological illness is a person's relationship with work. Burnout, bullying, harassment, interpersonal conflict, role conflict, role ambiguity, under-utilisation, lack of engagement, lack of intrinsic motivation, rejection, barriers to progression, lack of recognition, injury and unsafe environments, insecurity, and work-other role conflicts and balance can all contribute to depression, anxiety and stress.
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Employee's resignation not 'forced'
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) cannot entertain an unfair dismissal claim unless the termination of employment was at the employer's initiative. In a recent decision, Davidson v Qube Logistics Vic Pty Ltd T/A Qube Holdings [2018] FWC 4481, the claimant was unsuccessful in asserting that the cessation of his employment was a dismissal attracting the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) unfair dismissal jurisdiction. The claimant alleged he was forced to resign due to the conduct engaged in by his employer by initiating an investigation into his misconduct.
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22 August 2018

How to protect your business against unfair dismissal claims
Whether you are dealing with issues of poor performance, bad behaviour or employee misconduct, it is important that as an employer, you protect yourself against unfair dismissal claims by following the correct processes when dismissing employees.
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Sexual harassment is rife, complaints are ignored and women fear for their jobs
A new survey on workplace sexual harassment has found that almost 75% of Australian women who complained to their employer were not satisfied with the outcome, with more than one in three saying they were ignored and no action was taken.
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`Why does nobody contribute?': Diagnosing and curing a serial interrupter
`I get bored when people prattle on and don't get on with it' shared a very frustrated leader. The impact of this was that meetings did get shorter - as did participation. The leader now had a new frustration and issue to manage. `No-one contributes, what are we paying these high salaries for?' This leader was a serial interrupter who held the most senior role in the organisation.
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"The best person for the job": New research highlights confusion about merit and gender equity
Who is meritorious, what constitutes merit, and how merit and gender targets can operate together are widely misunderstood questions, as our new research shows. We spoke with almost 300 public sector middle managers. The vast majority said they wanted "the best person for the job". They had less idea, however, of just who that "best person" might be.
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Could you take on your EL2 with a laser gun?
We've all been there. You're in a team meeting and the designated office keen bean suggests an allegedly fun activity. t's a team outing or perhaps an in-office delight meant to simultaneously build morale and boost productivity but all it does is make you want to chuck a sickie.
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The secrets to managing overseas postings for modern families? Start with the spouse
Skilled professionals are increasingly likely to have an equally skilled partner at home. This makes it harder for companies to fill overseas positions when the move affects two professional careers. Multinational corporations are starting to recognise and try to understand the complexities of managing talent globally. But we wondered whether they are considering the "right" scope of complexities. As an example of these complexities, and contrary to popular belief, the expatriate spouse - not the expatriate - remains the number one influence on the success of overseas postings.
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Coming out at work is not a one-off event
For many LGBTIQ+ workers coming out is a never-ending process. A recent study in the UK shows coming out at work is still a problem. Our research, to be launched in Sydney on August 27, supports this finding and further unpacks the reasons for these continuing difficulties.
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Woman calls for changes in regulatory response to industrial deaths after partner dies at work
Tanya Louth spends most nights looking for answers. It's been more than 18 months since she received the phone call that ripped her life apart, when she learned the "love of her life" and the father of her two children was never coming home from work. On January 8, 2017, her partner of 16 years, the "happy", "always smiling" Daniel Bradshaw, 37, was found floating face down in the water between the barge he lived and worked on, and the Hudson Creek wharf, near Darwin.
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When to down tools? How the weather affects our tradies
For those who work in construction, you may think that managing the weather is simple; just down tools when it is too hot or too wet. However, when there is a pay cheque on the line it is not as clear cut as this. Manu Pipitolu has been working as a renderer's trowel hand for nearly one year which has been enough time for him to feel the full effects of the weather on his work.
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Are your casual employees actually casuals?
The controversial WorkPac decision of the Full Federal Court last week (WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene [2018] FCAFC 131) has rejected the commonly understood position that an employee designated as a casual under an award or enterprise agreement is a casual for all purposes. Employers who have treated employees as casuals on this basis risk claims for unpaid leave and termination entitlements, as well as significant penalties.
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Unfair Dismissal Update - August 2018
Recent unfair dismissal decisions of the Fair Work Commission (Commission) provide a number of lessons and reminders to employers: a number of dismissals were found to be unfair not because there was an absence of a valid reason for dismissal, but rather because of procedural and other matters under section 387 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act); out of hours conduct continues to be recognised as a valid reason for a dismissal, including in circumstances where employers operate in safety-critical industries; where mutual agreement is reached in relation to the termination of employment, employers should always carefully consider the scope and content of any 'release' sought from an employee, in order to avoid unexpected claims.
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Implied terms in employment contracts: Court of Appeal finds employment contract should not to be interpreted subject to Jewish law
The Supreme Court of New South Wales - Court of Appeal (Court of Appeal) overturned the earlier Supreme Court decision in In the matter of South Head & District Synagogue (Sydney) (Administrators appointed) [2017] NSWSC 823 (see earlier case note: Supreme Court decides employment contract dispute based on Jewish law). The case concerned a Chief Rabbi who had been employed with South Head & District Synagogue (Sydney) Ltd (the Company), which subsequently went into voluntary administration.
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15 August 2018

The "Weinstein Clause": what is it? Could it be coming to Australia?
The disturbing revelations about Harvey Weinstein and other entertainment luminaries have put sexual harassment firmly on the agenda, emboldening victims to come forward to share experiences and pursue claims, leading to the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements internationally, and #NowAustralia locally. The latest consequence of the Weinstein revelations and the #MeToo movement is the "Weinstein Clause". Bloomberg recently reported that such clauses, which relate to the behaviour of senior management of a company, are now regularly being included in business sale agreements.
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The often overlooked cost benefits of flexible employment
Flexible working has long been seen as a solid strategy for promoting the participation of women in the corporate sector. The basic thinking goes that if you end - or at least relax - the strict start and finishing times of the standard working day, while offering options for staff to take time out for personal reasons, then you'll see more women with caring responsibilities able to pursue and take up roles within these organisations.
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Family and Domestic Violence Leave: Award Changes Came Into Effect 1 August!
Changes to all modern awards, which have introduced provisions relating to family and domestic violence leave, came into effect from 1 August 2018. This change has come about due to the 4 yearly review of modern awards.
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Your colleagues are not dinosaurs - it's workplace routines that make innovation difficult
In many sectors, the disruptive changes now occurring are so major that they have been described as the "fourth industrial revolution". In response, organisations are focusing on innovation - hackathons, innovation labs and design jams are popular. Unfortunately, many innovations do not make it through to implementation. Many explanations are offered. One is change resistance, but this is oversimplified and usually inaccurate. A more nuanced view is that implementing innovations is much harder than thinking them up in the first place.
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Gender differences at work: relishing competence or seeking a challenge?
In Oceans 8, when Debbie Ocean is asked why she felt the need to organise a multi-million-dollar jewellery heist, she replies: "Because it's what I'm good at." Within the workplace, deriving genuine enjoyment from being skilled at something, and using those skills and abilities to succeed, is a very rewarding experience. This feeling, along with the jewels, is what Debbie was after.
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Ambulance Tasmania under fire from former paramedic over PTSD case handling
A former paramedic with post traumatic stress disorder says Ambulance Tasmania is failing in its duty to protect the mental health of its staff. Nick O'Brien had been a paramedic for 13 years when he was assaulted by a male patient while working the night shift in Hobart's northern suburbs in October 2015. An intoxicated man hit him so hard that it knocked out his four front teeth which were fitted with dental crowns, killing the roots of the existing teeth.
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Our workplaces are filthy and it's costing us all
The typical office desk is home to more than 10 million bacteria, 400 times more than a toilet seat. Other studies have revealed people don't wash their hands, and surfaces from taps to elevator buttons are "officially dirty". Beyond the health concerns, this has an impact on our psyche. Humans have an inbuilt disgust response to dirty environments. A clean workplace has also been shown to reduce sick days and increase productivity.
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The Fair Work Ombudsman: Expanded statutory powers, blitzes and higher penalties
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO)'s proactive approach in its role of monitoring the 2.24 million active businesses in Australia has caught out a myriad of employers whose employment practices contravene the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). Expanded statutory powers of Fair Work Inspectors are being exercised to investigate, unannounced, employment practices of a wide-ranging number of workplaces and industries. In this context, and with increased scope for liability under the FW Act, now more than ever it is critical that those potentially within the FWO's sights review and assess governance structures to ensure they adequately address, and ensure compliance with, obligations arising under the FW Act.
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Men Who Advocate for Others in the Workplace Face Backlash
Back in March, a group of Hollywood elites signed an open letter asking men to take more responsibility for creating workplaces that are free of sexism. The letter was in response to the #MeToo movement that spurred people across the world to use social media to bring attention to the prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse. The letter signers pledged to act as advocates for victims and to speak out openly against sexism, thereby launching #AskMoreofHim, a movement that highlights the role that men play in preventing gender-based violence.
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CFMEU fined more than $500,000 by Federal Court for breaches of Fair Work Act
Three construction officials who deliberately broke workplace laws at sites in Queensland and Victoria have cost their union close to $577,000 in fines, in what the Federal Court has described as "disgraceful and shameful" behaviour.
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8 August 2018

Meat inspector was fairly dismissed for poor performance
A meat inspector who failed to detect and remove contamination from carcasses and generally failed to follow instructions was found to have been fairly dismissed. Deputy President Hamilton in the Fair Work Commission found in favour of the employer after hearing evidence of a number of serious breaches by the applicant in relation to his assigned duties as a meat inspector.
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Restaurant serves up unsatisfactory agreement
The Fair Work Commission has rejected a restaurant's proposed single enterprise agreement, despite the employer issuing several undertakings in its attempt to have the agreement approved.
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Award Employees entitlement to Family and Domestic Violence Leave has commenced
The model Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) Leave terms are incorporated into all Modern Awards as of 1 August 2018. This means that Award covered employees may take unpaid leave to deal with FDV matters from 1 August 2018. What is the FDV entitlement?
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Sexually inappropriate texts to co-workers a valid reason for dismissal: Co-workers not required to tell employee to stop
Sexual harassment in the workplace is currently a prevalent topic. The #MeToo campaign and the Human Rights Commission launch of a year-long harassment inquiry has brought harassment onto the centre stage. A recent case in the Fair Work Commission, Colin Ramon Reguero-Puente v City of Rockingham, considered the misconduct of an employee relating to sexually inappropriate communications with co-workers, and whether employees had to expressly tell someone to stop this conduct for it to constitute misconduct.
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Employee dismissed based on conflicting medical evidence: Commission required to make findings on employee's capacity to work
In a recent case, CSL Limited T/A CSL Behring v Chris Papaioannou, the Fair Work Commission Full Bench found that giving the final say to employers about an employee's capacity to work when there was conflicting medical evidence was "plainly wrong". The decision by the Full Bench came out of an appeal by an employer who challenged the findings of Commissioner Ryan. Commissioner Ryan found the dismissal of an employee was harsh and the employee should be reinstated. The employee was dismissed for allegedly being unable to perform the inherent requirements of his position.
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Why part-time work is the solution to our rapidly changing workforce
The UN recently told Australia it needs to up women's workforce participation, suggesting that flexible work should be enshrined in the Flexible Work Act. Brilliant! But just to be clear, if flexible work is going to have this effect, it needs to include fractional (and part-time) work. Why? Because full-time work, no matter how flexible, simply excludes huge groups of people - and most of them happen to be women.
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Flexible working becoming the norm
For those of us with workplace flexibility, it's tempting to imagine that the old-school nine-to-five working day is a relic of the 20th century. And for those whose workplaces cleave to more traditional practices, it's easy to dismiss such a notion as the feverish imagination of a pampered journalist.
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Why do so many jobs feel meaningless? Because they are
As companies' profit reporting season is upon us, it's worth asking: Does business create value these days the way it once did? In the US, one sign it doesn't is a significant decline in the formation rate of firms over the past few decades. Economists Peter Orszag and Jason Furman have argued that investment and innovation have taken a backseat to profits derived from economic rents. Political factors also increasingly appear to play a major role in driving corporate profits, as new regulations help incumbent firms, another strike against economic efficiency.
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How to improve the appeal of franchising for women
The franchise model should represent a business model of choice for women. The format has a lower risk profile, as it offers a level of perceived reassurance that the concept has been tested in the marketplace. It also minimises some of the historical disadvantages women face when entering self-employment.
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How clean is your desk? The unwelcome reality of office hygiene
If you work in an office, the chances are there are some colleagues you would rather sit next to than others. But we're not just talking personality likes or dislikes here - what can also be a factor is how clean they keep their desk. The average office desk is said to contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat - meaning that many office workers could be at risk of sickness due to dirty desks.
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The Fair Work Ombudsman: Expanded statutory powers, blitzes and higher penalties
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO)'s proactive approach in its role of monitoring the 2.24 million active businesses in Australia has caught out a myriad of employers whose employment practices contravene the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). Expanded statutory powers of Fair Work Inspectors are being exercised to investigate, unannounced, employment practices of a wide-ranging number of workplaces and industries. In this context, and with increased scope for liability under the FW Act, now more than ever it is critical that those potentially within the FWO's sights review and assess governance structures to ensure they adequately address, and ensure compliance with, obligations arising under the FW Act.
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Cricket Australia's sacking of Angela Williamson reveals perils of 'opinion creep'
Cricket Australia's dismissal of a top Tasmanian cricketing official for "making offensive comments" has received enormous media attention in Australia and overseas. In its letter to terminate the employment of public policy and government relations manager Angela Williamson, Cricket Australia cites her social media criticism of the state government's abortion and environmental policies.
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1 August 2018

New domestic violence law - how will this affect employment relationships?
The Domestic Violence - Victim Protections Bill was passed into law this week and amends the Employment Relations Act 2000, the Holidays Act 2003 and the Human Rights Act 1993. The changes come into effect on 1 April 2019 and enable victims of domestic violence to request a short-term (two months or less) variation to their employment arrangements for the purposes of dealing with the effects of being subject to domestic violence.
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Preparation for single touch payroll in Australia
Single touch payroll is effective starting from 1 July 2018 and here's what employers need to know to comply with the new reporting standard in Australia. All Australian substantial companies employing 20 employees or more are required to change the way salary and wage information are reported to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) from 1 July 2018. This policy was introduced in 1 July 2017 as part of the government's Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016.
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How to dismiss an employee - The seven key steps
Terminating someone's employment can be a challenging task for business owners and managers. A dismissal of an employee is not only personally difficult, but it can create potential legal implications if not done correctly. In our experience, one of the major concerns for employers is the prospect of litigation following an employee dismissal. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop employees from bringing claims if they are aggrieved by a dismissal, even if those claims lack merit.
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Fair Work Commission pledges better systems for SMEs in wake of Billson report, but business leaders say "much more" to be done
The Fair Work Commission has responded to former Small Business Minister Bruce Billson's report into unfair dismissal changes for SMEs by ignoring the main recommendation for a case triaging system but agreeing to a number of simplification and information access initiatives aimed at smaller players.
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The top sources of Australian job insecurity don't include robots
Not a week goes by without a news story (or a few) about people losing their jobs to robots, or the potential effects of a rapidly changing labour market. We are told repeatedly about how many jobs are going to be lost - both unskilled and skilled jobs are predicted to disappear. These risks are no doubt real, if uncertain in their magnitude. But these prognoses are largely the work of academics and economic forecasters. So, how do Australians feel about their job prospects in an age of automation?
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CBS says it is investigating misconduct allegations v CEO Leslie Moonves
New York | US broadcasting and media company CBS said it was investigating allegations of personal misconduct by its chief executive Leslie Moonves ahead of an upcoming New Yorker magazine article that is expected to detail the claims. CBS owns Network Ten in Australia.
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Promoting Workplace Compliance in Your Franchise Network
Whilst franchisors are indeed required to have a certain level of oversight with regard to the professional conduct of their franchisees, many franchisors may feel that it is unlikely that they will be held liable for actions taken by their franchisees.
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Childcare shake-up neglects family day care workers, but we can learn from garment workers' experience
The federal government has rolled out new Child Care Subsidy arrangements based on parents' earnings. Recent policy changes emphasise the need for quality childcare. To this end, policy has promoted minimum educational qualifications for childcare workers and increased reliance on market principles.
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Call for inquiry into sacking of Cricket Australia staffer
An Upper House Tasmanian MLC wants an inquiry into any role the Tasmanian Government played in Cricket Australia's sacking of Angela Williamson, who criticised the lack of abortion services in the state.
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Safety notices: Is the regulator required to show their hand?
An employer who chose not to comply with a Notice to Produce document issued by a safety regulator in Victoria has lost their final appeal to overturn a $25,000 fine. In a recent decision handed down by the Victorian Court of Appeal, the Court rejected the employer's argument that the statutory notice it was issued pursuant to section 9(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (the Act) was invalid, with the Court finding that the notice did not need to specify the provision or provisions of the Act that the employer was suspected of having breached.
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Blurring of professional and personal relationship prevents stop bullying order
A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (Commission) has examined the blurred lines between professional and personal relationships within the workplace. The Commission rejected an employee's claim that her managing director bullied her through comments about her appearance, personal life, and sick leave.
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25 July 2018

Why method of dismissal needs to be reviewed by the Commission
According to a recent case of Ms Anita Cachia v Scobel Pty Ltd (2018) FWC 2648, the Fair Work Commission confirmed that employees should only be dismissed by phone, text or email in "rare circumstances". In all other instances, the decision to dismiss an employee should be communicated in person. This decision is hugely surprising given that we are in 2018; an age encompassed by an abundance of technological devices providing us with various means of communication.
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What's in a Relationship? Legal Perspectives on Office romances
Managing office romances is a difficult task, especially where the employees work together. However, there are two decisions in unfair dismissal cases which have upheld the dismissal of employees who were in a relationship with subordinates. In both cases, the Commission recognised that in those situations the employees had a duty to disclose the relationship to their employer, as the relationship gave rise to a conflict of interest.
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Why Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma avoided hiring high achievers
Sometimes the academic high achiever, or even the candidate with the best work experience, isn't the right person for the job. At least, that was Jack Ma's attitude to hiring in the early days of e-commerce giant Alibaba. In the book Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built, an excerpt of which was published in Tech in Asia, author Duncan Clark, an entrepreneur and expert on entrepreneurship in China, quotes Ma as saying he has no interest in candidates with business qualifications.
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'Delusional belief': how we think about our careers could be completely wrong
Choosing a career can be a daunting proposition. But part of the reason may be that we're looking at career paths the wrong way. That's what a growing number of experts are saying. In an article in the Harvard Business Review last week, the psychology researcher Tania Luna and the Weight Watchers International executive Jordan Cohen said modern employees are suffering from their belief in the "career myth," what they describe as "a delusional belief in the outdated idea of linear career progression."
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New Deliveroo contract shifts liability for undelivered food to riders
Food delivery service Deliveroo has given workers a week to sign a new contract that would make them liable for any food that is not delivered, even if it is not their fault. It comes days after Deliveroo told a number of workers it couldn't find their current agreements, and warned them their accounts would be suspended if they didn't sign a new agreement or submit a copy of their existing contract.
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Forty-five hours a week in meetings: Who wants to be a CEO?
What do chief executive officers do? They go to meetings, mainly. When not in meetings, they spend a lot of time on email. So CEOs are just like other people? (Other people with office jobs, at least.) Not quite. There are some areas where the 27 CEOs whose days were tracked for three months for a study just published in the Harvard Business Review stand out from regular folks.
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Sexual harassment: in the spotlight
Sexual harassment is against the law, and it has been for quite some time. Yet, such behaviour is still happening in our workplaces today. Statistics reveal that one in five women say they have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. About one in ten women say that they have seen such behaviour. It begs the question, why is sexual harassment still prevalent in 2018?
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Protecting Confidential Information: Termination Day
This article is the final piece in a three part series of blogs focussed on how organisations can most effectively protect themselves against employees stealing confidential information. Following on from our second blog in the series, which focussed on how to effectively protect your company's confidential information from an employee during their notice period up until their termination, this blog looks at common mistakes employers make when exiting an employee, and what to do in the event that a former employee has been found to have stolen company data, or is working in breach of a restraint of trade.
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Working four-day weeks for five days' pay? Research shows it pays off
Employees at a New Zealand company behind an innovative trial of a four-day working week have declared it a resounding success, with 78% saying they were better able to manage their work-life balance. Perpetual Guardian, which manages trusts and wills, released their findings from the trial, which was prompted by research that suggests modern workers are only productive for about three hours in a working day.
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Women are dominating employment growth, but what sort of jobs are we talking about?
One of the biggest transformations we have seen in advanced economies is the increased participation of women in the paid workforce. In recent Australian labour force trends, female participation is growing at nine times the rate of men's. Women are dominating both full and part-time employment growth in Australia.
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Yet Another Man Behaving Badly - Sending Inappropriate Emails and Text Messages
A former City of Rockingham (City) employee was found to have been fairly dismissed from his employment as a senior surveyor, after the Fair Work Commission (FWC) found he had sent inappropriate emails and text messages to a number of city employees. In September 2017, two City employees made complaints that Mr Reguero-Puente had been sending them unwelcome and unsolicited emails and text messages after hours and on weekends.
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Parents of workplace accident victim back push for industrial manslaughter laws
Dave and Janine Brownlee are still waiting for answers about why their son was crushed to death at work. Jack Brownlee was trapped for three hours after the trench he was working in collapsed beneath him at a Ballarat construction site in March.
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'Small town' culture preventing women from reporting sexual harassment, anti-discrimination commissioner says
Concerns workplace sexual harassment complaints will not be kept confidential in small towns is part of the reason reports have not increased in the Northern Territory, according to the NT anti-discrimination commissioner. The rise of the #MeToo movement has seen an increase in public outings of sexual harassment, commissioner Sally Seivers said.
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18 July 2018

Uber HR exec quits after racial furore
Uber’s chief people officer has suddenly resigned from the role, following allegations she mishandled allegations of racial discrimination. Liane Hornsey resigned in an email to staff on Tuesday, after an investigation into accusations from anonymous whistleblowers that the US-based executive had systematically dismissed internal complaints of racial discrimination. Ms Hornsey was head of human resources at the ride sharing giant and one of the firm’s top spokespeople on diversity and discrimination issues.
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Bill Shorten pledge to lift pay for labour hire workers
A Shorten Labor government would review the definition of “casual” work and will set an objective test for deciding when a worker is a “casual”. Labor has already said it will also introduce a national labour hire licensing scheme to set a floor for standards and to protect workers from exploitation. It will require all labour hire companies to be licensed.
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Militant Michele O’Neil strikes a tough line as ACTU president
New ACTU president Michele O’Neil has backed union militancy, calling for greater strike rights and renewing her criticism of Labor’s asylum-seeker policy. Along with re-elected ACTU secretary Sally McManus, Ms O’Neil, the long-time left-wing textile workers union leader, will aggressively campaign for federal Labor to back the union movement’s push for significant changes to the workplace laws.
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BOM staff still sneaking in pleas for help in weather forecasts as pay dispute drags on
Workplace relations at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) are cold and the forecast is for increasing frost. BOM staff have stepped up their campaign in protracted pay negotiations, hijacking the weather bureau's website and media appearances with messages about the dispute.
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WA Jobs growth dominated by part-time
Just under 60 per cent of all jobs created across the country over the past year have been full-time, with an increasing share of those going to older workers. Across all age groups women are the least likely to get a full-time job. The WA economy has been particularly affected by the surge in part-time work. Over the past year, three out of four jobs created in the State have been part-time. Seventy-five per cent of new jobs, full and part-time, have been created only in the past three months.
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Most Australian workplaces are failing to achieve diversity: study
Many workplaces across Australia are taking the wrong approach to diversity and inclusion across all levels of the organisations, as simple quotas and training modules fall short, a new study has found.
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A new skills shortage looms in Western Australia as fears of automation turns workers away
Those in the recruitment industry believe a fear of automation is having a significant impact on job choices and contributing to a skills shortage in WA.
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Australia’s Top Analytics Leaders Revealed. Get Out Your Chequebooks
They are now officially 25 of Australia’s most in-demand professionals. IAPA, the peak body for analytics professionals in Australia, has revealed what is describes as ten of the country’s top 25 analytics leaders as part of its IAPA Top 25 Analytics Leaders program. At a time when data science is one of the countries most in-demand business skills, HR managers everywhere will be firing up their LinkedIn dashboard.
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Deliveroo under fire as unions ramp up fair work campaign
Deliveroo is under fire for mistreating its workers after it lost an undisclosed number of its riders' contracts and threatened to suspend others from work.
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Everyone lies in their job application .... so can I fire them?
There is a common perception that most people lie in their résumés and job applications. Whether it be the exaggerating the seniority of a role, extending the length of time you actually worked in a particular position or describing a particular epoch as "time spent travelling" to avoid disclosing a short but ill-fated period of employment. So what rights does an employer have when it discovers that Tom never completed his degree; that Dick's referee is in fact his Mum; or that Harry was Assistant to the Regional Manager rather than Assistant Regional Manager?
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Changes To Important Employment-Related Financial Thresholds 2018
A number of employment-related monetary thresholds are indexed annually on 1 July.
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11 July 2018

How Australian companies can minimise World Cup-related sickies
The overwhelming majority (87%) of HR managers say it is likely that at least one of their employees will call in sick the day after a major sporting event, with almost a quarter (22%) calling it “very likely”. It’s inevitable a certain percentage of staff will chuck a sickie after a big World Cup game. But there is a simple way to deal with it ...
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Second #MeToo letter to accounting firm demands more action
A company partner having a consensual extramarital affair with another partner was named and shamed in a second anonymous letter sent to the most senior levels of the accounting firm
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I boarded a flight in Britain and when I landed the world had changed
The New York Times story exposing decades of sexual harassment and assault perpetrated by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein had broken. These allegations set off what can only be described as an avalanche, with women around the globe coming forward to tell their own stories of sexual harassment.
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The AHRC and criminal record discrimination: A toothless tiger
The recent AHRC report into discrimination in employment on the basis of criminal record, BE v Suncorp Group Ltd [2018] AusHRC 121, has garnered significant media attention and community debate. What it serves to highlight is that the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is a "toothless tiger" when it comes to discrimination on the basis of criminal record.
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Hair and beauty salon backpays workers $25,000 but avoid penalties after signing deal with workplace watchdog
A Sydney-based beauty and hair salon has avoided paying penalties by entering into an enforceable undertaking (EU) with Australia’s workplace watchdog after admitting to underpaying seven workers more than $25,000 and failing to issue them payslips.
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Cosmetics king hit with $100k underpayment, bullying claim
Make-up mogul Napoleon Perdis and his former right-hand man are at logger-heads in the Federal Court amid claims the latter was allegedly underpaid and loaded up with personal errands. Giovanni (John) Rosiello is suing his former employer for nearly $100,000 in unpaid bonuses and other outstanding contractual payments.
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Turnbull govt under pressure over blind recruiting for APS after Liberal Council vote
The party’s peak forum for debating federal issues has reportedly adopted the policy as a way to reinforce merit-based recruitment that neither favours Anglo-Saxon and male candidates, nor provides a boost to the number of women and ethnic minorities in the workforce.
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How businesses can prepare their contact centre for a bot/AI environment
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the rapid adoption of new trends and tools in the contact centre industry. As we enter what many call the fourth industrial revolution, one technology that has gained momentum globally is artificial intelligence.
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The workplace where dads and secondary carers get 14 weeks paid leave
Medibank has issued a challenge to corporate Australia with their policy offering 14 weeks paid leave to all parents, regardless of whether they’re the primary or secondary carer. That 14 weeks of paid leave far exceeds anything on offer for secondary parents from other large employers in Australia.
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Soft skills dying out as training budgets slashed
Skills shortages aren’t just limited to technical know-how, with a lack of training leading to a chronic shortage of soft skills in the marketplace. Ben Foote, CEO of the Australian Institute of Management, suggested that many businesses are overlooking soft skills in their training budgets, and in doing so are restricting their future growth potential.
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The PageUp Data breach is still resonating
A discussion thread on Australia's largest technology forum about the ongoing effects of the PageUp data breach continues with many comments from people saying they are recieving emails from multiple employers, some of whom they can't even recall applying to
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4 July 2018

Cost of the #MeToo movement has businesses scrambling to prevent sexual harassment
Dealing with sexual harassment can be a difficult, lengthy and unavoidable cost to companies. But as organisations become aware of more subtle forms of harassment, they also find secondary costs to their businesses.
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Australia needs 200,000 more jobs to thrive in digital economy
In order for Australia to take the lead in digital skills and employment, the nation requires the creation of an extra 200,000 jobs, a new report has revealed.
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When is a contractor not a contractor?
Mistaking an employee for a contractor can devastate any business, with fines of up to A$63,000 per breach.
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Amnesty for Employers – Superannuation Guarantee Update
A limited opportunity to correct compulsory superannuation errors before heavy-handed audit activity starts
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Redesigning policy and process for enhanced transparency and compliance with new laws
Whistleblowing is often seen as a risk for boards, committees, directors and the organisation's reputation. But with a sound whistleblowing infrastructure in place, whistleblowing brings an opportunity to better understand and manage culture, allowing to solve irregularities internally, before they become uncontrollable externally.
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Protecting Confidential Information: The Notice Period
Employment relationships are just like any other relationship: the only certainty is that they will eventually come to an end - and whether an employee resigns, or is terminated, the notice period can be a risky time for businesses. Departing employees tend to be looking forward to their next positions, thus their focus and priorities often shift from looking after their employer's interests, to taking care of their own.
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New national guidance material on work-related psychological health and safety
On 14 June 2018, Safe Work Australia released its much-anticipated national guidance material on work-related psychological health and safety.
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Employer Risk Management: Misleading and deceptive conduct in recruitment
Employers intent on winning over that candidate for a role regularly unwittingly expose themselves to litigation arising from misleading and deceptive conduct. Conduct in the specific course of recruitment which is likely to mislead or deceive is prohibited by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). It is punishable by penalties of up to $1.1 million for a body corporate and $220,000 for an individual.
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Staying classy – the new trend in employment litigation
The trend towards employment-related class action litigation is continuing with the recent news that workers at BHP’s Mount Arthur Coal Mine are commencing class action proceedings against BHP subsidiaries and their labour-hire contractors alleging underpayment and misclassification of workers. The claims are purportedly valued at more than $40 million. The development of plaintiff-friendly class action reforms across a number of Australian jurisdictions has seen an increase in class actions in recent years, particularly with the implementation of Part IVA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) and similar reforms in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
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Victorian Labour Hire Licensing Act Passed
On 20 June 2018, the Victorian Parliament passed legislation implementing labour hire licensing requirements, making Victoria the third state to do so following the introduction of similar laws in Queensland and South Australia.
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Sexual Harassment And Bullying – An Ongoing Challenge For The Modern Workplace
Australia has been alive to sexual and other express forms of discrimination since the mid-1980’s, with the establishment of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984 and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in 1986. Yet despite over thirty years of operation and practice, if the behaviours of senior business leaders (read top-tier lawyers), well known entertainers, churchman and politicians, to say nothing of the everyday conduct of many lower to middle management employees are to be factored in, it is clear that we are yet to learn the lessons. Given the impact on the bottom line, the question is, why have we been so utterly negligent in addressing the issue?
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An author has identified 5 categories of 'bullshit jobs' to be found in corporate Australia
Would anyone notice, or care, if your job didn’t exist anymore? At first glance, we can all come up with great reasons why we would be missed, including those uplifting jokes dropped during a coffee break. But are we really making a difference? Looking at the work done by others, most can quickly give examples of jobs that really didn’t add much to the smooth running of the business.
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27 June 2018

Queensland boss attacks “slovenly” and “toxic” employees in LinkedIn post
The chief executive of a beleaguered Queensland-based disability support charity has been criticised for reportedly abusing her employees on social media shortly after announcing the collapse of the organisation, prompting calls from experts for SME owners to be mindful of their own stress levels.
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Why do some job adverts put women off applying?
Words matter. And the way we use them in job adverts can dictate whether or not people bother to apply. This is a big problem if you're a business trying to recruit more women and ethnic minorities into your workforce. So can tech help remove these unconscious biases?
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Are personality tests like Myers-Briggs just corporate astrology?
Chances are you know your Myers-Briggs type too – or perhaps you’ve taken one of the hundreds of other personality tests on the market. You may have done a test as part of a job application, or for “development” purposes alongside team building exercises on a corporate “away-day”. But is personality testing a useful tool to better understanding yourself and others? Or is it just corporate astrology?
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World-first national inquiry into workplace sexual harassment
The Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins has announced a national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. “I am delighted to announce that the Australian Human Rights Commission will be undertaking this National Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, and I commend the Australian Government on their decision to fund this work,” Commissioner Jenkins said.
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Dressed for success? The last taboos of dressing for work
There was a time in her career when Dorothy Hisgrove remembers being told not to wear pant suits and what type of pantyhose to wear. Thankfully for the now human resources manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia, those days are over. In 2016 PwC scrapped its formal dress codes for employees. However, Ms Hisgrove still believes dressing for work can be more complex for women than men.
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Losing our way: How the cult of the KPI has damaged our moral compass
Why did they do it? That is the question that springs to mind when trying to explain systematically bad behaviour. It was asked when recently it emerged Commonwealth Bank staff were inappropriately setting up bank accounts for children. Victoria Police pondered the same thing when its officers were found to be inflating breath test bags themselves. Both problems were so widespread that individual staff could not reasonably be punished. There are many more examples both here and overseas not least exposed at the banking royal commission. A common element, say experts, is a"set and forget" approach to key performance indicators (KPIs).
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Providers told to put a greater focus on workforce planning
Residential aged care providers are not putting enough attention on strategic workforce management initiatives despite staff being the most expensive area of the business, an industry conference heard. Human resource consultancy Realise Performance analysed and compared workforces in the aged care sector and the broader market over a 12-month period. Recruiting and retaining the right staff, managing absenteeism and workforce planning continue to be major human resource challenges for the sector, said Realise Performance managing director Chris Westacott.
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Netflix's top spokesman Jonathan Friedland fired over use of racial term in meetings
A top Netflix executive has been sacked after he used the N-word in front of colleagues on more than one occasion. Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings sent an email to employees saying he had fired the company's top spokesman Jonathan Friedland for showing "unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity".
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Insights from the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey: Uneasy, pessimistic, and concerned
For younger workers, the gap is widening between what responsible companies should achieve and what businesses' actual priorities are. The good news, according to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey : Business leaders have an opportunity to turn things around—and win back millennials' loyalty.
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The time is ripe for a more activist approach to industrial relations
It is becoming harder to deny that without changes to our industrial relations system, low wage growth will remain locked in. After the fight over tax, this should be the main focus of the next election campaign given even the head of the Reserve Bank, Philip Lowe, concedes the evidence is “pretty compelling” that changes in industrial relations designed to bring greater flexibility and less centralisation have contributed to our current state of record low wages growth.
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New laws and penalties for WHS breaches in QLD
There are several aspects of the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (Qld) commence on 1 July 2018.
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#MeToo report sent anonymously to senior partners of leading consulting firm
The Australian Financial Review reports almost two dozen Australian senior partners of a leading accounting and consulting firm received a report from an anonymous source which outlined what the author or authors described as ongoing tolerance of inappropriate behaviour at the organisation. It outlined alleged partner conduct at the firm including sexual harassment, bullying and extramarital affairs. There was also mention of the burgeoning #MeToo movement as it described a "boy's club" culture within the firm, with the human resources complaints process seen as ineffective by female staff.
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20 June 2018

WorkCover warns employers not to attend medical appointments for injured workers
Bosses wanting to sit in on the medical appointments of injured workers have been given notice by the WA Government regulator they are not welcome.
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Sexual Harassment and Bullying - an Ongoing Challenge for the Modern Workplace
Australia has been alive to sexual and other express forms of discrimination since the mid-1980's, with the establishment of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984 and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in 1986. Yet despite over thirty years of operation and practice, if the behaviours of senior business leaders (read top-tier lawyers), well known entertainers, churchman and politicians, to say nothing of the everyday conduct of many lower to middle management employees are to be factored in, it is clear that we are yet to learn the lessons.
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A valid reason to dismiss is not always enough
Having a valid reason for dismissal was not enough to save two employers from being found to have unfairly dismissed their workers in two recent Fair Work Commission (Commission) cases.
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Mothers have little to show for extra days of work under new tax changes
The federal government's new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) starts from July 2, 2018. The government has also announced personal income tax cuts. But these policies still don't stop many women facing high effective marginal tax rates - as much as 95% for those in low-income households - on income from extra days worked. This is because the extra earnings interact with policies including income tax rates, the Medicare levy and losing family benefits, combined with the net cost of child care.
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Can an employee withdraw their resignation? Do you have to accept an employee's resignation for it to be valid?
When an employee notifies his / her employer that they wish to terminate their employment, their employment will automatically terminate when the relevant notice period expires. That is, it takes effect irrespective of the employer's acceptance or rejection of the notice. Further, if an employee gives notice of his /her intention to terminate their employment, and the employer opts to take advantage of an ability to make a payment to the employee in lieu of the employee working out the notice period (for example, if the relevant employment contract allows the employer to do this), such action by the employer can only be viewed as an acceptance of the resignation.
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Office relationships: managing the hidden dangers with workplace love
Office relationships and breakups provide much gossip around the water-cooler. As we have seen in recent years, it also provides fodder for the media. Office relationships and the fall out, have the capacity to detrimentally affect decision-making, morale and reputations. Earlier this year, the Australian Parliament was embroiled with a scandal involving the Deputy Prime Minister, a staffer and their relationship. How to respond? A 'bonk-ban'. Such a "grey area", as someone intimately involved once said.
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"I'm sick ... and that's that": managing employee absences
Employees (and their unions) may sometimes hold the belief that an employer may not question their absence from work or challenge their medical certificate. "It's my right to take sick leave", they may exclaim. A manager may fear challenging this employee, and prefer to not have a difficult conversation. Maybe they have heard an Industrial Commissioner say "[w]here the certificate states that the employee will be absent on a particular date it must be assumed that the doctor found the employee incapable of working on the specified date".
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Sixth Brisbane 7-Eleven store fined for underpaying workers
A sixth 7-Eleven store owner in Brisbane has been fined more than $32,000 and his business $160,000 for underpaying staff, a Fair Work Australia investigation has revealed. It is the 10th investigation into the operations of a 7-Eleven Store and the sixth Brisbane store investigated since the underpayment of wages at the chain was raised in 2014.
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The workplace where dads and secondary carers get 14 weeks paid leave
Medibank has issued a challenge to corporate Australia with their policy offering 14 weeks paid leave to all parents, regardless of whether they're the primary or secondary carer. That 14 weeks of paid leave far exceeds anything on offer for secondary parents from other large employers in Australia.
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What is the borderline between disrespect and workplace bullying?
The borderline between disrespect and workplace bullying or harassment is when negativity becomes habitual, concentrating on one person.
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Injured before start of work hours: is compo due?
A tribunal has ruled that a man who was injured between a car park and his employer's shop, 15 minutes before work started, was entitled to compensation. A worker arrived early on 20 September 2016 at the shopping centre where he worked and parked his car in the staff car park. Taking a shortcut from the car park, he attempted to climb down a retaining wall into a laneway at the side of his employer's store. However, he lost his balance and stumbled. He sustained multiple fractures to his right ankle.
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Late night Facebook rant led to unfair dismissal
A hairdresser who was fired by her boss during a late night social media rant has won her unfair dismissal claim. On December 6 last year, the salon owner used Facebook Messenger to ask the female worker whether he had a 9am appointment the next day. When the woman didn't answer he began to threaten her with dismissal.
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Sacked: tram driver makes bad call
A tram driver who checked messages on her mobile phone while her tram was stopped at an intersection was validly dismissed for breaching company rules, according to the Fair Work Commission.
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13 June 2018

Blame PageUp breach on security industry
Recent revelations about the data breach affecting human resources management platform PageUp highlighted that persisting with the traditional signature-based approach to endpoint protection is like installing an alarm system after a burglary. While you might be protected against the same attack in the future, it’s not an effective means of preventing data losses caused by increasingly advanced and unknown cyber threats. This is not news to many security professionals. But unfortunately, many businesses have been quite seriously misinformed by the security industry over a long period.
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PageUp breach scare prompts class action prospects
Sydney-based law firm Centennial Lawyers is investigating the prospects of a class action against Australian human resources software vendor PageUp, after it flagged a potential breach of clients’ data following a malware hit earlier this year. Telstra, Jetstar and the Tasmanian Government are among several local organisations to have temporarily suspended their use of the PageUp platform, while Australia Post warned employees that their personal information may have been compromised. Now, Centennial Lawyers has said it is reaching out to job seekers and employees of more than 15 companies as it explores the prospect of a class action against PageUp over the potential breach.
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Food delivery company Foodora facing “unquestionably significant” legal action over alleged sham contracting
Food delivery startup Foodora has been accused of sham contracting and worker underpayment by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) in a case that has been called “unquestionably significant” for the future of Australia’s gig economy.
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What makes managers happy or unhappy at work?
We intuitively know that a “happy worker is a good worker.” But what about their bosses? In the modern workplace, managers are accountable to several groups of people, from rank-and-file employees on one side, to chief executives and shareholders on the other. How well they juggle these conflicting pressures can determine not only their performance at work, but also how happy they are while doing it. Research funded by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and featuring interviews with managers from a range of sectors, is the first to ask specifically what makes managers happy or unhappy at work.
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Workplace culture: The first line of information security defence
The most underappreciated threat to any business, large or small is its own people. That’s not to say that a business’s employees are out to get them or maliciously steal from the company, but a workplace culture that is lax with security, that does not encourage staff to be vigilant and does not evangelise for security beyond the security or IT teams is the single biggest threat to a company’s ongoing security. Unfortunately, culture isn’t the type of thing you can make changes to and expect an immediate impact or response – it takes time. There however are a few steps that any business can take in ensuring that security is taken seriously.
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How much progress have we actually made when it comes to women on boards?
“You women are taking all our jobs.” This comment was delivered to me by a senior corporate male a few years ago. I was interviewing him as part of a research project on gender equity. The first part of the interview was conducted with his back to me. An unforgettable experience. So, how far have we come in terms of gender equity in the workplace now that it’s 2018? In terms of women on boards, I do believe we have come some way.
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Managers are important, but aren’t the biggest reason why people leave
Your business is only as successful as your people; it’s a sentiment we hear time and time again. Last year, SmartCompany research revealed that 67% of business owners admitted to making mistakes when hiring. Given the potentially devastating impact that hiring the wrong person can have on a small business’s bottom line — not to mention the immeasurable cost of missing out on a superstar employee — that’s a concerning statistic. In this Q&A piece, Culture Amp’s director of people practices Christian Miran busts common myths about employee retention and offers advice on how you can attract and retain the best talent to drive and grow your business.
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Uber and Airbnb: Who really benefits in the 'share economy'?
The share economy is a façade that allows companies such as Uber to flaunt social values at the cost of fair wages, writes Sochanda Thach. With rising concerns about sustainability and wastage, today’s generation looks to the sharing economy as a norm rather than a trend. People are moving away from hyper-consumerism and towards collaborative consumption — but can we actually call the sharing economy "sharing"?
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'Tortuous' language in industrial awards needs to go, says Fair Work boss
Australia's complex awards system is a real barrier to workers being paid properly by small businesses, the head of Australia's industrial relations umpire says.
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Is It Legal To Terminate An Injured Worker?
“You’re terminated!” They’re the two words nobody, under any circumstances, ever wants to hear or receive in writing. The flow-on effect from losing a job can be catastrophic – potentially leaving you financially unstable, emotionally insecure and contemplating your worth in the workforce. Yes, there’s never a good time to receive this news, but imagine being terminated when you’re physically incapacitated and incapable of completing the tasks you love or are trained to perform. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many Australians every year who suffer a workplace injury and require medical aid and time off. Is this legal?
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6 June 2018

Bank details, TFNs, personal details of job applicants compromised in major PageUp data breach
PageUp, which boasts 2 million active users across 190 countries, posted a statement from chief executive Karen Cariss on their website, saying they had noticed "unusual activity" in their IT infrastructure on May 23. The company has launched an investigation, while their client companies also released emergency statements to their employees and candidates who had applied for jobs using PageUp's software.
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Digital Transformation Is Critical To A Great Employee Experience
If you think about it, many of the things we take for granted in our workplaces, that are delivered by Human Resources (HR) departments are point solutions that fulfil specific needs but don't often work all that well together. On-boarding processes bring staff into a company, there are training and development programs and a bunch of processes we need to follow that we might only access very rarely. How do those things hang together to create a great workplace experience? Digital transformation in HR is emerging as a key tool for improving employee satisfaction.
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How to manage the challenges of an ageing workforce
The effects of Australia's ageing workforce are expected to be so pronounced that the government has budgeted for retraining, but what can human resources do?
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It's not (just) about the money, millennials say
In a time when tales of corporate greed and misconduct abound, is it any wonder young people's confidence in business ethics has plunged? This year's annual Deloitte Millennial Survey shows Generation Y's opinion of business motivation and ethics is at the lowest point in three years.
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Why you still need human contact in a digital business world
In today’s digital world it’s easier to connect than ever before. This is great news for small business owners who need to find products and services and ‘meet’ other owners through networking activities on online forums and groups – but does that mean human contact is redundant? Absolutely not.
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When a picture really is worth 1000 words – The "comic (employment) contract"
In an age when the most popular form of communication is limited to 280 characters, it is unsurprising that the public’s tolerance for dense, overly complex legal contracts is in decline. It now appears that the process of simplification that began with the “plain English drafting” ethos is about to take the next step, with the rise of the visual narrative contract, or “comic contract”.
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How diversity can help business go from good to great
Workplace diversity seems to be a buzzword at the moment, but do we really understand what it means? People often think conversations about diversity are just code for gender equality issues. It’s true gender differences that manifest in pay gaps and lack of flexible work options are urgent matters, but real diversity and inclusion is also much broader. Few leaders understand the implications and benefits of harnessing its power.
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FWC fines employer over $22k for inflexible refusal of Pilates classes
In commentary that is particularly fitting for the story behind it, the FWC has found an employer was unreasonably inflexible when it dismissed an employee who had requested to finish work 15 minutes early to attend prepaid Pilates classes. In Khutson v Chesson Pty Ltd T/A Pay Per Click [2018] FWC 2080, the employee argued that her dismissal was unfair because she refused to sign a revised employment contract that, amongst other things, had sought to change her working hours such that she would be unable to attend Pilates classes that she had already paid for.
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Aussie employers encouraged to hire refugees
Australian employers are demonstrating a keen willingness to take on refugees but are struggling to know how to reach and onboard them, a prominent university has claimed.
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Why Medibank lends out its best staff to foster innovation
John Goodall heads technology and operations at one of Australia’s largest private health insurers, Medibank. To encourage fresh thinking, he’s preparing to share some of his employees with those from a major technology team in a different industry. Goodall’s willingness to look outside his organisation is an example of the openness that characterises the best innovation leaders.
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Home offices and work claims on the ATO’s hit list this July
From home office expenses to income from sharing economy platforms, the Australian Taxation Office looks to be casting its net wide when it comes to areas of focus during 2018 tax time. Work-related expenses will be front and centre this July, with the office signposting numerous times over the past year that it will be tracking everything from home office claims to car use and deductions made for work uniforms and clothing.
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Check your timesheets – in excess of $120,000 in penalties for employer who failed to keep time and wages records
Employers face increased penalties for failing to keep proper records as a result of recent changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) through the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 (Cth). The case of Fair Work Ombudsman v Pulis Plumbing Pty Ltd & Anor serves as a warning to employers that a failure to comply with employee records obligations not only leads to significant penalties, but means that employers are unable to disprove employee allegations about underpayments.
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30 May 2018

Australian business is unprepared for the 2018 Modern Slavery Act
Deloitte spoke to more than 1000 individuals across multiple organisations, but found senior CSR people were underestimating the likelihood of problems to deal with and report on in their modern supply chains.
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Union wants jail, multi-million dollar fines for workplace deaths
One of the state's biggest unions has called on the McGowan government to follow a Victorian Labor party commitment and introduce 20-year jail sentences and multi-million-dollar fines for employers who fail to prevent workplace deaths. On Saturday Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced they would introduce industrial manslaughter legislation if relected in November.
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Back to basics - Assaults in the workplace and the importance of having a reliable witness - Australian legal update
This article explores the case of Eastment v State of Queensland [2017] QDC 201, which centers on an assault in the workplace and also highlights the importance of having a reliable witness at trial. Mr Eastment's case is predicated on the occurrence of an event on 6 March 2009 (two days prior to the assault).
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The risk from within: employee fraud & theft
With high profile news stories about data theft and cyber-attacks, business is properly focused on managing risks from these external sources. As a result, less attention can be paid to risks from within the business. Bartier Perry explains the risks. An obvious risk is that posed by employees, who, for whatever reason, decide to do the wrong thing and take from the business.
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Superannuation is still mired in the same old issues, and no one is going to fix your nest egg but you
The Productivity Commission's latest report on superannuation asks whether the current system is working for members - and answers firmly in the negative. The report identifies four factors that can chip away at super fund members' retirement benefits.
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Young people, not employers, should choose super fund: Productivity Commission
Young people entering the workforce should choose their own superannuation fund, rather than the present system of their employer selecting the fund for them, according to a Productivity Commission report released on Tuesday. It recommends that these workers should be given a "best in show" shortlist set by a "competitive and independent process."
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How parenthood continues to cost women more than men
New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is about to become a first-time parent next month, and her partner, Clarke Gayford, will set an example by becoming a stay-at-home dad. But Jacinda and Clarke's plan is still the exception rather than the rule. Mothers tend to take more time than fathers away from their careers when they have children, and they pay a significant price.
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Billionaire Jack Cowin calls for government inquiry into "gig economy" food companies Uber Eats, Foodora and Deliveroo
One of the richest businessmen in Australia is calling on the federal government to launch an investigation into the employment practices of food delivery platforms including Uber Eats, Foodora and Deliveroo. While numerous small business owners have spoken out about the problems they've experienced when using Uber Eats for their business, Jack Cowin says there needs to be an "equalisation" between how gig economy platforms and other businesses pay workers.
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Hairdresser wins unfair dismissal claim after Facebook Messenger conversation with boss "spiralled out of control"
In a decision before the Fair Work Commission last week, a hairdresser was held to have been unfairly dismissed after an exchange with her boss over Facebook Messenger where he aggressively turned on her. The employee (JLM) and her boss (CT) regularly conversed outside of hours on Facebook messenger. On 6 December 2017, however, their exchange "spiralled out of control".
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Are top chief executives actually worth it?
You've worked hard to get where you are, therefore you're entitled . to what? Does it depend on what and how you deliver? An interesting survey of the top 50 chief executives looks at people who have delivered the best results for their respective companies over the long term. We are talking in terms of months, even years in Warren Buffett's case; through his prudent and steady development of Berkshire Hathaway, he has proven himself a superior chief executive and investor.
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Victorian Government vows to crack down on wage theft, with penalties of up to 10 years in jail
Victoria's Labor Government has promised to introduce laws targeting employers who underpay their workers, with penalties of up to 10 years in jail. The new laws, which were announced at this weekend's Labor Party conference, would also introduce fines of almost $200,000 for individuals and almost $1 million for companies that deliberately withhold wages, fail to pay superannuation or other entitlements, or do not keep proper employment records.
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23 May 2018

When is swearing in the workplace a basis for dismissal?
Numerous recent cases have considered swearing in the workplace. But when the decision at first instance in Gosek v Illawarra Coal Holdings Pty Limited T/A South32 (Gosek) was handed down by Commissioner Riordan late last year, there was a media frenzy, followed by widespread criticism of the decision.
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4 things you need to know about paying a salary under an award
Many employers incorrectly assume that where they are paying an employee a salary, they are simply not covered by an award. Given the strict consequences for employers who fail to pay staff correctly under an award, it's critical that employers understand their obligations.
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Why we need to rethink the concept of work
With so many women now in the workplace and feminism's early victories (it's been over a century since women were first given the vote, more than half a century since the advent of the Pill, and there's at least 50% female graduation in today's university courses), you'd think that old glass ceiling would be badly wobbling by now.
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It's time for a revolt on CEO pay
It's time to rethink CEO pay, but not in the way you imagine. Yes, CEO pay is extreme. Some might even call it excessive. And from a social equity perspective, I agree. But that's not the only - and probably not even the most important - reason that we should reconsider how we remunerate those who sit at the top of the corporate tree.
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Why your open plan office is like a nudist beach
In the #MeToo era, an open-office environment might seem like the perfect solution for fixing the sexual harassment that can take place behind closed office doors. If there are glass walls everywhere, and no one has doors or even plastic partitions to reserve any sense of privacy, groping and sexual advances might be harder to get away with.
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Why work when you can procrastibake?
All procrastibakers do not bake alike. Procrastibaking - the practice of baking something completely unnecessary, with the intention of avoiding "real" work - is a surprisingly common habit that has only recently acquired a name. Medical students, romance writers, freelance web designers: Almost anyone who works at home and has a cookie sheet in the cupboard can try it.
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Pictorial Employment Contracts – a legitimate craze, or just plain crazy?
As part of its focus on innovation, global engineering and advisory company Aurecon is introducing a visual employment contract, effectively eliminating the bulk of the text from their employment contracts by using pictures to accompany the contract's wording. As reported in the Australian Financial Review, this is the first time that an Australian company has introduced this type of visual employment contract.
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Company boards are stacked with friends of friends so how can we expect change?
Social connections drive board appointments and more than two-thirds of directors in the 200 largest public companies are on the board of multiple companies. So whoever replaces ex-AMP chairwoman Catherine Brenner will likely be drawn from a small pool of people.
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This is why everyone steals office supplies from work - including you
Have you ever taken office supplies home? Stole some pens and paper from your employer for your kids' arts and crafts class? Used the office printer to print personal concert tickets? In a recent anonymous survey by Papermate as part of the launch of a new pen, 100 per cent of office workers admitted to have stolen a pen at work. Other academic researchers have reported that up to 75 per cent of employees admitted to stealing office supplies in the past year.
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Forcing immigrants to work in regional areas will not boost regional economies in the long run
As politicians raise concerns about immigration straining infrastructure and public services in Australia's state capitals, the federal government is considering the idea of binding immigrants to particular regional and rural areas.
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16 May 2018

Tribunal won't be drawn into making conclusions on 'reasonable administrative action' without sufficient and direct evidence in support
Mr Gary Want was a public servant who had served in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for 12 years. From 2006 to September 2014, Mr Want was employed at the Department of Defence in an Executive Level 1 (EL1) position at a variety of locations. A lack of direct evidence on whether condition would not have arisen in absence of reasonable administrative action (RAA) prohibited the decision maker from applying the RAA exclusion.
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Five ways to become a better listener
Few of us like to admit we're poor listeners. The truth is, in our distracted society, most people are not particularly good at listening, and a vital tenet in human evolution is slipping away, unnoticed, as we become busier and paradoxically less focused. Any conversation or meeting is going to be fairly unproductive without good listening and questioning. Listening is what helps us focus, every bit as much as our other senses do, when we choose to use them. And questioning helps us find out more.
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Major supermarkets investigating worker claims of 'slave' conditions at major flower supplier
The country's three biggest supermarket chains have said they will investigate claims made by workers of exploitation and bullying at a major national flower supplier. Lynch Group is the largest flower wholesaler in the southern hemisphere and supplies flowers to Coles, Woolworths and Aldi stores around the country. The ABC first revealed claims of "sweatshop" working conditions at the Australian warehouses of Lynch Group in March.
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Unions watchdog gets funding boost, but fair wages enforcer misses out
The national unions watchdog has received an $8 million boost while funding for the organisation that polices wage theft has been frozen. The Fair Work Ombudsman's budget was shaved slightly in Tuesday night's budget from $110.464 million in the current financial year to $110.009 million this coming year. The funding freeze comes as the Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James lashed out at a "completely unacceptable" and "disturbing culture" of underpayment in the hospitality industry in the wake of a $300,000 fine for a Melbourne burger joint operator.
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Union movement can't afford to waste goodwill of 'staggering' march
Staggering. Getting 100,000 people on to the streets of Melbourne to protest against Australia's workplace laws shows there's still some life in the once-mighty union movement. In fact it is gaining strength every day. It is fundamentally winning the debate over workplace relations against weak and ineffectual business groups and interests that have failed to counter its arguments.
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'Fascinating test': Uni student, NAB locked in pay dispute
A student is taking legal action against NAB for failing to pay him for 12 months of work he did as part of a university job placement program. Daniel Stuart is claiming $80,833.83 for lost wages and superannuation in a statement of claim he has lodged with the Federal Circuit Court. He is claiming that he worked for the bank for a year in Melbourne as an employee and not as part of an unpaid vocational placement.
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The Gig Economy: the good, the bad and the downright unregulated
"This is Airtasker. Just post your task you need help with, choose the right person for the job and wait for the task to be done." But what happens when the task isn't done, what happens when you no longer feel `Like a Boss' and start to feel `at a loss' because what you had contracted for was not what was received? This is the first of a two part series focussing on the gig economy and its key stakeholders; the job poster or person requesting the services and the service provider.
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Introducing the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa and the Global Talent Scheme Pilot
On 18 April 2017, now Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, together with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, made a surprise announcement that the popular 457 visa would be abolished by March 2018, and replaced with a new visa in an effort to "put Australians first". Since the announcement, information about the new Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) ('TSS') visa has been scarce, leaving many employees currently on 457 visas feeling uncertain about their future. The legislative requirements of the new TSS visa were finally released on 18 March 2018.
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What it's like to be a `black economy' worker
Nina, not her real name, works for a cleaning company that sends her into private homes, in exchange for about $20 per hour, cash-in-hand. She's had numerous cash-in-hand jobs over the past few years. She used to work in restaurants where the pay was around $12 per hour. She told me she does it quite simply "for the money".
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Australia's stolen wages: one woman's quest for compensation
Bigali Hanlon is a Yindjibarndi woman born in 1940 at Mulga Downs in Western Australia. At the age of six, she was taken from her mother and sent to live in a church-run hostel for "fair-skinned" indigenous children. She lived there until she was 13, when she went into indentured domestic service. As in many other cases, wages were paid - but never to Bigali.
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Research check: we still don't have proof that cutting company taxes will boost jobs and wages
Simply comparing companies that receive a tax cut with those that don't isn't the right methodology to conclude that the 2015 tax cuts created more employment or higher wages. Cutting taxes lets companies keep more of their profits, allowing them to invest in new equipment and premises for example. The company then needs to hire more workers to work with these new assets. The newly created jobs require businesses to compete for workers and this increased demand pushes up wages across the entire economy.
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Labour market testing guidelines for sponsoring overseas workers
If your business sponsors overseas workers, or may need to sponsor overseas workers in the future, you need to understand the new labour market testing requirement. Labour market testing is a type of application criteria which means, you must satisfy the minimum requirements before submitting the employer nomination application. Failure to satisfy these minimum requirements will cause delays and can become a problem in circumstances where your business has an urgent role to fill, or you are wanting to nominate an overseas worker with an upcoming visa expiry.
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9 May 2018

The importance of establishing internal procedures for dealing with inappropriate and unwelcome contact in the workplace
On 18 April 2018, in the decision of George Talevski v Chalmers Industries Pty Ltd [2018] FWC 1807, the Fair Work Commission dismissed an unfair dismissal application made by a long-serving handyman. He had been dismissed by a transport company for serious misconduct that included repeatedly touching a young receptionist, threatening and abusing the company's Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and failing to provide a response to the allegations of serious misconduct.
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How to handle the person you hate in the office
Once upon a time, long before I lived the freelance life, I worked in an office, your run of the mill 9-5er. It was in a regular job, with regular hours and I had a regular work nemesis. Steven* sat opposite me and from the moment he started, we didn't get along. He made it his mission to point out everyone's mistakes (except his own), signed off emails with "Thanking You Muchly" and drove to work in a car with the number plate 2FAST4U.
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Teachers' core job swamped by paperwork
School teachers and principals are "drowning in paperwork", costing them critical time for preparing classes and threatening their core job of educating children, research has found. A University of Sydney study of more than 18,000 public school teachers and principals across NSW found 97.3 per cent reported an increase in administration duties over the past five years. More than 95 per cent were spending more time on analysing and reporting data.
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Tigerair pilots call off industrial action after wage deal breakthrough
Tigerair pilots have called off industrial action that could have caused flights to be delayed or cancelled this weekend after a breakthrough in wage negotiations with the airline. Members of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots and fellow union VIPA had threatened a range of protected actions that would have disrupted services starting Friday morning after bargaining over a new wage deal hit a deadlock.
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More empty desks, less office space as government cuts building stock
The public service had 4600 more empty desks last year despite a push to reduce vacant space in its buildings. Nearly 26,000 desks sat empty in 2017 as the government reported agencies faced a lag between falling staff numbers and the chance to renegotiate leases to cut their office space. The increase went against the trend in new figures from the Finance Department's latest report on occupancy in public service offices, which showed the government has continued to cut its floorspace since 2014.
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Who is responsible for safety in a gig economy?
Safety in the `gig economy' is again making headlines, with Unions NSW taking on Airtasker once more as a source of potential unsafe work practices.
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Motivating millennials in the workplace
This week, we tap the expertise of Boris Joaquin and Renz Mansujeto, for some insights on how to motivate millennials, a favourite topic of older generations. After all, millenials (or the generational cohort between 1980-2001) are dominating the workplace. THey are now the largest generation in the workforce.
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NFL agrees to meet with lawyer of former cheerleaders to discuss workplace discrimination
The NFL has agreed to meet with the lawyer representing two former cheerleaders who recently filed discrimination claims against the league. "As we said before, our office is working with the clubs in sharing best practices and employment-related processes that will support club cheerleading squads within an appropriate and supportive workplace," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email.
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Ex-detective Denis Ryan wins compensation decades after being pushed out of Victoria Police
A former detective, who was financially and professionally ruined by his own superiors for trying to bring a paedophile priest to justice, will receive compensation almost 50 years after he was pushed out of Victoria Police. Denis Ryan gave up his police pension when he chose to resign from the force after being ordered to drop his investigation into Monsignor John Day, a Catholic paedophile priest who preyed on children in the Mallee.
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ANZ HR leaders lagging behind global leaders in tech adoption
A new research report from tech giant ServiceNow (The New CHRO Agenda: Employee Experience Drives Business Value), reveals that HR leaders in Australia and New Zealand are falling behind their international peers when it comes to technology adoption to improve experiences at work.
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Why we should blame incentive pay for bad behaviour in fin services
Those outraged about the bad behaviour inside our financial institutions have largely focused on individuals and paid scant attention to the real culprit plaguing our companies: a rampant incentive culture. Voices in the investment and human resource communities have pleaded with companies to implement more sustainable approaches to remuneration and managing human capital generally.
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LGBT employees face hurdles at home and abroad
Relocation to countries where homosexuality is illegal may leave LGBT employees at risk of arrest and harassment. In those places where same-sex relationships and parental rights of LGBT parents are not recognised, it can create formidable challenges for accompanying partners and children.
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2 May 2018

Can your boss sue you for fighting for proper wages?
A Melbourne cafe made headlines last week for alleged underpayment of staff and threats to sue. It may be common in hospitality, but what laws are at play here? It was revealed that employees at Barry were underpaid by around $5/hour and didn't receive any penalty rates.
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"Unsophisticated employer": Fair Work rules Perth company unfairly dismissed worker it made `redundant'
The Fair Work Commission has been highly critical of the human resources practices of a Perth tradie directory platform, finding it unfairly dismissed its account manager when it claimed it had to make her redundant because the business was struggling to "keep up with its creditors". The worker claimed she had been unfairly dismissed because not only did her boss fail to consult with her about possible redeployment options, another staff member was also hired to do parts of her role.
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Casual workers call for job security at union rally
When Clare Southerton booked tickets to attend a conference in Rome as part of her work as a sociologist at the Australian National University, she paid her own way in order to further her career. If she was a permanent staff member, she'd be able to apply to university schemes to fund the travel that's an important part of sharing her research. Not having access to funding in order to present research is just one of the many hidden costs of increasing levels of casualisation, especially in the tertiary education sector, Ms Southerton said.
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How the federal budget can help insecure workers
Aussies are also often increasingly opting to work casual and part-time. To pursue business ideas, to study, to enjoy life! More than 4 million Australians, one-third of the population, did some freelancing in 2014 and 2015, says the Australian Industry Group. Next week's budget needs to help participants in this new (not) employment world - and the individuals also need to help themselves.
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The big four accounting firms struggle to shake their sexist pasts
In many ways, the big four accounting firms - Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) - have influenced how we work, how we manage, how we invest and how we are governed. Apart from their staff, the brands themselves are the big firms' most valuable assets. The value of those brands is grounded in the firms' histories. But looking into their past reveals many stories of discrimination that the firms may have to face up to to re-brand their future.
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Half a million calls from small business reveals strong demand for online support
The Fair Work Ombudsman has today launched its Small Business Showcase, a virtual hub providing a wealth of resources for small business owners seeking information about their workplace obligations. Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James is urging small business owners to participate in the showcase to ensure they're up-to-date with their obligations under workplace law. "Australia's workplace relations system is complex and can be hard to navigate, particularly for time-poor small and family businesses," Ms James says.
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Queensland electrical contractor faces legal action over alleged failure to pay compensation
A Queensland electrical contracting company is facing court for allegedly ignoring a Fair Work Commission order to compensate an employee who was unfairly dismissed. The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against Logan City Electrical Service Division Pty Ltd and the company's sole director, Peter Burnitt, in the Federal Circuit Court. The employee contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman seeking assistance after the compensation amount was not paid.
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Melbourne cafe owner threatens to sue staff, who claimed they were underpaid, for 'harassment'
A Northcote cafe owner accused of underpaying staff has threatened to sue those who complained "if the harassment continues". Current and former staff of Barry cafe in Northcote told the ABC they had been underpaid by at least $5 an hour, and that when they complained to the cafe's owners, some workers had their shifts cancelled. The office of the Fair Work Ombudsman has confirmed to the ABC it is now investigating those claims.
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Ombudsman calls for simplification of workplace relations for small business
Today the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, released a position paper that identifies some simple steps to tackle the overly complex workplace relations system for small businesses. "We have had significant consultations with small businesses over the last two years and the overwhelming view is the legislation is far too complicated for the majority of Australian businesses with less than 20 employees and no expert HR or legal departments," Ms Carnell said.
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Migrant Workers' Taskforce to continue to protect vulnerable workers
The Australian Government today announced a six-month extension of the Migrant Workers' Taskforce so that it can continue its important work to protect migrant workers in Australia from workplace exploitation. It will continue to consult widely on suitable policy responses and remedies to the issue of workplace exploitation, and will provide a final report with recommendations to the Government in late 2018.
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Twitter Cost Me My Job - The Risks of Discussing Employment Online
The recent decision of Banerji and Comcare (Compensation) [2018] AATA 982 is an interesting case on the issue of discussing employment online. By now it should be obvious that bagging your employer in this way (be that Facebook, Twitter, or a blog) can cost you your job. There are numerous cases of employees ranting online, either using their real name or with poorly considered pseudonyms (almost as bad as @notmbaldwin). The inevitable outcome when this comes to the attention of employers is termination of employment.
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25 April 2018

Aussie SMEs dominate best places to work in Asia thanks to their `high-trust cultures'
Australian SMEs have dominated a list of Asia's best small and medium workplaces, produced by Great Places to Work.
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How fears can hold you back at work
Fears drive our behaviours and are often the reason for our decisions and actions at work.
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Nearly half of young people injured at work: Unions ACT report
Workplace injuries are common among young people and most workers under 25 have been bullied or harassed on the job, a new survey by the ACT's peak union body says.
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Why employers don't hire smart women
New research has confirmed what many women already know: bosses want smart people working for them, but only if they're male.
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CFMMEU fined more than half a million dollars for unlawful strikes
The newly merged construction and maritime super union has been fined more than half a million dollars for a series of unlawful strikes on nine Brisbane sites.
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Fair Work Commission ticks off new Coles pay agreement
A three-year dispute over pay and conditions for 80,000 Coles workers across the country has been finally settled with the Fair Work Commission's approval of a contentious new agreement with unions.
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Something smelly, perhaps loud ... but nothing to see: what am I?
The Victorian Supreme Court recently had to hear a case about, amongst other things, farting at work.
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Defining Managerial and Directorial Roles and Can These Employees Make Unfair Dismissal Claims?
This blog takes a look at a number of factors that must be considered when trying to define a managerial, or directorial role within a business.
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Abbott suggests sacking bank regulators as ASIC feels the heat
Former prime minister Tony Abbott has strongly condemned the performance of financial sector regulators, suggesting they should be sacked and replaced by "less complacent" people.
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High Court rejects Valve's special leave request to appeal $3 million fine
In 2016, the trial judge found that Valve had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct by making representations about customers' rights in Steam's terms and conditions and refund policy.
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A recent case has highlighted the importance of keeping detailed employee records in cases of dismissal.
The issue which required consideration was whether the redundancy was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. The Commissioner considered whether there was a valid reason for dismissal, specifically, whether the Employer was unable to fulfil the inherent requirements of his role.
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Australian companies take note: You could be liable for failing to prevent your associates from engaging in foreign bribery
Australian companies who conduct business abroad need to be aware of the imminent substantial change to the law regarding foreign bribery offences.
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Could you be fined for failing to train staff in using Excel correctly? A recent UK decision provides a salutary lesson
A recent decision of the UK Information Commissioner has highlighted the risks for businesses who share information using Excel spreadsheets.
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18 April 2018

Who is covered by the Queensland labour hire licensing regime?
On Friday 6 April 2018, the Queensland Parliament published regulations that clarify the scope of the regime and the information that must accompany an application for a labour hire licence.
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Jail time and seven figure penalties for WHS breaches
In Souz v CC Pty Ltd [2018] QSC 36, an underground mine worker sustained a serious neck injury when the loader he was driving collided with a steel roof beam.
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Starbucks to close 8,000 stores for anti-racism training
Starbucks, moving swiftly to confront a racially charged uproar over the arrest of two black men at one of its stores in Philadelphia, plans to close more than 8,000 US stores for several hours next month to conduct racial-bias training for nearly 175,000 workers.
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More than a third of truck drivers surveyed feel more pressured
Facing assault rifles in an armed robbery was not supposed to be part of the job.
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Women more likely to be perfectionistic, anxious at work
These are the results of Australia's Biggest Mental Health Check-In, a snapshot of mental health at all levels of corporate life in Australia.
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Migrant underpaid 93 weeks' pay, worked seven days and took rubbish home
A migrant worker who was underpaid the value of 93 weeks' wages over four years worked seven-days-a-week without time for lunch breaks or getting sick so he could support his family.
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Employable Me has struck a chord but will it change employers' attitudes to disability?
"I'm glad you can make use of my weapons grade autism", laughs Jonathon in the ABC TV series Employable Me. He has landed a competitive paid internship, channelling his passion for accountancy. As well as a love of numbers, he has a wicked sense of humour and a way with words.
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Precarious employment is rising rapidly among men: new research
Precarious employment is increasing over time, and it still remains higher for women than men in Australia. But over the last nine years it has increased far more rapidly among men.
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Accepting a distressed employee's resignation may be a dismissal
The Commissioner found that the applicant "was dismissed on the employer's initiative and in satisfaction of the meaning of dismissed" provided by the section referred to earlier.
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A new era for employer sponsorship
On 18 March 2018, we said goodbye to the subclass 457 visa and hello to the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (TSS).
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How technology is shaping human resources
Like any area of a business, human resources are undergoing digital transformation and reacting to new forms of employment, such as remote working and the adoption of artificial intelligence.
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11 April 2018

Whistleblower bill - ".a move in the right direction"?
The Australian Government's proposed whistleblowing laws are one step closer to becoming reality, with the Senate Economics Legislation Committee (the Committee) recommending that the Treasury Laws Amendment (Whistleblowers) Bill 2017 (the Bill) be passed.
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The M&A Boom: How Technology Helps to Harmonize
An effective benefit management technology program can help alleviate the stress of consolidation both on HR teams and employees brought on by a merger or acquisition.
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SEEK and OneVentures back $8 million round for HR start-up Employment Hero
Australian human resources technology start-up Employment Hero has closed an $8 million funding round, led by SEEK and OneVentures, as it looks to build out its executive leadership team, ahead of expansion plans.
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How our peers influence our superannuation decisions
Just as our peers can influence what movies we go to or where we go on holiday, our research suggests that Australians' superannuation investment decisions are influenced by our work colleagues.
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Five ways to inspire creativity
Any industry or organisation where strategic planning is called for can be guilty of excluding the really good ideas that bubble up from surprising sources.
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One in two Aussies shop online during work hours: How small businesses can tackle the issue
A growing number of Australians are using work hours to spend time online shopping, but employers have to do more to stop this if they're not happy with the situation, says one HR expert.
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How to be a great referee and help mentees get amazing jobs
There are responsibilities that come from a senior title. One is that you get to be a referee. And if you are lucky, a mentor. The person who supports someone as they experience a perfect or terrible job. And the person who might help them dodge a dud job in the first place.
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Business group urges Coalition to reform Fair Work laws
A peak business group has criticised the Coalition government and parliamentarians for the "dismal state" of public debate on workplace relations, urging them to reform Fair Work laws.
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Will the Upcoming Election Affect Workplace Relations?
With an election due in the next 12 months and the Coalition Government performing poorly in polls leaving a potential change of government well within the bounds of possibility, there has been a quickening of interest surrounding workplace relations policy issues. A number of these issues may become significant differentiators between the Government and Opposition parties.
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50+ Employee Engagement Ideas From Forbes Human Resources Council
How can you establish a work environment that offers more than just a paycheck - the kind of place where every employee is motivated to give their best?
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Modern slavery and human trafficking - how the legislation is evolving
Modern slavery and human trafficking – a comparative analysis of existing and emerging legislation in the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore
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4 April 2018


Work Related or Not Work Related? Tragic South Australian Fatality in the Headlines
On 23 March 2016, experienced remote area nurse, Ms Gayle Woolford, was working in Fregon, in the APY lands in the Simpson Desert, some 1,275 km and an 18 hour drive from Adelaide. She was "on call" and living in a high security house at the time.
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Workers on Visas - Can They Claim Workers' Compensation?
The Hon Bill Johnston MLA recently released a media statement announcing the McGowan Government's intention to re-write WA's workers' compensation legislation, no doubt having regard to the extensive review process undertaken in 2013.
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The relationship between Human capital and company stock market value
According to UBS, as the economy grows from more manufacturing to services to knowledge, the proportion of a company's value that is related to human capital is going to grow.
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AFP raids Australian Tax Office whistleblower amid Four Corners investigation
A public servant turned whistleblower employed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has this morning had his home raided by officers from the ATO and the Australian Federal Police, after speaking with reporters in a major joint Four Corners and Fairfax investigation into alleged abuse of power by the ATO.
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National unions take to the streets to 'change the rules'
National unions will hit the streets to stage a series of marches and mass meetings around the country from April 17.
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Time to ask for a pay rise
Wages remaining stubbornly low in spite of productivity gains is a familiar economic story by now. In 2017 wages grew just 2.1 per cent, just slightly ahead of inflation at 1.9 per cent. Meanwhile, cost of living expenses not included in the CPI, such as housing, electricity and childcare, have been skyrocketing.
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Migrant workers 'left exposed' by workplace watchdog amnesty promise
The federal government's workplace watchdog is offering amnesty to temporary foreign workers who assist in workplace exploitation investigations despite having no clear power to do so, potentially exposing them to the risk of deportation.
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NSW workers are the happiest in the country
NSW workers are the happiest in the country, according to a new survey that found they are more fulfilled in their jobs and, along with Victorians, have a better work/life balance than their interstate counterparts.
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Workplace scandals: some lessons for employers
It is becoming too common that workplace scandals are played out in the media. Business is forced to scramble in response. Many interests and responsibilities compete in the desire to contain the damage and move on. Such circumstances present challenging times for a business.
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Men and young people more likely to be ageist: study
Men and young people are more likely to be ageist, but few Australians are resolutely ageist in their views, our survey finds. By ageist, we mean having consistently negative attitudes about how older people are or should be.
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$200,000 in penalties after overseas worker exploited and sacked by text message
The former owner-operator of an Indian restaurant in Perth has been penalised more than $200,000 after paying an overseas cook nothing for almost four months' work then sacking him by text message for taking a day of sick leave.
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27 March 2018

Unions have a history of merging - that's why the new `super union' makes sense
Australian trade unions have always changed and merged to reflect the shifting nature of work and employment, as industries and occupations disappear or develop.
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Email culture to blame for workplace failure on #MeToo
Workplaces need safe spaces to facilitate discussion about issues that are difficult, awkward and shameful to engage with.
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Gardening Leave - Weeding out Potentially Hazardous Employees Following a Resignation
Whilst we previously touched on the concept of gardening leave in this 2016 blog - Coleman Greig's Employment Law team have below expanded on what you need to know with regard to forcing a soon-to-be-Ex employee to take gardening leave.
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Domino's abandons enterprise agreement with shoppies union
Domino's Pizza has abandoned an enterprise agreement with the shoppies union in favour of keeping employees on an industry award in what a rival union has described as a face-saving exercise for both parties.
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Aggressive, rude? No, I was just being French, says fired waiter
A waiter fired for being "aggressive, rude and disrespectful" claims that there was nothing wrong with his behaviour... he was just being "French". Deserved or not, France's reputation for producing surly waiters who eye customers with suspicion, indeed disdain, is known the world over and has stood the test of time.
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The perks offered by the companies Australians most want to work for
PwC, the giant professional services firm that lets its employees decide what time they get to work, has again topped the list of companies people want to work for in Australia.
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Worker sacked by text message after taking one day of sick leave
An employer who sacked a worker by text message for taking a day of sick leave after being paid nothing for four months of work has been fined $200,000.
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Worker wins $25,000 in compensation after she was fired when her fiancé left the company
A worker in the Northern Territory has won $25,000 in compensation after her employer fired her because her fiancé told management she was intending to leave the business.
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Australia's version of #TimesUp has arrived to stamp out sexual harassment at work
When 17% of Australian women are reporting they have been sexually harassed in the past 12 months, and one in two reporting harassment at some point in their lives, it's clear more needs to be done to address the issue.
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High Court says: you pay the fine for your `white-collar crime'
The High Court has upheld a Judge's order that a Union cannot pick up the bill for an individual's penalty arising from a statutory breach.
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Bureau of Meteorology industrial action ramps up as workplace storm intensifies
Weather bureau staff will step up strikes in a fight for a new workplace deal as bosses continue to refuse conciliation at the industrial umpire.
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21 March 2018

Facing an investigation by the fair work ombudsman what is at stake
It is not uncommon for employers to face investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman ("FWO") where for example, a disgruntled employee has complained to the FWO about a workplace issue such as a failure to pay adequate wages or to meet award requirements.
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In the #MeToo era, a chatbot can help people report workplace harassment
Campaigns like #MeToo and Time's Up mean that public discussion about sexual harassment has finally bubbled up to the surface. The movements also highlight how such disturbing incidents have routinely gone unreported or been outright ignored.
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Unemployment is refusing to budge in the face of booming jobs growth, keeping wages down
The jobs market continues to be one of the more perplexing points of contention in the Australian economy.
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A 'fair' minimum wage should factor in the financial risk for workers
Minimum wage deliberations are about to start. The submissions are in and the Fair Work Commission is soon to undertake its annual wage review. It determines a minimum wage for almost two million Australian workers, with wage ramifications for millions more.
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Queensland Rail drivers earning tens of thousands in overtime as staff shortage drags on
Queensland Rail drivers and guards are pocketing tens of thousands of dollars a year in overtime as the organisation struggles to recruit dozens more crews to fill a staffing shortfall, new figures have shown.
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Court finds bus company was right to sack driver who didn't turn up for Boxing Day shift
The Federal Circuit Court has found a Victorian bus company was right to fire a worker who did not show up for work on Boxing Day in 2015, despite being rostered on for a shift.
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Darwin worker wins his job back after criminal charges led to his dismissal
A Northern Territory hospitality supplies business has been ordered to give a worker his job back after being found in the wrong for firing him while he was awaiting a criminal trial.
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Are you acting appropriately towards colleagues? Now's the time to review your behaviour
Is everyone in the workplace completely off-limits when it comes to touch? What about conservative body language - can it be construed as stand-offishness?
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Inquest starts over worker crushed in scissor lift during RAH construction
Pressure to build the new Royal Adelaide Hospital on time and within budget might have seen corners cut and safety compromised, an inquest has been told.
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WA worker's hand crushed in 'entirely foreseeable' work accident
An Esperance transport company has been fined $58,000 after a worker's hand was crushed between two containers while he used a forklift without a proper license.
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XXXX brewery staff strike ahead of Commonwealth Games
Almost 100 XXXX brewery workers will walk off the job next week, with the company rejecting union claims the action could disrupt beer supplies to the Commonwealth Games.
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Why union members earn higher wages than their non-union colleagues
Over recent decades in Australia union membership has fallen from 40% of the workforce in 1990 to 15% in 2016 and so unions might seem less relevant in making a difference to what we earn. But our research finds that union members do earn higher wages per hour than non-union members.
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14 March 2018

Swearing in the workplace: The legal position
The recent Full Bench decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in Illawarra Coal Holdings Pty Ltd T/A South32 v Matthew Gosek [2018] FWCFB 749 (Illawarra Coal), which garnered extensive media coverage, has once again put the spotlight on the issue of swearing by employees.
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Could the High Court's decision impact WHS sentencing?
The High Court has recently ordered that penalties for breaches of the FW Act must be paid personally by individuals, upholding a Federal Court Judge's order that the Union must not pay the penalty on the individual's behalf.
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Terminating an employee based on their ability to perform the inherent requirements of a job
To successfully defend an unfair dismissal claim, an employer must be able to satisfy the Fair Work Commission (FWC) that the dismissal was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable.
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Hiring new employees? Stop focusing so much on "cultural fit"
When choosing the right candidate for a role, experts and industry professionals say employers need to look beyond the initial `cultural fit'.
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How Ai Mawdsley changed careers while pregnant - and what she learnt
A couple months back, an agency I admired was hiring for a general manager. It was exactly the sort of role I pictured myself in. A new challenge, an awesome company, and my skills and experience matched what they needed.
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Airtasker: Unions raise safety concerns over 'gig economy' cowboys
Unions NSW and some tradespeople are calling on the Federal Government to set up an independent regulator to oversee the emerging gig economy, amid concerns workers' safety is at risk.
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Robert Doyle: Investigation upholds sexual misconduct complaints against former Melbourne mayor
An independent report has found the conduct of Robert Doyle, Melbourne's former lord mayor, could constitute sexual harassment and gross misconduct, making four adverse findings against him as part of an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct.
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Banking royal commission: Whistleblower alleges cash for loans bribery ring at NAB
The banking royal commission has heard sensational allegations of a cash-for-loans bribery ring at National Australia Bank branches in western Sydney as the first round of public hearings kicked off.
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Retailers demand zero pay rise for Australia's lowest paid workers
One of Australia's top retail industry groups wants the country's lowest-paid workers to be denied any pay rise this year.
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'Gap' in laws left Indian Consulate driver without rights to award rates
Driver Hitender Kumar has lost a claim for more than $100,000 he was allegedly underpaid for work at the Indian Consulate because it is not required to pay award wages under Australian workplace laws.
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Companies defend charging $1000 for unpaid internships
Students and graduates are forking out $1000 to undertake unpaid internships with a one in 64 success rate of picking up a full-time job and which don't even take place at the company's office.
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'Fired for taking a holiday': Bicycle couriers claim unfair dismissal
Two foodora cyclists have launched unfair dismissal claims in cases the Transport Workers Union believes could prove a test case for the burgeoning food delivery industry.
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7 March 2018

Major career study shows young Australian women are missing in debate about future of work
Questions posed looked at the expectations and aspirations of young women in their careers, contrasted against current workforce realities.
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Bakery admits fault after worker loses top of finger in crumpet machine
Tasmanian bakery Cripps NuBake has admitted fault after a trainee lost the top of a finger when it became trapped in a crumpet-making machine.
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It's time we talked about the difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault
Although they often have similarities and sometimes can be both at once, generally they are different types of legal claims which therefore require different complaint processes.
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Caltex slammed by Fair Work Ombudsman for widespread breaches of workplace laws
The Fair Work Ombudsman has released a report which found Caltex has a workplace non-compliance rate of 76 per cent of the businesses that were audited.
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Lured to her death while on call, but SafeWork SA says nurse Gayle Woodford's murder 'wasn't work-related'
The family of murdered outback nurse Gayle Woodford say they were left feeling "angry" and "insulted" by SafeWork SA's finding that her death was not work-related.
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Turnbull staffer loses job after posts about 'cheating' boyfriend NSW minister Matt Kean
A staffer to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has lost her job after using social media to accuse her boyfriend, NSW Innovation Minister Matt Kean, of infidelity.
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Turnbull government warns of 'chaos' as powerful super union takes shape
The Turnbull government has warned a merger of the militant construction and maritime unions will inflict "chaos" on Australian industry, claiming the 144,000 member-strong group will have unprecedented power over the economy and the financial firepower to shrug off fines for lawbreaking.
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CFMEU claims workers exposed to asbestos at Sydney Airport
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union claims its members have been exposed to asbestos at the T2 Sydney Airport loading dock construction project.
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'Shocking' levels of sexual harassment at work, study reveals
Fewer than a third of young Australian working women believe they are treated equally to men, according to a landmark new survey.
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What makes someone more likely to be bullied at work and how companies can help them
Being bullied as a child, being female, young, and neurotic are significant predictors of whether you might be bullied in the workplace, our online anonymous survey shows.
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Auditing, matching pay and accountability will close the gender pay gap: study
Taking action such as correcting like-for-like pay gaps, analysing performance pay and reporting the results to company boards are effective in closing the gender pay gap, new research shows.
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ACT Government Introduces Bill to Tackle Overpayment and Workplace Privacy Concerns
The Bill provides for employer deductions from an employee's salary where an overpayment has occurred. The Bill also addresses workplace privacy concerns.
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28th February 2018

Capture the (union's) flag
Building contractors stuck between a rock and a hardhat regarding the display of building association insignia on building sites
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"Casual" employee awarded 15 years of annual leave
In this case the Federal Circuit Court determined that an employee whom the employer purported was a casual employee, was in fact permanent and was owed a payment in lieu of notice and 15 years' worth of annual leave payments.
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The #MeToo Movement: When Employees Take Their Complaints to Social Media
As we are all aware, the news has been populated with stories concerning allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, particularly in the entertainment and media industries as well as government institutions.
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Worker 'seriously injured' at Brisbane construction site, school pick-up impacted
A worker has been "seriously injured" at a Brisbane construction site, leading to police closing the surrounding road and affecting the pick-up run at a local school.
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'I can't let you work if you're not paid up' - union demand slammed
The national construction union has been fined more than $100,000 for stopping two people from working on a Melbourne construction site because their union membership fees had not been paid.
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NSW helps shrink the gender pay gap
The pay disparity between men and women in NSW shrank more than in any state last year, helping to reduce the Australia-wide gender pay gap to the narrowest it's been in over a decade.
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Women in rural workplaces struggle against the `boys club' that leads to harassment
A culture of male dominance in rural Australian workplaces is a key explainer for the high rate of sexual harassment.
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Is faster profit growth essential for a pick-up in wages growth?
Do higher profits necessarily lead to higher wages? The answer, as borne out by the data, might surprise you.
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Is it OK for bosses to shout at their employees?
A study recently published by the Harvard Business Review, Is It OK to Yell at Your Employees? cited a list of famous people from all walks of life - sports, business, science, music, and others - whose trademark method of getting things done has been the raised, angry, voice directed at subordinates.
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What Australia can learn from Fiji in reducing the working poor
Labor's calls to raise the minimum wage or other pushes to implement a universal basic income ignore Australia's system of supporting low-paid workers in other, more important, ways.
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'We paid you $35,000 and we got nothing': Migration business investigated for alleged visa rip-off
A businessman who has been photographed posing with several Australian politicians is under investigation for allegedly charging would-be migrants tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for skilled working visas they never received.
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Victoria Police need to 'own' culture change on misconduct probes: senior officer says
A senior member of Victoria Police has admitted officers need to be more transparent in responding to allegations of abuse or misconduct, but warned against using "carpetbagger lawyers" to "lecture" them on reform.
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Ban on sex in the citadel misses the point
What a silly and undignified mess our upstanding political dignitaries have led us into.
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21st February 2018

Key cases that transformed the legal landscape in 2017 - and how they will impact your business
With 2017 now behind us, it is timely to reflect upon significant decisions in the past year which will impact your business.
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Absence of work-wages bargain crucial for Fair Work Commission in concluding that an Uber driver was not an employee
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently handed down a decision[1] which concluded that an Uber driver was not an employee for the purposes of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), but an independent contractor, meaning that his unfair dismissal application was dismissed.
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Here are the 120 employers that received the gender equality approval stamp
One hundred and twenty Australian organisations have received an employer of choice stamp of approval from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) today.
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ATO memo urges staff to dob in colleagues who take long lunches: Is this "the absolute worst" approach employers can take?
Australian Taxation Office staff were sent a memo last year urging them to dob in colleagues who waste time spending too long reading the paper at work or taking long lunches, but one human resources expert says this approach is a recipe for disaster.
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School principals at higher risk of burnout, depression due to workplace stress, survey finds
One in five school principals is overwhelmed by workplace stress, a survey has found, with an expert saying the results point to a "looming crisis".
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Some of us are just completely useless in an office argument
As a young child I had a habit of watching strangers argue and weep. I can remember often stopping and gaping, transported by mortification as two people seethed and reddened in front of me, incensed by some slight or act of selfishness (or the accusation thereof).
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Banning relationships is a bridge too far for most workplaces
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's new code of conduct banning relationships between ministers and their staff is tougher than you would find in most workplaces.
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What happens when employees are fired for complaining at work
It's illegal for an employer to fire an employee for complaining under the Fair Work Act, but in a study of 30 courts cases we found it's difficult for employees to prove they have been fired because of complaining or questioning their employer.
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NAB workers latest to fall as automation transforms the economy
Six-thousand retrenched National Australia Bank (NAB) employees start leaving from this week, largely from the bank's Melbourne head office, as software takes over increasingly complex tasks. It's the crest of a digital wave flooding through banks, financial institutions, accounting and law firms, and if you're doing a white-collar job that deals with information, you're in for a bumpy ride.
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Making Artificial Intelligence A Force For Positive Change In The Workplace
Do labor-saving and cognitive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) make life better in workplaces, do they make things boring, or do they eliminate workplaces altogether?
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14th February 2018

Mental health and workplace investigations: What are your obligations?
In recent cases from across the country, courts and tribunals have highlighted the importance of both considering the impact of workplace investigations on employees' mental health and the consequences of failing to do so.
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How to say no at work when you don't have kids
Despite a boom in flexible working, many singles say they’re still picking up the slack from colleagues with families. Career coaches are advising them to say no.
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Exploitation and underpayment of apprentice sees plumbing business in hot water with Fair Work Ombudsman
A plumbing business has been fined $100,000, and its director $21,500, after it failed to pay overtime to an apprentice and meet its record-keeping obligations.
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Are you willing to help in the workplace?
"Can I be of assistance?" You hear that a lot, often when you haven't asked for it.
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Coal miner denied workplace accident pay because of casual status leads class action
Coal miner Simon Turner is facing life on the street after a workplace accident left him disabled and destitute.
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'Masculine culture' and micro barriers still major issues for women
A greater push for gender diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is often written off as political correctness. The data tell another story.
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Weinstein Co sale halted by harassment, discrimination lawsuit
The fire sale of the Weinstein Co hit a last-minute snag on Sunday, when Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general, filed a lawsuit against the studio and its fraternal founders alleging that they repeatedly violated state and city laws barring gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and coercion.
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Why your office is beginning to look like a forest
The modern office is starting to look more like a Rainforest Cafe than a place of business.
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How to ask for a pay rise
When Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe argued that the real source of workers' unhappiness was an unwillingness to lobby for higher wages, he overlooked a key tenet of negotiation: we negotiate most successfully when we have highly valued (and scarce) skills.
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A new definition of `worker' could protect many from exploitation
If we want gig workers (such as Uber drivers, Airtasker cleaners and delivery riders) to have decent working conditions, pay and hours, it may be time to consider creating a new legal category of "worker" that covers contractors as well as employees.
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Woolworths contractors underpaying cleaners in 'serious exploitation' across Tasmania, inquiry finds
A Fair Work Ombudsman inquiry into Tasmanian supermarket cleaners has found "serious exploitation" of workers and "abysmal" record keeping.
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7th February 2018

Don't know what a leader looks like? Nor do they - until they look in a mirror
Few people have many good words to say about our leaders at the moment, it seems, and faced with the absence of leadership we might think that we should heed those frequent calls to develop our leadership potential.
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SA Liberals promise $200 million apprenticeship scheme to prevent skills shortages
The SA Liberals have unveiled a plan to create 20,000 new apprenticeship places over the next four years at a cost of $200 million, to address a sharp decline in trainee positions across the state.
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13 'ye olde' phrases to impress your colleagues and butter up your boss
Clearly we need to enter 2018 with a fresh set of expressions for the workplace.
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Lululemon CEO Laurent Pontdevin steps down for unspecified misconduct
Lululemon Athletica chief executive Laurent Potdevin abruptly resigned from the yogawear seller in the wake of unspecified misconduct, leaving a leadership vacuum and a swirl of controversy in its C-suite.
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Flags and hard hat slogans banned under new building code
Enforcing a government building code which bans unions putting slogans on hard hats or displaying the Eureka Stockade flag has been compared to a game of "cat and mouse".
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Whistleblowing isn't dobbing. It supports our democracy
The proposed secrecy laws should send a collective shiver through the public service.
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German industrial workers win right to flexible hours
Industrial workers in south-western Germany have won the right to reduced working hours as part of a deal that could benefit millions of employees across the country.
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When Fluffy wants Mommy: The growing demand for pet-friendly workplaces
Employers are clamouring to attract millennials, and many of those millennials are looking for pet-friendly workplaces.
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Construction business wins unfair dismissal case after firing worker who chest-bumped a man for stealing his cowboy hat
A construction worker has been unsuccessful in his claim of unfair dismissal, after a Western Australian business fired him for his involvement in a fight over his cowboy hat, which was stolen while he was having a drink at the staff village of a construction site.
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Ten communication skills to improve work relationships
Workplaces are like families - there'll always be those whose communication style you love and others who rub you up the wrong way.
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A broken system: general pains for employers with adverse action claims
Many businesses have had to deal with the cost, disruption and trouble caused by a claim that the business has allegedly taken adverse action against an employee because the employee exercised a workplace right or had a protected attribute.
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31st January 2018

Why that difficult person you work with probably isn't a psychopath
As workplaces become increasingly difficult and damaging environments, there are plenty of articles and books on dealing with "psychopaths" among your colleagues. But psychopathy is heavily contested as a diagnostic category. And labelling a co-worker a psychopath fails to account for how our workplaces can encourage bad behaviour.
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Amazon bans salary discussions in job interviews: Should your business ask applicants about their pay?
The US arm of retail giant Amazon has reportedly banned managers from asking prospective employees about their salary histories during the hiring process, in a move designed to encourage pay equity between men and women.
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The Surprisingly Personal Reason Google's CEO Doesn't Regret Firing James Damore
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Sundar Pichai emphasized the importance of getting more women represented in tech.
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HSBC in Australia has trialled 'doona days', and 1400 of 1800 staff took one up
Feel like calling in, pulling a sickie and burrowing back under the covers for the rest of the day? You’re not alone. And many companies have come to the conclusion that you shouldn’t have to resort to faking illness just to take a day away from the daily grind of getting up, getting there and getting the work done.
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Reality check: What you say outside of work can impact your employment
In recent years there have been a string of high profile examples where somebody has found themselves in hot water at work for comments made in their personal capacity.
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NZ: 90 day trial periods – soon to change for some employers
The Labour-led Government has announced that the use of 90 day trial periods will be prohibited for any business that employs more than 19 employees.
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Unlawful discrimination in the workplace – Employers' exposure widens
To create an environment free from unlawful discrimination, bullying and harassment, employers know they should be prepared to recognise and prevent conduct which might give rise to these complaints in the workplace. But what employers need to also know now is that acting on bad behaviour can itself be unlawful, where that behaviour is a function of an injury or illness.
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Why unions are furious about the blocked Sydney train strike
While the New South Wales government and some commuters might breathe a sigh of relief, the cancellation of a strike that met all the requirements for protected industrial action will provide fresh impetus to unions’ Change the Rules campaign to strengthen collective bargaining rights.
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Navigating the new industrial manslaughter laws
The new and very serious offence of “Industrial Manslaughter” was introduced to Queensland on 23 October 2017, when the Queensland Parliament passed the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (“Act”). The Act represents the Palaszczuk government’s response to recommendations contained in the report commissioned in response to the workplace fatalities that occurred at Dreamworld and Eagle Farm racecourse in late 2016.
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Australia’s workplace relations system is broken
Australia’s workplace relations system is broken — it is not optimally serving the interests of employees, employers, the public or our national economy. The rail dispute in Sydney this week is an example of just one small part of the broader problem with a system that is no longer fit for purpose.
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Decline in strike action linked to slow wages growth
The failure of many Australian workers to get a real pay rise has been linked to a decline in industrial action, including strikes. The findings follow the Fair Work Commission's decision last week to stop Sydney train workers from taking industrial action including restrictions on overtime and a one-day strike on Monday because it could damage the economy.
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24th January 2018

Why this chief executive pretended to be a man on LinkedIn
In a post on Mumbrella this week, Andrea Myles recounts how she changed her identity on the networking platform and added a stock image of a male chief executive as her profile picture. She wanted to conduct a “social experiment” after being “pissed” at the number of inappropriate communications she had received through LinkedIn direct messages.
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“It’s ridiculous”: Small business community hits back at claims private sector discourages staff from taking sick leave
Council of Small Business Australia chief executive Peter Strong says claims that some firms in the private sector are stopping workers from taking sick leave are “ridiculous”, after figures on staff absenteeism showed corporate workers take less leave on average than their public service counterparts.
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CEOs plan to hire more without paying much more
Businesses are expecting more sales, profits, capital investment and employment growth than at any time since 2012. The annual Australian Industry Group survey of 269 chief executives finds 155 expect to put on more staff in 2018 and only 34 plan to lose staff. It's the first time in six years more companies have planned to hire than fire.
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Enterprise bargaining collapse a likely cause of wages weakness: think tank
A collapse in private sector enterprise bargaining risks undermining Australia's industrial relations system and is likely to be a key factor in record low wages growth, a think tank has warned. Recent figures from the Department of Employment showed a huge decline in the number of private sector employees covered by enterprise agreements during the September quarter.
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Teen firefighting volunteer taped to truck was regularly targeted by Eaglehawk colleagues, CFA finds
The assault of a 17-year-old girl at a central Victorian fire brigade last year was "not an isolated event", but an example of cultural problems at the station, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) has found.
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Uber drivers not employees according to the Fair Work Commission
The FWC examined the relationship against the traditional indicia of control, exclusivity of work, and the workers provision of their own tools of trade and found that while Uber exercises control over fares, including minimum trip fees and surge pricing, most of the commonly regarded employment indicia were missing.
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Employer liable for compensation even without formalised employment contract
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has found in Sutherland and Comcare (Compensation) [2017] AATA 2596 that evidence of an employer-employee relationship before a formalised employment contract has been executed is sufficient for the employer to be liable for workers' compensation—a decision that may impact future claims in Western Australia.
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Sexual Harrassment in the post-Weinstein age - What is next for employers?
Given the extensive coverage of this issue, with it becoming a social media staple and the subject of many "barbecue stopper" conversations, it is unlikely that the impact of these events will be confined to the media and entertainment industries. As such, an increase in complaints of sexual harassment is on the cards for 2018, with aggrieved employees emboldened after seeing that power, status and position don't confer a licence to engage in such behaviour with impunity.
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Term contracts: What you need to know
A recent decision of a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has opened the door to employees on maximum term contracts bringing unfair dismissal claims by overturning the principle that the expiry of a term contract is not a termination at the initiative of the employer
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