The final luncheon in the Harmers Western Sydney Forum event series was held on Thursday 27 October 2016 at the Pullman Hotel in Sydney Olympic Park. The topic of “Complaint Handling for Managers” was presented by three legal practitioners from Harmers Workplace Lawyers: Michael Harmer, Chairman and Senior Team Leader, Emma Pritchard, Executive Counsel and […]
In the last few years, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has become increasingly vigilant in pursuing small to medium sized employers who are not compliant with their obligations in relation to employee entitlements, in particular the payment of wages. The FWO is increasingly willing to take Court action against employers who are failing to comply with their obligations arising under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and any applicable awards. Recent judgments from the Federal Courts also show that Judges are prepared to hand down orders for large penalties where there have been serious contraventions. Given the increasing vigilance in this area of employee entitlements, employers and their directors and managers are strongly encouraged to conduct regular compliance audits and staff training to avoid exposing themselves to civil penalties and back payment orders.
On Thursday 29 September 2016, Harmers Workplace Lawyers sponsored and hosted the Australian Institute of Employment Rights (“AIER”) 6th Annual Ron McCallum Debate (“Debate”) at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney. This year’s outstanding line-up of panellists, moderated by The Hon Geoff Giudice AO, included: Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum AO; Caterina Cinanni, National President, National […]
In the last few years, the Fair Work Ombudsman (“FWO”) has become increasingly vigilant in pursuing small to medium employers who are not compliant in their obligations in relation to employee entitlements, in particular the payment of wages. Indeed, the FWO is increasingly willing to take Court action against employers who are failing to comply […]
In May 2016, the Prime Minister of Australia advised the Governor-General to exercise his power to dissolve both Houses of Federal Parliament – the Senate and the House of Representatives – after the Senate failed to pass three bills (proposals for new laws or changes to existing laws) relating to industrial relations. As a result, a full federal election was held at the beginning of July 2016. While counting has not yet concluded, it appears likely that the Coalition (Liberal and National) will return to Government, but with a reduced number of seats in the House of Representatives. Broadly, these bills propose changes to the current regulation of: a) The building and construction industry (increased powers and tougher penalties for breaches relating to unlawful industrial action and coercion); and b) Registered organisations, such as unions (stronger disclosure requirements for officers and increased penalties for breaches of their statutory duties).
In this video presentation, Michael Harmer, Chairman & Senior Team Leader, Harmers Workplace Lawyers, provides an overview of the workplace relations landscape leading up to the 2016 Federal election. Sophie Redmond, Executive Counsel & Team Leader, Harmers Workplace Lawyers, then discusses the often vexed issue of how to properly manage employees with extended absences from […]
One of the features of the Model Work Health and Safety Act is the imposition of duties on persons who are in a position to control or influence safety in workplaces. The legislation contemplates that more than one person can have a work health and safety duty in relation to the same matter. One of the first convictions under this consultation provision was handed down in May. The case involved an employee who was injured, when the guttering he was handling came into contact with power lines. The employee had been placed in his position by an apprentice placement organisation, was being supervised by a self-employed roofer and was working at a site under the control of a construction company. All three of these defendants had their own separate duty to ensure the safety of the employee, as well as a duty to consult, co-operate and co-ordinate with each other about safety arrangements, which they failed to uphold. This decision has particular significance for training and placement organisations and host employers.
Traditionally, Australian Courts have been cautious about claims brought by employees alleging breach of statutory prohibitions against misleading and deceptive conduct in trade or commerce. The frequently occurring hurdle in such cases is that Court’s have not considered conduct, which occurs during the course of ongoing employment, to be “in trade and commerce”. The position, however, has been that misleading or deceptive conduct in pre-employment negotiations may support a statutory cause of action for misleading and deceptive conduct. Courts have taken a more limited view with respect to representations made to an existing employee with a view to retaining the services of that employee. The Federal Court of Australia recently ordered an insurance building company to pay its former senior insurance executive more than $330,000 in damages for misleading and deceptive conduct, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
In this edition, we cast a spotlight on the practice of engaging interns. We explore recent cases and the nuances of the law relating to internships, work experience and vocational placements in Australia, and highlight the potential risks and penalties for employers. We then examine the topical issue of drugs and alcohol in the context […]
The New South Wales Court of Appeal in McKeith v Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC; Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) v James  NSWCA 36 examined the following ways in which it was submitted that RBS’s retrenchment policy created contractual entitlements owed to two former senior employees (Messrs James and McKeith): Incorporation […]