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Carer's leave for unexpected emergencies
Fiduciary and other duties in employment; copyright
Being asked to work on public holidays
Fixed term contracts; general protections
Procedures; Extension of time


Absences from work
Adverse action
Annual leave
Award and agreement free
Award entitlements
Breach of contract
Bringing actions for unfair dismissal
Bullying at work
Carer's leave
Casual employees
Compensation for unfair dismissal
Compensation in employment
Conditions of employment
Constructive dismissal
Consultation required in the workplace
Contract of employment terms
Criminal convictions and the workplace
Defamation in the workplace
Demotion at work
Disciplinary action in the workplace
Discrimination at work
Dismissal procedures
Dismissal remedies
Dress codes in the workplace
Drug testing in the workplace
Duty of care
Email policies
Employee incentive scemes
Employee records
Employee rights
Employee rights in a transfer of business
Employees' duties
Employment Advice
Employment contracts and the law
Employment remuneration issues
Enforcing employment contracts
Enterprise agreements
Enterprise bargaining
Equal Opportunity
Fair Work Act
Fair Work Commission practice direction
Fair Work Commission procedures
Fair Work Ombudsman
Fair Work procedures
Fair Work remedies
Fair Work time limits
Fixed term contracts
Flexible working arrangements
General protections
Grounds for dismissal
Guarantee of annual earnings
Harassment at work
High income threshold
How workplace rights are protected
Implied terms and conditions of employment
Independent contractors
Individual flexibility arrangements
Industrial action
Industrial awards
Industrial torts
Instructions by an employer
Interesting cases
Internet at work
Interpreting awards and enterprise agreeents
Lawful and reasonable directions
Legal issues in employment
Legal Professional Privilege
Legal representation
Long service leave
Lying in enterprise bargaining
Managing poor performance
Minimum entitlements
Misconduct out of hours
Mobile phone records
Modern awards
NES paid leave
Notice periods for termination of employment
Offer of alternative employment
Onus of proof
Parental and maternity leave
Parental leave
Payment of remuneration
Position descriptions
Privacy in the workplace
Procedural fairness
Protected industrial action
Public holidays
Racial villification in the workplace
Recording conversations in the workplace
Recovering entitlements
Redundancy concepts
Remedies in employment law
Representation in the Fair Work Commission
Restraints of trade
Rosters and working hours
Salary, wages and remuneration
Settlement deed
Severance payments
Sexual harassment in the workplace
Sick leave
Social media in the workplace
Soicial media in the workplace
Springboard principle
Summary/instant dismssal
Support person
Termination of employment
Termination of Employment and Probation
Termination of employment by small businesses
Termination of empoyment
The Australian system of employment regulation
Time limits
Transmission/transfer of business
Tribunal procedures
Unfair dismissal
Unfair dismissal and small businesses
Visa laws and the workplace
Visa workng rights
Wages and salary
Western Australian workplace rights laws
Withholding entitlements
Workers compensation rights
Workplace bullying
Workplace health and safety
Workplace Right
Workplace rights
Wrongful dismissal
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Carer's leave for unexpected emergencies

A company, not surprisingly, has lost an attempt to have an action by an employee for an unfair dismissal remedy thrown out at an interlocutory basis arguing that a premature birth and subsequent unexpected hospitalization for post natal complications did not constitute an “unexpected emergency" the employee under sec 97(b)(ii) of the Fair Work Act even though the male employee had 4 young children to care for as a result, three of whom were pre-schoolers.
Johnston v MTGI Trust trading as Macquarie Technology Group (2014) FWC 7098 delivered on 24 October 2014

Fiduciary and other duties in employment; copyright

The Federal Court has ordered a former IT manager to pay damages of more than $50,000 for breach of copyright when he arranged just before resigning to download hundreds of thousands of his then employer’s files to a hard drive which he claimed was as a “trophy”. That claim was rejected by the judge who described it as "but deliberately and over a sustained period of time copied them to his own device, removed them from the[the company's premises, falsely stated that he had returned all property of the company, and reviewed them at his leisure and for his own purposes".

Being asked to work on public holidays

Under sec 114 of the Fair Work Act, an employer is entitled to ask an employee to work on a public holiday but the employee may refuse the request if the request is not reasonable or the refusal is reasonable. In determining the reasonableness of the above, a number of factors must be taken into account including the employee’s personal circumstances including family responsibilities. For a complete list of the relevant issues, go to sub-sec 114(4) of the Act.


Fixed term contracts; general protections

General protections applications including for adverse action may be brought by employees whose employment is governed by fixed term contracts, both during and after the termination of them.
Stephens v Australian Postal Corporation [2013] FCCA 1988 (27 November 2013)

CFMEU v Pilbara Iron Company Services Pty Ltd (2012) FCA 697

Procedures; Extension of time

The Fair Work Commission has delivered another decision to the effect that an error by a representative of a prospective applicant for an unfair dismissal remedy can be granted an extension of time to make the application out of time. That the error was by a representative and that the applicant was blameless could constitute “exceptional circumstances” where the delay was nominal.

Finlayson v Western Health (2014) FWC 6076 delivered on 20 October 2014

Fair Work Ombudsman

The Fair Work Ombudsman is the federal government’s industrial relations policemen and in its 2013-2014 annual return tabled in Federal Parliament has reported that it received over 24,000 complaints and recovered more than $23 million in underpayments from employers. It also has an increasing role in monitoring visa and employment issues for non resident workers who are working pursuant to visas.

Redundancy; reasonable alternative employment

Sec 120 of the Fair Work Act 2009 enables an employer to apply to the Fair Work Commission to be relieved of the obligation to pay statutory redundancy pay if the employer, inter alia, obtains other acceptable employment for the employee or employees. A Full Bench has re-affirmed that the employer must be a “strong, moving force” behind the obtaining of acceptable alternative employment and that the fact that the employer may play a small or less than meaningful role, for example by introducing the employees to the prospective employer, is not enough to justify the original employer being relieved of the obligation to make the payments.

Legal representation

An employee seeking an unfair dismissal remedy has succeeded in opposing an application by the employer to be legally represented at the hearing, even though there was a preliminary jurisdictional issue to be resolved involving a contest as to whether the employee had been dismissed or had resigned. The Commissioner was of the view that the company’s human resources team was quite sufficient and that allowing legal representation would potentially introduce a level of complexity into the proceedings which was unfair to the applicant who was representing himself.

Casual employees

All too often, I am advised that a person has no rights to make a claim for an unfair dismissal remedy because they are a casual employee. This is a nonsense of course, because that is not the effect of the Fair Work Act. Similarly, many people think that if a business has fewer than 15 employees, not counting casual employees (sec 23 (2), then it is a small business employer and cannot be sued for unfair dismissal if it has followed the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code, can only be sued for unfair dismissal if the employee has been employed for at least one year, or, if the employee is made redundant, the employer is exempt from having to pay redundancy pay.

What can be protected industrial action?

A Federal Court judge has ruled that the provision of confidential information to the media by a union and its members engaged in industrial bargaining for a new enterprise agreement does not constitute “industrial action” for the purposes of being protected. In doing so the judge opposed a contrary decision of a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission. It was common ground that the action threatened by the employees would have constituted both a breach of their employment contracts and their employer’s media policy.
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