Employment, Workplace Relations & Safety

Employment, Workplace Relations & Safety

Employment, Workplace Relations & Safety

Navigating the complexities of the Fair Work Act and other labour laws can pose a challenge for employers in all industries. Practical legal advice is required to successfully manage good faith bargaining, industrial action, employment agreements, dismissals and occupational health and safety regulation.

Corrs are trusted advisors to major Australian employers in both the private and public sectors. We also act for the Australian labour law regulators, state governments and other sophisticated buyers of labour law services who seek out our leading expertise.

Our skill and experience on contentious matters means we can identify the pitfalls early and help our clients avoid them. In addition, our contacts across the political spectrum, with employer associations and with Australia’s major unions, ensure that we can offer our clients commercial insight into the latest legal and industrial developments.

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A Regional Guide to Retirement Plans & Schemes: Asia

A Regional Guide to Retirement Plans & Schemes: Asia provides an overview of the laws relating to the regulation of retirement plans and schemes in 16 key countries across Asia, including Australia.

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FWC Full Bench clarifies limits on dispute settlement powers under enterprise agreements

A Full Bench of the FWC has provided clear authority on parties’ obligations to comply with preliminary dispute settlement steps under an enterprise agreement in The Australian Workers’ Union v MC Labour Services Pty Ltd [2017].

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Five ways Atlassian, Amazon and Rackspace innovate in the workplace

How can you promote a culture of innovation in your workplace? Corrs Partner Eugenia Kolivos led a recent panel discussion with Atlassian, Amazon Web Services and Rackspace to find out what innovation means to them.

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A Seismic Shift: Commonwealth Government releases draft whistleblower legislation

The Commonwealth Government has released its exposure draft of proposed new whistleblower legislation.

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Industrial manslaughter now a crime in Queensland

The Queensland Parliament has passed the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (Qld), which introduced new industrial manslaughter laws and other amendments to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld).

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The Future of Work in the Asia-Pacific

In conjunction with Deacons Hong Kong and 13 other Asia-Pacific member law firms of the global Employment Law Alliance (ELA), Corrs Chambers Westgarth has produced a unique report on the future of work in the Asia-Pacific.

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‘Protecting David from Goliath’: Parliamentary Committee makes recommendations for new whistleblower reforms

The Federal Government has indicated the likely introduction of a revised scope of whistleblower protection legislation later this year. What can we expect it to contain?

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Due Diligence Quarterly Q3 2017

Each quarter, Corrs publishes the Due Diligence Quarterly which can assist directors and other officers comply with their personal duty to exercise due diligence under work health and safety laws.

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Parliament passes the Vulnerable Workers Bill

Last week, Federal Parliament passed the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017. What are the key measures in the Bill?

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WA on the march towards model work health and safety laws

As WA progresses to adopting its own version of the harmonised WHS legislation, employers in Western Australia will need to prepare for a number of changes in work health and safety laws over the next two years.

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Employment, Labour & Safety Mid-Year Review – 2017

The Corrs Employment, Labour & Safety Team is pleased to present our fourth annual review of the Australian employment, labour and safety landscape.

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Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review: Q2 2017

To help you stay up to date with employment-related legal developments, Corrs contributes to the “Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review”, an e-publication covering 15 jurisdictions across Asia.

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How should Australia combat modern slavery? (VIDEO)

The Australian government is proposing new laws to tackle slavery. What can we learn from similar legislation overseas and what role does business need to play in protecting vulnerable workers?

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Parliament passes Corrupting Benefits Legislation and preserves Building Code

Last week, Federal Parliament passed the Fair Work Amendment (Corrupting Benefits) Bill 2017, and also voted down a Labor motion to disallow the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016.

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How Australia is combatting worker exploitation

Three State Inquiries over the last 12 months into labour hire point to widespread exploitation. The time has come for a regulatory response to protect vulnerable workers.

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‘One-Sided Flexibility’ in the Workplace: Australian and UK Responses

Both the recent FWC decision to insert casual conversion clauses in modern awards in Australia and the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices in the UK are responses to the same world-wide phenomena – ‘One-Sided Flexibility’.

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Dismissing On-Hired Employees: A Cautionary Tale

In Tasmanian Ports Corporation Pty Ltd t/a Tasports v Gee [2017] FWCFB 1714 (18 May 2017), a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has clarified the obligations of labour hire employers when dismissing an employee.

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Produce your permit: Full Federal Court clarifies union right of entry for OHS purposes

The Full Federal Court of Australia has handed down an important decision relating to union right of entry for occupational health and safety purposes, in Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Powell [2017] FCAFC 89.

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Irreconcilable differences: FWC Full Bench refuses approval of bakery agreement

In SDAEA v Beechworth Bakery Employee Co Pty Ltd t/a Beechworth Bakery [2017] FWCFB 1664, a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission upheld the union’s appeal against approval of an enterprise agreement.

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Government responds to Trade Unions Royal Commission with the Corrupting Benefits Bill 2017

On 22 March 2017, the Coalition Government introduced the Fair Work Amendment (Corrupting Benefits) Bill 2017 into Parliament, which seeks to implement a number of key recommendations from the 2015 Trade Unions Royal Commission.

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Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review: Q1 2017

To help you stay up to date with employment-related legal developments, Corrs contributes to the “Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review”, an e-publication covering 15 jurisdictions across Asia.

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New liabilities and higher penalties on the way for franchisors and others under the Vulnerable Workers Bill

Recently introduced into Parliament by the Coalition Government, the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017 will introduce a number of amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

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The cream rises to the top: Federal Court clarifies interaction of leave entitlements and public holidays

In Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Glendell Mining Pty Limited, the Federal Court of Australia has clarified the interaction of leave entitlements and public holidays under the National Employment Standards.

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Queensland’s Industrial Relations Reforms Are Now in Operation: Are You Ready?

This article highlights the key changes to Queensland industrial relations regulation implemented by the new Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld), and the steps that employers should take to ensure they are prepared for them.

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Penalty, Ref?! No… FWC reduces Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in 6 modern awards

As the Australian economy continues to evolve into a ‘24/7’ service model, it has been argued that the system of penalty rates no longer reflects the reality of working arrangements in many industries.

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How the recent amendments to Building and Construction Industry Legislation and Code will affect you

Recently, important changes to the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (Cth) were passed by federal Parliament, along with amendments to the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016.

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Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review: Q4 2016

To help you stay up to date with employment-related legal developments, Corrs contributes to the “Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review”, a publication covering employment-related legal developments across Asia.

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Why right of entry for safety reasons is not so easy

In this article, we analyse CFMEU (NSW Branch) v Acciona Infrastructure Australia Pty Ltd and Ferrovial Agroman (Australia) Pty Ltd t/as the Pacifico Acciona Ferrovial Joint Venture [2017] NSWIRComm 1000 (17 January 2017).

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‘A Tragedy Waiting to Happen’: Record OHS fine confirms why risk assessments are key

A tragic recent case in which a transport company was fined a record amount for breaching its OHS duties confirms that safety and legal compliance requires competent risk assessments and a timely response to their outcomes.

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Swearing in the workplace: Where should you draw the line?

Is swearing ever appropriate in the workplace? Six recent cases suggest that the line between what is and is not appropriate is becoming increasingly blurred.

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What could the new Whistleblower regime look like and how will it affect your organisation?

How will changes to the whistleblower regime affect your day-to-day business operations, risk management and compliance procedures?

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What the return of the ABCC means for you

The Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 became law on 1 December 2016, introducing significant changes and a more empowered regulator.

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FWO cracks down on franchisors and franchisees for breaches of Australian workplace laws

Two recent inquiries by the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Senate Committee have placed both franchisors and franchisees on notice about the serious consequences of non-compliance with workplace laws.

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Senate Passes The ABCC Bill: The ABCC Is Back In Business

This morning, the Turnbull Government finally secured passage of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill (ABCC Bill) by the Senate.

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Registered Organisations Bill passed into law – with unexpected whistleblower protections

On 22 November, the Turnbull Government finally secured passage of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Bill 2014 (RO Bill) by federal Parliament.

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Queensland’s Industrial Reform Ramps Up

The Queensland Finance and Administration Parliamentary Committee has reported to Parliament on its review of the industrial reforms proposed by the State Government in the Industrial Relations Bill 2016 (Qld).

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Leadership Series: The 21st Century Workplace - Part 4

The Leadership Video Series profiles Australian IR, HR and Safety leaders discussing key issues facing 21st century workplaces. Each video aims to connect our clients to the latest thinking on issues surrounding the future of work.

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How do the Information Privacy Principles Apply During a Social Media Misconduct Investigation?

The Supreme Court of Victoria has clarified the application of the Information Privacy Principles to an investigation of employee misconduct on Facebook in Jurecek v Director, Transport Safety Victoria [2016] VSC 285 (11 October 2016).

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How to recognise when industrial action is (and isn’t) occurring

The concept of ‘industrial action’ plays a crucial role in the bargaining regime under the Fair Work Act 2009, and it is therefore very important that employers are able to recognise when it is – and isn’t – occurring.

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Mental Illness and Workplace Disciplinary Law: The 6 Golden Rules

How does a business ensure it is legally compliant when dealing with a worker who suffers (or may suffer) from mental illness? And most importantly, how can it ensure that it does not cause harm to anyone when applying disciplinary processes?

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FWC: Enterprise bargaining requires employers to “enter into the theatre of the absurd”

The Fair Work Commission’s recent Full Bench majority decision in Uniline Australia Limited [2016] has yet again made it clear that they will adopt a strict approach to technical deficiencies when employers issue an NEER.

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Competitive Workplaces in a Changing World

Seeking more competitive workplaces in our rapidly changing world is a part of a broader national challenge, one that has been a key driver of Australian public policy for decades: we have to be competitive in a global market.

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High Court Invalidates Federal Law Exempting Offshore Resource Activities from Visa Requirements

Following the High Court’s decision in Maritime Union of Australia v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2016], employers in the offshore oil and gas sector will now have to ensure foreign workers have valid visas.

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Risky Business: Six steps for preventing and managing sexual harassment in the workplace

Liability for sexual harassment is an increasing risk for employers and managers. Taking these six practical steps will help your business prevent and manage sexual harassment effectively.

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Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review: Q2 2016

In our chapter this quarter, we cover key developments in Australia during the 2nd quarter of 2016.

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My Start Up is Grown Up – Now what about the Humans? Ten things you need to know

Start Ups often get bigger by refusing to play by the rulebook. But as they grow, all kinds of legal considerations come into focus.

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Even Matildas need childcare: An analysis of Garriock v Football Federation Australia

As the Matildas compete at the Rio Olympics, we revisit a recent decision rejecting an indirect discrimination claim by former midfielder, Heather Garriock.

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Workplace Mid-Year Review – 2016

The Corrs Workplace Relations team is pleased to present our third annual review of the Australian employment, workplace and safety landscape.

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PAY BACK – employer undertakes to reimburse employees more than $2 million in underpayments

A recent enforceable undertaking affirms the importance of correctly calculating employee entitlements under modern awards.

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The Coles Agreement decision and what it means for enterprise bargaining

A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission refused to approve an enterprise agreement covering Coles Supermarkets. We examine the decision, its fallout and the lessons for employers to ensure that agreements pass the ‘better off overall test’.

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Teaching old dogs new tricks: The Fair Work Commission’s New Approaches program

Under the Fair Work Commission (FWC) New Approaches program, employers can now seek assistance from the FWC to develop a ‘new approach’ to bargaining, implementing change and resolving workplace conflict.

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Stricter laws for franchisors? Responses to the 7-Eleven wage scandal

We examine the FWO’s investigation of 7-Eleven and possible regulatory responses to the recent wage scandal, and ask: how can franchisors prepare for stricter workplace laws?

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First conviction for failing to 'co-operate, consult and co-ordinate' under Model WHS Laws

The decision in Boland v Trainee and Apprentice Placement Service Inc [2016] SAIRC 14 is the first conviction for breach of the concurrent duty holder consultation duty under model WHS laws.

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La Trobe University Academic’s Suspension again Highlights Social Media Perils for Employees

La Trobe University’s suspension of Roz Ward for a controversial Facebook post again raises the question: to what extent can employers exercise control over the social media activity of their employees?

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When Employees Leave: What Employers in Asia/Pacific Need to Know about Protecting Company Rights and Confidential Information

Corrs Workplace Relations & Safety lead partner John Tuck has contributed the Australian chapter in this new Employment Law Alliance publication.

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Right of casuals to make enterprise agreements clarified

In this In Brief we examine the decision in McDermott Australia Pty Ltd v AWU & AMWU [2016] FWCFC 2222. The decision clarifies that casual employees can be included in the vote on an enterprise agreement.

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The long arm of adverse action: independent investigations and performance reviews

We examine the recent decision in Perez v Northern Territory Department of Correctional Services [2016] FCA 476, which highlights the importance for employers of handling workplace investigations and performance reviews carefully.

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Workplace Bullying – A Guide for SMEs and Start-Ups

SMEs and start-ups face particular challenges in managing people. One of the key employment law issues is workplace bullying. We explain the legal risks in this area and how to avoid bullying claims.

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Representation Notices: Get Them Right, Or Start Bargaining All Over Again

We examine several cases where employers have tripped up on the requirements for issuing representation notices at the start of bargaining – and provide some key tips for ‘getting it right’

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Are your contractors paying award wages? It might be your problem if they’re not!

7-Eleven and other recent examples of worker exploitation highlight the need for businesses to ask: what is going on in our own supply chain?

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Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review: Q1 2016

In this chapter we cover key developments in Australia in the 1st Quarter 2016.

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Knock Knock, Who’s There? – What not to do when union officials seek entry to your worksite

We review the recent decision in Bragdon v Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate [2016] FCAFC 64. The case demonstrates the risks of letting union officials on site, without a statutory right.

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A Regional Guide to Background Checks – Asia

Background checks have become a critical part of the recruitment process in many countries. Employers with a global presence often seek to harmonise recruitment policies across different jurisdictions. Addressing the various restrictions and regula

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The ABCC bill is about fairness and the rule of law

Reinstating the ABCC is about making sure that the CFMEU obeys the law as it is, not what the union thinks it ought to be.

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Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory – lessons from recent unfair dismissal decisions

Three recent FWC decisions remind employers that although there may a valid reason to dismiss of an employee, other factors can lead to a finding of unfairness.

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What’s Up Doc? A practical guide to directing employees to undergo medical assessments

In this article, we provides some practical tips on when and how an employer can lawfully direct an employee to undergo a medical assessment.

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APRA releases further consultation package on Level 3 Group Framework

APRA has released for consultation clarification to the governance and risk management components of the framework for supervision of Level 3 groups

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Potential introduction of Project Bank Accounts in Queensland

In December 2015, the Queensland Government issued a Security of Payment discussion paper seeking industry feedback on ways to improve security of payment for subcontractors. One of the proposals flagged for consideration is the use of project bank

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Conflicts management practices under ASIC microscope

ASIC has released a new report urging all AFS licensees to review their own conflicts management practices following an extensive review of vertically integrated businesses in the funds management industry.

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Legal Professional Privilege – Keeping Workplace ‘Laundry’ Private

In this In Brief, we look at recent cases where employees have demanded access to privileged workplace investigation reports; and discuss some practical tips to help employers keep their ‘business’ private.

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The Parent Trap – Adverse Action, Parental Leave and Redundancy

In this article, we examine two recent decisions highlighting some of the legal risks for employers in managing employees on parental leave. We also outline some practical tips for employers to avoid the ‘parent trap’.

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Bargaining and Industrial Action: “Do we really have to sit down with them? And when can we all cool off?”

Two recent decisions highlight that negotiating parties can hold meetings by teleconference or video; and strong evidence will be required for an employer’s application to end protected industrial action to allow a “cooling off” period.

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Reports of the Productivity Commission and Trade Unions Royal Commission will set the Workplace Reform Agenda in 2016

The pre-election debate over workplace reform will be dominated by the Government’s response to reports from the Productivity Commission and the TURC. We take a look at the major issues in the year ahead.

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Employers Beware: Sexual Harassment Damages Exceed $330,000 in Recent VCAT Ruling

The decision in Collins v Smith (Human Rights) [2015] VCAT 1992, in which a complainant received over $330,000 in damages for sexual harassment, reminds employers of the need to take proactive steps to ensure a bullying/harassment-free workplace.

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Promoting fair work practices in franchisees

Since the new Franchising Code of Conduct came into effect earlier this year, there has been an increased focus on franchise issues. This article explores one important issue in this regard – the role of franchisors in promoting fair work practices

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Binding ‘aspirational’ statements in enterprise agreements

We examine the decision in NTEU v La Trobe University [2015] FCAFC 142, which again highlights the potentially binding consequences of aspirational provisions in enterprise agreements.

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ACCC Clears Free to Air and Pay TV Tie Up: What’s next?

The ACCC and ACMA have recently cleared a tie up between FOXTEL and Ten as momentum builds for media ownership laws to be updated.

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General protections: What’s next for employers?

In this In Brief, we examine the Federal Court decision in National Tertiary Education Industry Union v Swinburne University of Technology (No 2) [2015] FCA 1080 and consider its broader implications.

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Federal Court upholds implied contractual right to require medical evidence

In a recent decision the Court held that Qantas had an implied contractual right to seek detailed medical information from a pilot who had been on long-term personal/sick leave.

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FWC’s anti-bullying jurisdiction: Past conduct is relevant

In this In Brief, we examine the Fair Work Commission Full Bench’s decision in Application by Kathleen McInnes [2014] FWCFB 1440 (6 March 2014).

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Government commences Fair Work Act reform

On 27 February 2014, the Government introduced the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2014 into federal parliament.

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Crackdown on unions using safety as a weapon - Proposed changes to Queensland WHS Act

The Queensland Government introduced the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 into State Parliament on 13 February 2014.

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Who employs labour hire workers? Fair Work Commission rejects the concept of ‘joint employment'

In FP Group Pty Ltd v Tooheys Pty Ltd, a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission held that FP Group was the true employer of workers supplied by FP Group to Tooheys under a labour hire arrangement.

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Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption

On 10 February 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

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Consultation with employees - Why, what and when?

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

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Back to the future - ABCC set to return under Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill

On 14 November 2013, the Abbott Government introduced the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 into Parliament.

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Discharging the onus in adverse action claims - What employers can do in the post-Barclay environment

In a recent decision the Court held that the question whether an employer has taken adverse action for reasons prohibited under the Fair Work Act is answered by focusing on the decision maker’s actual reasons for making the decision.

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Significant changes to Queensland workers’ compensation provisions: What it means for employers

On 29 October 2013 the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2003 (Qld) was passed.

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Did you know that you need to update your asbestos management plan and asbestos register every 5 years?

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 specify how asbestos is to be managed in workplaces.

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Federal Court imposes penalties on Victorian Government for Construction Code adverse action breaches - But where next for construction industry regulation?

In this In Brief, we examine Justice Bromberg’s decision as a prelude to considering a number of developments and likely future directions for construction industry regulation under the new Coalition federal government.

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Coalition Government set to implement “Policy to Improve the Fair Work Laws”

Following its success in the 7 September federal election, the Liberal/National Coalition is now commencing to implement its industrial relations policy.

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The ‘Trojan Horse’ - The (new) implied term of mutual trust and confidence in Australian contracts of employment

The employment relationship is characterised by a degree of trust and confidence. The recent decision Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Barker elevated this feature to a new level.

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High Court finds provision of accommodation is not a “payment” that is prohibited during industrial action

In Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Mammoet Australia Pty Ltd, the Court held that the provision of on-site accommodation to employees during a period of protected industrial action was not a “payment” that was prohibited by the FWA.

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What must a safety regulator tell you about the charges you are facing? The Queensland Court of Appeal considers the High Court decision in Kirk

In this In Brief, we consider the recent decision in NK Collins Industries Pty Ltd v The President of the Industrial Court of Queensland [2013] QCA 179.

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Dispute resolution procedure binds employer to full bench error of law

Many employers might be surprised to learn that they can be bound by a decision of a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission that is made in error of law.

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The Seacare Review Report: Will its recommendations be implemented?

In this In Brief, we discuss the proposed reforms to occupational health and safety regulation in the maritime industry.

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Restraints of trade - Cautionary tales for former and future employers

Employers are increasingly relying on restraint of trade clauses to protect their businesses when former employees begin working for a competitor.

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Allseas amendments to Migration Act to limit international workers in offshore oil and gas industry

The inconsistencies created by the Migration Act’s application to the offshore resources industry has been a contentious issue for some time.

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Legislation to change the 457 visa program requirements enacted

The Migration Amendment Act 2013 was introduced to enhance the government’s ability to deter alleged sponsorship behaviour which was inconsistent with the policy intent of the subclass 457 visa program.

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Fair Work Act Amendments passed by parliament, with delayed start-up for anti-bullying provisions

Federal Parliament recently passed the Fair Work Amendment Act 2013 (Cth). This legislation implements a number of 2012 Fair Work Act Review further recommendations and several policy proposals.

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Can employers absorb superannuation guarantee increases?

Amendments to the superannuation guarantee legislation increasing the guarantee charge from 9-12% by the FY 2019-2020. In this In Brief, we examine the impact this is likely to have on existing and future employment contracts.

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Safety, something that you ought to know about...

We examine a prosecution that WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch described as one that “illustrates that directors have an obligation to directly intervene if necessary in situations where unsafe work practices are taking place”.

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Federal Court rules on the interaction between the Victorian Construction Code and implementation guidelines and the adverse action provisions

Keenly anticipated, CFMEU has successfully challenged a key aspect of State Government industrial regulations in the building and construction industry.

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Coalition releases “Policy to Improve the Fair Work Laws”

On 9 May 2013, the Coalition released its industrial relations policy for the federal election to be held on 14 September.

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An uncertain safety risk can justify employees’ refusal to work - The safety exception to industrial action

Unions and employees commonly organise and take industrial action against an employer about safety issues.

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NSW joins standoff over building and construction industry guidelines

On 22 March 2013, the New South Wales Government released the Implementation Guidelines to the New South Wales Code of Practice for Procurement: Building and Construction.

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Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 introduced into parliament

On 21 March 2013, the Government introduced the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 (Amendment Bill) into federal Parliament.

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When does the winner take all? Costs orders in industrial litigation

In this In Brief, we examine the Full Federal Court decision in Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate.

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Government announces changes on greenfields agreements, arbitration & right of entry - But still thin on detail

Workplace Relations Minister, the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, has announced further details of the Government’s proposed amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 dealing with greenfields agreements and union right of entry.

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What is an “arrangement” for purposes of a transfer of business?

A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has recently clarified what constitutes an “arrangement” between an old and a new employer for purposes of determining whether there has been a transfer of business.

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Government announces workplace changes for a modern workforce

Emphasising the importance of workplace relations policy, the Government recently made a series of announcements about proposed legislative changes to promote family-friendly workplaces and address workplace bullying.

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2012 Workplace Relations Review and looking ahead at 2013

This In Brief provides a summary of the major workplace relations developments in 2012, and an overview of the key issues that employers will need to consider in 2013.

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New national Building Code issued and given legislative backing

On 25 January 2013, Bill Shorten MP issued a new code of practice for the building and construction industry. The Building Code 2013 was made as a legislative instrument, replacing the National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry.

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Legislation update: Transfer of business changes and fair entitlements guarantee

Two significant pieces of legislation passed by federal Parliament took effect in late 2012, the Fair Work Amendment Act 2012 and the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Act 2012.

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Lessons for boards and senior management from the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy

Protecting the health and safety of workers is not a peripheral business activity. It is part and parcel of an organisation’s functions and should be embedded in an organisation’s strategies, policies and operations.

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New gender equity legislation and proposed overhaul of Federal anti-discrimination laws

Employers need to be aware of two recent developments in equal opportunity law: the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Act 2012 (Cth), and an Exposure Draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012.

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Fair Work Act changes passed by Parliament - What does this mean for employers?

On Wednesday 28 November 2012, Federal Parliament passed the Fair Work Amendment Act 2012 which implements a number of recommendations of the Fair Work Act Review Panel.

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Christmas is coming...please take leave

Can employers require their employees to take paid annual leave or unpaid leave, to avoid the cost of paying employees for attending at work when productivity will be low?

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Recent developments: Implied term of trust of confidence, and ‘productivity’ under the Fair Work Act

In Barker v Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Justice Besanko held that there exists in Australian law an implied term of mutual trust and confidence in a contract of employment.

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Be careful who is left out - Scope clauses in enterprise agreements under close scrutiny

A recent decision has called into question the common practice of enterprise agreements made between an employer and a limited number of employees, but having the capacity to apply over time to much larger numbers of employees.

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High Court re-establishes balance in adverse action cases - Overturns Barclay decision

The High Court today handed down its much anticipated decision in Board of Bendigo Regional Institute of Technical and Further Education v Barclay.

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Fair Work Act review report

On 2 August 2012, the federal Government released the long-awaited Report of the independent panel which reviewed the operation and impact of the Fair Work Act 2009.

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Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Act 2012

Schedule 1 of The Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Act 2012 (Cth) (New Act) has commenced today, 1 June 2012.

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Changed requirements for hazardous chemicals and registration of plant in Queensland

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) is part of a national package of uniform work health and safety legislation. It repealed the Dangerous Goods Safety Management Act 2001 (Qld) and as of 1 January 2012 regulates dangerous goods in Queensland.

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Farewell to the ABCC - Changes to regulation of the building and construction industry

On 21 March 2012, the Senate passed the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill 2011. The Bill will come into operation when it receives Royal Assent.

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Our Thinking

A Regional Guide to Retirement Plans & Schemes: Asia

A Regional Guide to Retirement Plans & Schemes: Asia provides an overview of the laws relating to the regulation of retirement plans and schemes in 16 key countries across Asia, including Australia.

FWC Full Bench clarifies limits on dispute settlement powers under enterprise agreements

A Full Bench of the FWC has provided clear authority on parties’ obligations to comply with preliminary dispute settlement steps under an enterprise agreement in The Australian Workers’ Union v MC Labour Services Pty Ltd [2017].

Five ways Atlassian, Amazon and Rackspace innovate in the workplace

How can you promote a culture of innovation in your workplace? Corrs Partner Eugenia Kolivos led a recent panel discussion with Atlassian, Amazon Web Services and Rackspace to find out what innovation means to them.

A Seismic Shift: Commonwealth Government releases draft whistleblower legislation

The Commonwealth Government has released its exposure draft of proposed new whistleblower legislation.

Industrial manslaughter now a crime in Queensland

The Queensland Parliament has passed the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (Qld), which introduced new industrial manslaughter laws and other amendments to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld).

The Future of Work in the Asia-Pacific

In conjunction with Deacons Hong Kong and 13 other Asia-Pacific member law firms of the global Employment Law Alliance (ELA), Corrs Chambers Westgarth has produced a unique report on the future of work in the Asia-Pacific.

‘Protecting David from Goliath’: Parliamentary Committee makes recommendations for new whistleblower reforms

The Federal Government has indicated the likely introduction of a revised scope of whistleblower protection legislation later this year. What can we expect it to contain?

Due Diligence Quarterly Q3 2017

Each quarter, Corrs publishes the Due Diligence Quarterly which can assist directors and other officers comply with their personal duty to exercise due diligence under work health and safety laws.

Parliament passes the Vulnerable Workers Bill

Last week, Federal Parliament passed the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017. What are the key measures in the Bill?

WA on the march towards model work health and safety laws

As WA progresses to adopting its own version of the harmonised WHS legislation, employers in Western Australia will need to prepare for a number of changes in work health and safety laws over the next two years.

Employment, Labour & Safety Mid-Year Review – 2017

The Corrs Employment, Labour & Safety Team is pleased to present our fourth annual review of the Australian employment, labour and safety landscape.

Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review: Q2 2017

To help you stay up to date with employment-related legal developments, Corrs contributes to the “Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review”, an e-publication covering 15 jurisdictions across Asia.

How should Australia combat modern slavery? (VIDEO)

The Australian government is proposing new laws to tackle slavery. What can we learn from similar legislation overseas and what role does business need to play in protecting vulnerable workers?

Parliament passes Corrupting Benefits Legislation and preserves Building Code

Last week, Federal Parliament passed the Fair Work Amendment (Corrupting Benefits) Bill 2017, and also voted down a Labor motion to disallow the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016.

How Australia is combatting worker exploitation

Three State Inquiries over the last 12 months into labour hire point to widespread exploitation. The time has come for a regulatory response to protect vulnerable workers.

‘One-Sided Flexibility’ in the Workplace: Australian and UK Responses

Both the recent FWC decision to insert casual conversion clauses in modern awards in Australia and the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices in the UK are responses to the same world-wide phenomena – ‘One-Sided Flexibility’.

Dismissing On-Hired Employees: A Cautionary Tale

In Tasmanian Ports Corporation Pty Ltd t/a Tasports v Gee [2017] FWCFB 1714 (18 May 2017), a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has clarified the obligations of labour hire employers when dismissing an employee.

Produce your permit: Full Federal Court clarifies union right of entry for OHS purposes

The Full Federal Court of Australia has handed down an important decision relating to union right of entry for occupational health and safety purposes, in Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Powell [2017] FCAFC 89.

Irreconcilable differences: FWC Full Bench refuses approval of bakery agreement

In SDAEA v Beechworth Bakery Employee Co Pty Ltd t/a Beechworth Bakery [2017] FWCFB 1664, a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission upheld the union’s appeal against approval of an enterprise agreement.

Government responds to Trade Unions Royal Commission with the Corrupting Benefits Bill 2017

On 22 March 2017, the Coalition Government introduced the Fair Work Amendment (Corrupting Benefits) Bill 2017 into Parliament, which seeks to implement a number of key recommendations from the 2015 Trade Unions Royal Commission.

Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review: Q1 2017

To help you stay up to date with employment-related legal developments, Corrs contributes to the “Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review”, an e-publication covering 15 jurisdictions across Asia.

New liabilities and higher penalties on the way for franchisors and others under the Vulnerable Workers Bill

Recently introduced into Parliament by the Coalition Government, the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017 will introduce a number of amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

The cream rises to the top: Federal Court clarifies interaction of leave entitlements and public holidays

In Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Glendell Mining Pty Limited, the Federal Court of Australia has clarified the interaction of leave entitlements and public holidays under the National Employment Standards.

Queensland’s Industrial Relations Reforms Are Now in Operation: Are You Ready?

This article highlights the key changes to Queensland industrial relations regulation implemented by the new Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld), and the steps that employers should take to ensure they are prepared for them.

Penalty, Ref?! No… FWC reduces Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in 6 modern awards

As the Australian economy continues to evolve into a ‘24/7’ service model, it has been argued that the system of penalty rates no longer reflects the reality of working arrangements in many industries.

How the recent amendments to Building and Construction Industry Legislation and Code will affect you

Recently, important changes to the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (Cth) were passed by federal Parliament, along with amendments to the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016.

Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review: Q4 2016

To help you stay up to date with employment-related legal developments, Corrs contributes to the “Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review”, a publication covering employment-related legal developments across Asia.

Why right of entry for safety reasons is not so easy

In this article, we analyse CFMEU (NSW Branch) v Acciona Infrastructure Australia Pty Ltd and Ferrovial Agroman (Australia) Pty Ltd t/as the Pacifico Acciona Ferrovial Joint Venture [2017] NSWIRComm 1000 (17 January 2017).

‘A Tragedy Waiting to Happen’: Record OHS fine confirms why risk assessments are key

A tragic recent case in which a transport company was fined a record amount for breaching its OHS duties confirms that safety and legal compliance requires competent risk assessments and a timely response to their outcomes.

Swearing in the workplace: Where should you draw the line?

Is swearing ever appropriate in the workplace? Six recent cases suggest that the line between what is and is not appropriate is becoming increasingly blurred.

What could the new Whistleblower regime look like and how will it affect your organisation?

How will changes to the whistleblower regime affect your day-to-day business operations, risk management and compliance procedures?

What the return of the ABCC means for you

The Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 became law on 1 December 2016, introducing significant changes and a more empowered regulator.

FWO cracks down on franchisors and franchisees for breaches of Australian workplace laws

Two recent inquiries by the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Senate Committee have placed both franchisors and franchisees on notice about the serious consequences of non-compliance with workplace laws.

Senate Passes The ABCC Bill: The ABCC Is Back In Business

This morning, the Turnbull Government finally secured passage of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill (ABCC Bill) by the Senate.

Registered Organisations Bill passed into law – with unexpected whistleblower protections

On 22 November, the Turnbull Government finally secured passage of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Bill 2014 (RO Bill) by federal Parliament.

Queensland’s Industrial Reform Ramps Up

The Queensland Finance and Administration Parliamentary Committee has reported to Parliament on its review of the industrial reforms proposed by the State Government in the Industrial Relations Bill 2016 (Qld).

Leadership Series: The 21st Century Workplace - Part 4

The Leadership Video Series profiles Australian IR, HR and Safety leaders discussing key issues facing 21st century workplaces. Each video aims to connect our clients to the latest thinking on issues surrounding the future of work.

How do the Information Privacy Principles Apply During a Social Media Misconduct Investigation?

The Supreme Court of Victoria has clarified the application of the Information Privacy Principles to an investigation of employee misconduct on Facebook in Jurecek v Director, Transport Safety Victoria [2016] VSC 285 (11 October 2016).

How to recognise when industrial action is (and isn’t) occurring

The concept of ‘industrial action’ plays a crucial role in the bargaining regime under the Fair Work Act 2009, and it is therefore very important that employers are able to recognise when it is – and isn’t – occurring.

Mental Illness and Workplace Disciplinary Law: The 6 Golden Rules

How does a business ensure it is legally compliant when dealing with a worker who suffers (or may suffer) from mental illness? And most importantly, how can it ensure that it does not cause harm to anyone when applying disciplinary processes?

FWC: Enterprise bargaining requires employers to “enter into the theatre of the absurd”

The Fair Work Commission’s recent Full Bench majority decision in Uniline Australia Limited [2016] has yet again made it clear that they will adopt a strict approach to technical deficiencies when employers issue an NEER.

Competitive Workplaces in a Changing World

Seeking more competitive workplaces in our rapidly changing world is a part of a broader national challenge, one that has been a key driver of Australian public policy for decades: we have to be competitive in a global market.

High Court Invalidates Federal Law Exempting Offshore Resource Activities from Visa Requirements

Following the High Court’s decision in Maritime Union of Australia v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2016], employers in the offshore oil and gas sector will now have to ensure foreign workers have valid visas.

Risky Business: Six steps for preventing and managing sexual harassment in the workplace

Liability for sexual harassment is an increasing risk for employers and managers. Taking these six practical steps will help your business prevent and manage sexual harassment effectively.

Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review: Q2 2016

In our chapter this quarter, we cover key developments in Australia during the 2nd quarter of 2016.

My Start Up is Grown Up – Now what about the Humans? Ten things you need to know

Start Ups often get bigger by refusing to play by the rulebook. But as they grow, all kinds of legal considerations come into focus.

Even Matildas need childcare: An analysis of Garriock v Football Federation Australia

As the Matildas compete at the Rio Olympics, we revisit a recent decision rejecting an indirect discrimination claim by former midfielder, Heather Garriock.

Workplace Mid-Year Review – 2016

The Corrs Workplace Relations team is pleased to present our third annual review of the Australian employment, workplace and safety landscape.

PAY BACK – employer undertakes to reimburse employees more than $2 million in underpayments

A recent enforceable undertaking affirms the importance of correctly calculating employee entitlements under modern awards.

The Coles Agreement decision and what it means for enterprise bargaining

A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission refused to approve an enterprise agreement covering Coles Supermarkets. We examine the decision, its fallout and the lessons for employers to ensure that agreements pass the ‘better off overall test’.

Teaching old dogs new tricks: The Fair Work Commission’s New Approaches program

Under the Fair Work Commission (FWC) New Approaches program, employers can now seek assistance from the FWC to develop a ‘new approach’ to bargaining, implementing change and resolving workplace conflict.

Stricter laws for franchisors? Responses to the 7-Eleven wage scandal

We examine the FWO’s investigation of 7-Eleven and possible regulatory responses to the recent wage scandal, and ask: how can franchisors prepare for stricter workplace laws?

First conviction for failing to 'co-operate, consult and co-ordinate' under Model WHS Laws

The decision in Boland v Trainee and Apprentice Placement Service Inc [2016] SAIRC 14 is the first conviction for breach of the concurrent duty holder consultation duty under model WHS laws.

La Trobe University Academic’s Suspension again Highlights Social Media Perils for Employees

La Trobe University’s suspension of Roz Ward for a controversial Facebook post again raises the question: to what extent can employers exercise control over the social media activity of their employees?

When Employees Leave: What Employers in Asia/Pacific Need to Know about Protecting Company Rights and Confidential Information

Corrs Workplace Relations & Safety lead partner John Tuck has contributed the Australian chapter in this new Employment Law Alliance publication.

Right of casuals to make enterprise agreements clarified

In this In Brief we examine the decision in McDermott Australia Pty Ltd v AWU & AMWU [2016] FWCFC 2222. The decision clarifies that casual employees can be included in the vote on an enterprise agreement.

The long arm of adverse action: independent investigations and performance reviews

We examine the recent decision in Perez v Northern Territory Department of Correctional Services [2016] FCA 476, which highlights the importance for employers of handling workplace investigations and performance reviews carefully.

Workplace Bullying – A Guide for SMEs and Start-Ups

SMEs and start-ups face particular challenges in managing people. One of the key employment law issues is workplace bullying. We explain the legal risks in this area and how to avoid bullying claims.

Representation Notices: Get Them Right, Or Start Bargaining All Over Again

We examine several cases where employers have tripped up on the requirements for issuing representation notices at the start of bargaining – and provide some key tips for ‘getting it right’

Are your contractors paying award wages? It might be your problem if they’re not!

7-Eleven and other recent examples of worker exploitation highlight the need for businesses to ask: what is going on in our own supply chain?

Asia Employment Law: Quarterly Review: Q1 2016

In this chapter we cover key developments in Australia in the 1st Quarter 2016.

Knock Knock, Who’s There? – What not to do when union officials seek entry to your worksite

We review the recent decision in Bragdon v Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate [2016] FCAFC 64. The case demonstrates the risks of letting union officials on site, without a statutory right.

A Regional Guide to Background Checks – Asia

Background checks have become a critical part of the recruitment process in many countries. Employers with a global presence often seek to harmonise recruitment policies across different jurisdictions. Addressing the various restrictions and regula

The ABCC bill is about fairness and the rule of law

Reinstating the ABCC is about making sure that the CFMEU obeys the law as it is, not what the union thinks it ought to be.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory – lessons from recent unfair dismissal decisions

Three recent FWC decisions remind employers that although there may a valid reason to dismiss of an employee, other factors can lead to a finding of unfairness.

What’s Up Doc? A practical guide to directing employees to undergo medical assessments

In this article, we provides some practical tips on when and how an employer can lawfully direct an employee to undergo a medical assessment.

APRA releases further consultation package on Level 3 Group Framework

APRA has released for consultation clarification to the governance and risk management components of the framework for supervision of Level 3 groups

Potential introduction of Project Bank Accounts in Queensland

In December 2015, the Queensland Government issued a Security of Payment discussion paper seeking industry feedback on ways to improve security of payment for subcontractors. One of the proposals flagged for consideration is the use of project bank

Conflicts management practices under ASIC microscope

ASIC has released a new report urging all AFS licensees to review their own conflicts management practices following an extensive review of vertically integrated businesses in the funds management industry.

Legal Professional Privilege – Keeping Workplace ‘Laundry’ Private

In this In Brief, we look at recent cases where employees have demanded access to privileged workplace investigation reports; and discuss some practical tips to help employers keep their ‘business’ private.

The Parent Trap – Adverse Action, Parental Leave and Redundancy

In this article, we examine two recent decisions highlighting some of the legal risks for employers in managing employees on parental leave. We also outline some practical tips for employers to avoid the ‘parent trap’.

Bargaining and Industrial Action: “Do we really have to sit down with them? And when can we all cool off?”

Two recent decisions highlight that negotiating parties can hold meetings by teleconference or video; and strong evidence will be required for an employer’s application to end protected industrial action to allow a “cooling off” period.

Reports of the Productivity Commission and Trade Unions Royal Commission will set the Workplace Reform Agenda in 2016

The pre-election debate over workplace reform will be dominated by the Government’s response to reports from the Productivity Commission and the TURC. We take a look at the major issues in the year ahead.

Employers Beware: Sexual Harassment Damages Exceed $330,000 in Recent VCAT Ruling

The decision in Collins v Smith (Human Rights) [2015] VCAT 1992, in which a complainant received over $330,000 in damages for sexual harassment, reminds employers of the need to take proactive steps to ensure a bullying/harassment-free workplace.

Promoting fair work practices in franchisees

Since the new Franchising Code of Conduct came into effect earlier this year, there has been an increased focus on franchise issues. This article explores one important issue in this regard – the role of franchisors in promoting fair work practices

Binding ‘aspirational’ statements in enterprise agreements

We examine the decision in NTEU v La Trobe University [2015] FCAFC 142, which again highlights the potentially binding consequences of aspirational provisions in enterprise agreements.

ACCC Clears Free to Air and Pay TV Tie Up: What’s next?

The ACCC and ACMA have recently cleared a tie up between FOXTEL and Ten as momentum builds for media ownership laws to be updated.

General protections: What’s next for employers?

In this In Brief, we examine the Federal Court decision in National Tertiary Education Industry Union v Swinburne University of Technology (No 2) [2015] FCA 1080 and consider its broader implications.

Federal Court upholds implied contractual right to require medical evidence

In a recent decision the Court held that Qantas had an implied contractual right to seek detailed medical information from a pilot who had been on long-term personal/sick leave.

FWC’s anti-bullying jurisdiction: Past conduct is relevant

In this In Brief, we examine the Fair Work Commission Full Bench’s decision in Application by Kathleen McInnes [2014] FWCFB 1440 (6 March 2014).

Government commences Fair Work Act reform

On 27 February 2014, the Government introduced the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2014 into federal parliament.

Crackdown on unions using safety as a weapon - Proposed changes to Queensland WHS Act

The Queensland Government introduced the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 into State Parliament on 13 February 2014.

Who employs labour hire workers? Fair Work Commission rejects the concept of ‘joint employment'

In FP Group Pty Ltd v Tooheys Pty Ltd, a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission held that FP Group was the true employer of workers supplied by FP Group to Tooheys under a labour hire arrangement.

Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption

On 10 February 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

Consultation with employees - Why, what and when?

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

Back to the future - ABCC set to return under Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill

On 14 November 2013, the Abbott Government introduced the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 into Parliament.

Discharging the onus in adverse action claims - What employers can do in the post-Barclay environment

In a recent decision the Court held that the question whether an employer has taken adverse action for reasons prohibited under the Fair Work Act is answered by focusing on the decision maker’s actual reasons for making the decision.

Significant changes to Queensland workers’ compensation provisions: What it means for employers

On 29 October 2013 the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2003 (Qld) was passed.

Did you know that you need to update your asbestos management plan and asbestos register every 5 years?

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 specify how asbestos is to be managed in workplaces.

Federal Court imposes penalties on Victorian Government for Construction Code adverse action breaches - But where next for construction industry regulation?

In this In Brief, we examine Justice Bromberg’s decision as a prelude to considering a number of developments and likely future directions for construction industry regulation under the new Coalition federal government.

Coalition Government set to implement “Policy to Improve the Fair Work Laws”

Following its success in the 7 September federal election, the Liberal/National Coalition is now commencing to implement its industrial relations policy.

The ‘Trojan Horse’ - The (new) implied term of mutual trust and confidence in Australian contracts of employment

The employment relationship is characterised by a degree of trust and confidence. The recent decision Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Barker elevated this feature to a new level.

High Court finds provision of accommodation is not a “payment” that is prohibited during industrial action

In Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Mammoet Australia Pty Ltd, the Court held that the provision of on-site accommodation to employees during a period of protected industrial action was not a “payment” that was prohibited by the FWA.

What must a safety regulator tell you about the charges you are facing? The Queensland Court of Appeal considers the High Court decision in Kirk

In this In Brief, we consider the recent decision in NK Collins Industries Pty Ltd v The President of the Industrial Court of Queensland [2013] QCA 179.

Dispute resolution procedure binds employer to full bench error of law

Many employers might be surprised to learn that they can be bound by a decision of a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission that is made in error of law.

The Seacare Review Report: Will its recommendations be implemented?

In this In Brief, we discuss the proposed reforms to occupational health and safety regulation in the maritime industry.

Restraints of trade - Cautionary tales for former and future employers

Employers are increasingly relying on restraint of trade clauses to protect their businesses when former employees begin working for a competitor.

Allseas amendments to Migration Act to limit international workers in offshore oil and gas industry

The inconsistencies created by the Migration Act’s application to the offshore resources industry has been a contentious issue for some time.

Legislation to change the 457 visa program requirements enacted

The Migration Amendment Act 2013 was introduced to enhance the government’s ability to deter alleged sponsorship behaviour which was inconsistent with the policy intent of the subclass 457 visa program.

Fair Work Act Amendments passed by parliament, with delayed start-up for anti-bullying provisions

Federal Parliament recently passed the Fair Work Amendment Act 2013 (Cth). This legislation implements a number of 2012 Fair Work Act Review further recommendations and several policy proposals.

Can employers absorb superannuation guarantee increases?

Amendments to the superannuation guarantee legislation increasing the guarantee charge from 9-12% by the FY 2019-2020. In this In Brief, we examine the impact this is likely to have on existing and future employment contracts.

Safety, something that you ought to know about...

We examine a prosecution that WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch described as one that “illustrates that directors have an obligation to directly intervene if necessary in situations where unsafe work practices are taking place”.

Federal Court rules on the interaction between the Victorian Construction Code and implementation guidelines and the adverse action provisions

Keenly anticipated, CFMEU has successfully challenged a key aspect of State Government industrial regulations in the building and construction industry.

Coalition releases “Policy to Improve the Fair Work Laws”

On 9 May 2013, the Coalition released its industrial relations policy for the federal election to be held on 14 September.

An uncertain safety risk can justify employees’ refusal to work - The safety exception to industrial action

Unions and employees commonly organise and take industrial action against an employer about safety issues.

NSW joins standoff over building and construction industry guidelines

On 22 March 2013, the New South Wales Government released the Implementation Guidelines to the New South Wales Code of Practice for Procurement: Building and Construction.

Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 introduced into parliament

On 21 March 2013, the Government introduced the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 (Amendment Bill) into federal Parliament.

When does the winner take all? Costs orders in industrial litigation

In this In Brief, we examine the Full Federal Court decision in Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate.

Government announces changes on greenfields agreements, arbitration & right of entry - But still thin on detail

Workplace Relations Minister, the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, has announced further details of the Government’s proposed amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 dealing with greenfields agreements and union right of entry.

What is an “arrangement” for purposes of a transfer of business?

A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has recently clarified what constitutes an “arrangement” between an old and a new employer for purposes of determining whether there has been a transfer of business.

Government announces workplace changes for a modern workforce

Emphasising the importance of workplace relations policy, the Government recently made a series of announcements about proposed legislative changes to promote family-friendly workplaces and address workplace bullying.

2012 Workplace Relations Review and looking ahead at 2013

This In Brief provides a summary of the major workplace relations developments in 2012, and an overview of the key issues that employers will need to consider in 2013.

New national Building Code issued and given legislative backing

On 25 January 2013, Bill Shorten MP issued a new code of practice for the building and construction industry. The Building Code 2013 was made as a legislative instrument, replacing the National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry.

Legislation update: Transfer of business changes and fair entitlements guarantee

Two significant pieces of legislation passed by federal Parliament took effect in late 2012, the Fair Work Amendment Act 2012 and the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Act 2012.

Lessons for boards and senior management from the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy

Protecting the health and safety of workers is not a peripheral business activity. It is part and parcel of an organisation’s functions and should be embedded in an organisation’s strategies, policies and operations.

New gender equity legislation and proposed overhaul of Federal anti-discrimination laws

Employers need to be aware of two recent developments in equal opportunity law: the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Act 2012 (Cth), and an Exposure Draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012.

Fair Work Act changes passed by Parliament - What does this mean for employers?

On Wednesday 28 November 2012, Federal Parliament passed the Fair Work Amendment Act 2012 which implements a number of recommendations of the Fair Work Act Review Panel.

Christmas is coming...please take leave

Can employers require their employees to take paid annual leave or unpaid leave, to avoid the cost of paying employees for attending at work when productivity will be low?

Recent developments: Implied term of trust of confidence, and ‘productivity’ under the Fair Work Act

In Barker v Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Justice Besanko held that there exists in Australian law an implied term of mutual trust and confidence in a contract of employment.

Be careful who is left out - Scope clauses in enterprise agreements under close scrutiny

A recent decision has called into question the common practice of enterprise agreements made between an employer and a limited number of employees, but having the capacity to apply over time to much larger numbers of employees.

High Court re-establishes balance in adverse action cases - Overturns Barclay decision

The High Court today handed down its much anticipated decision in Board of Bendigo Regional Institute of Technical and Further Education v Barclay.

Fair Work Act review report

On 2 August 2012, the federal Government released the long-awaited Report of the independent panel which reviewed the operation and impact of the Fair Work Act 2009.

Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Act 2012

Schedule 1 of The Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Act 2012 (Cth) (New Act) has commenced today, 1 June 2012.

Changed requirements for hazardous chemicals and registration of plant in Queensland

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) is part of a national package of uniform work health and safety legislation. It repealed the Dangerous Goods Safety Management Act 2001 (Qld) and as of 1 January 2012 regulates dangerous goods in Queensland.

Farewell to the ABCC - Changes to regulation of the building and construction industry

On 21 March 2012, the Senate passed the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill 2011. The Bill will come into operation when it receives Royal Assent.