Many of my clients tell me that they just want to terminate the employment of a troublesome employee and they do not want the hassle of a long drawn out process they believe is required to ensure the employee cannot bring an unfair dismissal claim. I often hear the refrain that it is “impossible to terminate employees in Australia”.
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(Adcock v Blackmores Limited & Ors  FCCA 265) This case concerned an application by Mr Adcock, the former Commercial Manager (Asia) of Blackmores Limited (“Blackmores”) a publicly listed company which produces and sells a range of natural healthcare products, who sought compensation in excess of $140,000 on the basis that his employer dismissed him by refusing to recognise that his position was redundant and had repudiated his contract of employment by failing to pay him redundancy entitlements under an enterprise agreement.
22 Feb 2016
Change management and downsizing has the potential to present a melting pot of legal issues for employers, and there are many practical traps for organisations to consider in planning and executing redundancies especially in a tough economic environment.
12 Feb 2016
Without even realising it, we now accept that what would otherwise be a private conversation may in fact be recorded. Many of the day to day exchanges we have in society may be recorded for the benefit of record keeping, or simply for training, coaching and customer services purposes.
5 Feb 2016
Surveillance and monitoring devices are becoming increasingly popular in and around the workplace, but what is the law in regards to recording employees at work. Apart from having a digital receipt of what goes on in the workplace, there are several good reasons why employers invest in surveillance systems. However, there is legislation in place which limits the ability to monitor workers and, perhaps more importantly, to rely on surveillance in circumstances where an employee is suspected of some unlawful or improper conduct.
1 Feb 2016
(Butterworth v Independence Australia Services (Human Rights)  VCAT 2056) This case concerned the applicant, Maureen Butterworth, who worked at Independence Australia Services (“IAS”) in the position of Customer Service Officer. IAS is a not-for-profit organisation providing communicated-based services to people with disabilities.
22 Jan 2016
The distinction between an employment relationship and that of independent contractor is often vexed. However, the failure to properly characterize the relationship may lead to significant adverse consequences, including prosecution under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) for sham contracting. In this article we focus on the risks associated with prosecution for sham contracting.
18 Jan 2016
Directors denied cover from D&O insurance policy – claim arising from explanatory memorandum in corporate merger
Group proceedings were brought concerning alleged incorrect information in an explanatory memorandum sent to shareholders prior to a merger under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). When the defendant company brought contribution proceedings against the directors of its subsidiary company (on the basis that they had been involved in preparation of the explanatory memorandum), those directors found themselves without directors and officers (D&O) insurance cover.
13 Jan 2016
The Australian data protection landscape is set to become even more complicated. As well as existing and proposed Australian requirements, Australian entities that hold personal data relating to European residents will soon be subject to the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will have extra-territorial effect.
22 Dec 2015
I have often been asked whether an employer can terminate an employee’s employment for serious misconduct, if the employee has either resigned and is working out their notice, or they have been given notice of termination, and are working out the notice. The answer to this question depends on whether the contract of employment comes to an end when notice is given or when the notice period expires.
11 Dec 2015