HR News

Human Resources News

15 August 2018

The "Weinstein Clause": what is it? Could it be coming to Australia?

The disturbing revelations about Harvey Weinstein and other entertainment luminaries have put sexual harassment firmly on the agenda, emboldening victims to come forward to share experiences and pursue claims, leading to the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements internationally, and #NowAustralia locally. The latest consequence of the Weinstein revelations and the #MeToo movement is the "Weinstein Clause". Bloomberg recently reported that such clauses, which relate to the behaviour of senior management of a company, are now regularly being included in business sale agreements.
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The often overlooked cost benefits of flexible employment

Flexible working has long been seen as a solid strategy for promoting the participation of women in the corporate sector. The basic thinking goes that if you end - or at least relax - the strict start and finishing times of the standard working day, while offering options for staff to take time out for personal reasons, then you'll see more women with caring responsibilities able to pursue and take up roles within these organisations.
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Family and Domestic Violence Leave: Award Changes Came Into Effect 1 August!

Changes to all modern awards, which have introduced provisions relating to family and domestic violence leave, came into effect from 1 August 2018. This change has come about due to the 4 yearly review of modern awards.
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Your colleagues are not dinosaurs - it's workplace routines that make innovation difficult

In many sectors, the disruptive changes now occurring are so major that they have been described as the "fourth industrial revolution". In response, organisations are focusing on innovation - hackathons, innovation labs and design jams are popular. Unfortunately, many innovations do not make it through to implementation. Many explanations are offered. One is change resistance, but this is oversimplified and usually inaccurate. A more nuanced view is that implementing innovations is much harder than thinking them up in the first place.
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Gender differences at work: relishing competence or seeking a challenge?

In Oceans 8, when Debbie Ocean is asked why she felt the need to organise a multi-million-dollar jewellery heist, she replies: "Because it's what I'm good at." Within the workplace, deriving genuine enjoyment from being skilled at something, and using those skills and abilities to succeed, is a very rewarding experience. This feeling, along with the jewels, is what Debbie was after.
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Ambulance Tasmania under fire from former paramedic over PTSD case handling

A former paramedic with post traumatic stress disorder says Ambulance Tasmania is failing in its duty to protect the mental health of its staff. Nick O'Brien had been a paramedic for 13 years when he was assaulted by a male patient while working the night shift in Hobart's northern suburbs in October 2015. An intoxicated man hit him so hard that it knocked out his four front teeth which were fitted with dental crowns, killing the roots of the existing teeth.
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Our workplaces are filthy and it's costing us all

The typical office desk is home to more than 10 million bacteria, 400 times more than a toilet seat. Other studies have revealed people don't wash their hands, and surfaces from taps to elevator buttons are "officially dirty". Beyond the health concerns, this has an impact on our psyche. Humans have an inbuilt disgust response to dirty environments. A clean workplace has also been shown to reduce sick days and increase productivity.
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The Fair Work Ombudsman: Expanded statutory powers, blitzes and higher penalties

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO)'s proactive approach in its role of monitoring the 2.24 million active businesses in Australia has caught out a myriad of employers whose employment practices contravene the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). Expanded statutory powers of Fair Work Inspectors are being exercised to investigate, unannounced, employment practices of a wide-ranging number of workplaces and industries. In this context, and with increased scope for liability under the FW Act, now more than ever it is critical that those potentially within the FWO's sights review and assess governance structures to ensure they adequately address, and ensure compliance with, obligations arising under the FW Act.
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Men Who Advocate for Others in the Workplace Face Backlash

Back in March, a group of Hollywood elites signed an open letter asking men to take more responsibility for creating workplaces that are free of sexism. The letter was in response to the #MeToo movement that spurred people across the world to use social media to bring attention to the prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse. The letter signers pledged to act as advocates for victims and to speak out openly against sexism, thereby launching #AskMoreofHim, a movement that highlights the role that men play in preventing gender-based violence.
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CFMEU fined more than $500,000 by Federal Court for breaches of Fair Work Act

Three construction officials who deliberately broke workplace laws at sites in Queensland and Victoria have cost their union close to $577,000 in fines, in what the Federal Court has described as "disgraceful and shameful" behaviour.
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8 August 2018

Meat inspector was fairly dismissed for poor performance

A meat inspector who failed to detect and remove contamination from carcasses and generally failed to follow instructions was found to have been fairly dismissed. Deputy President Hamilton in the Fair Work Commission found in favour of the employer after hearing evidence of a number of serious breaches by the applicant in relation to his assigned duties as a meat inspector.
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Restaurant serves up unsatisfactory agreement

The Fair Work Commission has rejected a restaurant's proposed single enterprise agreement, despite the employer issuing several undertakings in its attempt to have the agreement approved.
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Award Employees entitlement to Family and Domestic Violence Leave has commenced

The model Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) Leave terms are incorporated into all Modern Awards as of 1 August 2018. This means that Award covered employees may take unpaid leave to deal with FDV matters from 1 August 2018. What is the FDV entitlement?
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Sexually inappropriate texts to co-workers a valid reason for dismissal: Co-workers not required to tell employee to stop

Sexual harassment in the workplace is currently a prevalent topic. The #MeToo campaign and the Human Rights Commission launch of a year-long harassment inquiry has brought harassment onto the centre stage. A recent case in the Fair Work Commission, Colin Ramon Reguero-Puente v City of Rockingham, considered the misconduct of an employee relating to sexually inappropriate communications with co-workers, and whether employees had to expressly tell someone to stop this conduct for it to constitute misconduct.
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Employee dismissed based on conflicting medical evidence: Commission required to make findings on employee's capacity to work

In a recent case, CSL Limited T/A CSL Behring v Chris Papaioannou, the Fair Work Commission Full Bench found that giving the final say to employers about an employee's capacity to work when there was conflicting medical evidence was "plainly wrong". The decision by the Full Bench came out of an appeal by an employer who challenged the findings of Commissioner Ryan. Commissioner Ryan found the dismissal of an employee was harsh and the employee should be reinstated. The employee was dismissed for allegedly being unable to perform the inherent requirements of his position.
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Why part-time work is the solution to our rapidly changing workforce

The UN recently told Australia it needs to up women's workforce participation, suggesting that flexible work should be enshrined in the Flexible Work Act. Brilliant! But just to be clear, if flexible work is going to have this effect, it needs to include fractional (and part-time) work. Why? Because full-time work, no matter how flexible, simply excludes huge groups of people - and most of them happen to be women.
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Flexible working becoming the norm

For those of us with workplace flexibility, it's tempting to imagine that the old-school nine-to-five working day is a relic of the 20th century. And for those whose workplaces cleave to more traditional practices, it's easy to dismiss such a notion as the feverish imagination of a pampered journalist.
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Why do so many jobs feel meaningless? Because they are

As companies' profit reporting season is upon us, it's worth asking: Does business create value these days the way it once did? In the US, one sign it doesn't is a significant decline in the formation rate of firms over the past few decades. Economists Peter Orszag and Jason Furman have argued that investment and innovation have taken a backseat to profits derived from economic rents. Political factors also increasingly appear to play a major role in driving corporate profits, as new regulations help incumbent firms, another strike against economic efficiency.
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How to improve the appeal of franchising for women

The franchise model should represent a business model of choice for women. The format has a lower risk profile, as it offers a level of perceived reassurance that the concept has been tested in the marketplace. It also minimises some of the historical disadvantages women face when entering self-employment.
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How clean is your desk? The unwelcome reality of office hygiene

If you work in an office, the chances are there are some colleagues you would rather sit next to than others. But we're not just talking personality likes or dislikes here - what can also be a factor is how clean they keep their desk. The average office desk is said to contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat - meaning that many office workers could be at risk of sickness due to dirty desks.
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The Fair Work Ombudsman: Expanded statutory powers, blitzes and higher penalties

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO)'s proactive approach in its role of monitoring the 2.24 million active businesses in Australia has caught out a myriad of employers whose employment practices contravene the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). Expanded statutory powers of Fair Work Inspectors are being exercised to investigate, unannounced, employment practices of a wide-ranging number of workplaces and industries. In this context, and with increased scope for liability under the FW Act, now more than ever it is critical that those potentially within the FWO's sights review and assess governance structures to ensure they adequately address, and ensure compliance with, obligations arising under the FW Act.
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Cricket Australia's sacking of Angela Williamson reveals perils of 'opinion creep'

Cricket Australia's dismissal of a top Tasmanian cricketing official for "making offensive comments" has received enormous media attention in Australia and overseas. In its letter to terminate the employment of public policy and government relations manager Angela Williamson, Cricket Australia cites her social media criticism of the state government's abortion and environmental policies.
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1 August 2018

New domestic violence law - how will this affect employment relationships?

The Domestic Violence - Victim Protections Bill was passed into law this week and amends the Employment Relations Act 2000, the Holidays Act 2003 and the Human Rights Act 1993. The changes come into effect on 1 April 2019 and enable victims of domestic violence to request a short-term (two months or less) variation to their employment arrangements for the purposes of dealing with the effects of being subject to domestic violence.
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Preparation for single touch payroll in Australia

Single touch payroll is effective starting from 1 July 2018 and here's what employers need to know to comply with the new reporting standard in Australia. All Australian substantial companies employing 20 employees or more are required to change the way salary and wage information are reported to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) from 1 July 2018. This policy was introduced in 1 July 2017 as part of the government's Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016.
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How to dismiss an employee - The seven key steps

Terminating someone's employment can be a challenging task for business owners and managers. A dismissal of an employee is not only personally difficult, but it can create potential legal implications if not done correctly. In our experience, one of the major concerns for employers is the prospect of litigation following an employee dismissal. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop employees from bringing claims if they are aggrieved by a dismissal, even if those claims lack merit.
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Fair Work Commission pledges better systems for SMEs in wake of Billson report, but business leaders say "much more" to be done

The Fair Work Commission has responded to former Small Business Minister Bruce Billson's report into unfair dismissal changes for SMEs by ignoring the main recommendation for a case triaging system but agreeing to a number of simplification and information access initiatives aimed at smaller players.
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The top sources of Australian job insecurity don't include robots

Not a week goes by without a news story (or a few) about people losing their jobs to robots, or the potential effects of a rapidly changing labour market. We are told repeatedly about how many jobs are going to be lost - both unskilled and skilled jobs are predicted to disappear. These risks are no doubt real, if uncertain in their magnitude. But these prognoses are largely the work of academics and economic forecasters. So, how do Australians feel about their job prospects in an age of automation?
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CBS says it is investigating misconduct allegations v CEO Leslie Moonves

New York | US broadcasting and media company CBS said it was investigating allegations of personal misconduct by its chief executive Leslie Moonves ahead of an upcoming New Yorker magazine article that is expected to detail the claims. CBS owns Network Ten in Australia.
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Promoting Workplace Compliance in Your Franchise Network

Whilst franchisors are indeed required to have a certain level of oversight with regard to the professional conduct of their franchisees, many franchisors may feel that it is unlikely that they will be held liable for actions taken by their franchisees.
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Childcare shake-up neglects family day care workers, but we can learn from garment workers' experience

The federal government has rolled out new Child Care Subsidy arrangements based on parents' earnings. Recent policy changes emphasise the need for quality childcare. To this end, policy has promoted minimum educational qualifications for childcare workers and increased reliance on market principles.
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Call for inquiry into sacking of Cricket Australia staffer

An Upper House Tasmanian MLC wants an inquiry into any role the Tasmanian Government played in Cricket Australia's sacking of Angela Williamson, who criticised the lack of abortion services in the state.
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Safety notices: Is the regulator required to show their hand?

An employer who chose not to comply with a Notice to Produce document issued by a safety regulator in Victoria has lost their final appeal to overturn a $25,000 fine. In a recent decision handed down by the Victorian Court of Appeal, the Court rejected the employer's argument that the statutory notice it was issued pursuant to section 9(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (the Act) was invalid, with the Court finding that the notice did not need to specify the provision or provisions of the Act that the employer was suspected of having breached.
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Blurring of professional and personal relationship prevents stop bullying order

A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (Commission) has examined the blurred lines between professional and personal relationships within the workplace. The Commission rejected an employee's claim that her managing director bullied her through comments about her appearance, personal life, and sick leave.
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25 July 2018

Why method of dismissal needs to be reviewed by the Commission

According to a recent case of Ms Anita Cachia v Scobel Pty Ltd (2018) FWC 2648, the Fair Work Commission confirmed that employees should only be dismissed by phone, text or email in "rare circumstances". In all other instances, the decision to dismiss an employee should be communicated in person. This decision is hugely surprising given that we are in 2018; an age encompassed by an abundance of technological devices providing us with various means of communication.
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What's in a Relationship? Legal Perspectives on Office romances

Managing office romances is a difficult task, especially where the employees work together. However, there are two decisions in unfair dismissal cases which have upheld the dismissal of employees who were in a relationship with subordinates. In both cases, the Commission recognised that in those situations the employees had a duty to disclose the relationship to their employer, as the relationship gave rise to a conflict of interest.
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Why Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma avoided hiring high achievers

Sometimes the academic high achiever, or even the candidate with the best work experience, isn't the right person for the job. At least, that was Jack Ma's attitude to hiring in the early days of e-commerce giant Alibaba. In the book Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built, an excerpt of which was published in Tech in Asia, author Duncan Clark, an entrepreneur and expert on entrepreneurship in China, quotes Ma as saying he has no interest in candidates with business qualifications.
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'Delusional belief': how we think about our careers could be completely wrong

Choosing a career can be a daunting proposition. But part of the reason may be that we're looking at career paths the wrong way. That's what a growing number of experts are saying. In an article in the Harvard Business Review last week, the psychology researcher Tania Luna and the Weight Watchers International executive Jordan Cohen said modern employees are suffering from their belief in the "career myth," what they describe as "a delusional belief in the outdated idea of linear career progression."
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New Deliveroo contract shifts liability for undelivered food to riders

Food delivery service Deliveroo has given workers a week to sign a new contract that would make them liable for any food that is not delivered, even if it is not their fault. It comes days after Deliveroo told a number of workers it couldn't find their current agreements, and warned them their accounts would be suspended if they didn't sign a new agreement or submit a copy of their existing contract.
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Forty-five hours a week in meetings: Who wants to be a CEO?

What do chief executive officers do? They go to meetings, mainly. When not in meetings, they spend a lot of time on email. So CEOs are just like other people? (Other people with office jobs, at least.) Not quite. There are some areas where the 27 CEOs whose days were tracked for three months for a study just published in the Harvard Business Review stand out from regular folks.
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Sexual harassment: in the spotlight

Sexual harassment is against the law, and it has been for quite some time. Yet, such behaviour is still happening in our workplaces today. Statistics reveal that one in five women say they have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. About one in ten women say that they have seen such behaviour. It begs the question, why is sexual harassment still prevalent in 2018?
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Protecting Confidential Information: Termination Day

This article is the final piece in a three part series of blogs focussed on how organisations can most effectively protect themselves against employees stealing confidential information. Following on from our second blog in the series, which focussed on how to effectively protect your company's confidential information from an employee during their notice period up until their termination, this blog looks at common mistakes employers make when exiting an employee, and what to do in the event that a former employee has been found to have stolen company data, or is working in breach of a restraint of trade.
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Working four-day weeks for five days' pay? Research shows it pays off

Employees at a New Zealand company behind an innovative trial of a four-day working week have declared it a resounding success, with 78% saying they were better able to manage their work-life balance. Perpetual Guardian, which manages trusts and wills, released their findings from the trial, which was prompted by research that suggests modern workers are only productive for about three hours in a working day.
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Women are dominating employment growth, but what sort of jobs are we talking about?

One of the biggest transformations we have seen in advanced economies is the increased participation of women in the paid workforce. In recent Australian labour force trends, female participation is growing at nine times the rate of men's. Women are dominating both full and part-time employment growth in Australia.
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Yet Another Man Behaving Badly - Sending Inappropriate Emails and Text Messages

A former City of Rockingham (City) employee was found to have been fairly dismissed from his employment as a senior surveyor, after the Fair Work Commission (FWC) found he had sent inappropriate emails and text messages to a number of city employees. In September 2017, two City employees made complaints that Mr Reguero-Puente had been sending them unwelcome and unsolicited emails and text messages after hours and on weekends.
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Parents of workplace accident victim back push for industrial manslaughter laws

Dave and Janine Brownlee are still waiting for answers about why their son was crushed to death at work. Jack Brownlee was trapped for three hours after the trench he was working in collapsed beneath him at a Ballarat construction site in March.
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'Small town' culture preventing women from reporting sexual harassment, anti-discrimination commissioner says

Concerns workplace sexual harassment complaints will not be kept confidential in small towns is part of the reason reports have not increased in the Northern Territory, according to the NT anti-discrimination commissioner. The rise of the #MeToo movement has seen an increase in public outings of sexual harassment, commissioner Sally Seivers said.
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18 July 2018

Uber HR exec quits after racial furore

Uber’s chief people officer has suddenly resigned from the role, following allegations she mishandled allegations of racial discrimination. Liane Hornsey resigned in an email to staff on Tuesday, after an investigation into accusations from anonymous whistleblowers that the US-based executive had systematically dismissed internal complaints of racial discrimination. Ms Hornsey was head of human resources at the ride sharing giant and one of the firm’s top spokespeople on diversity and discrimination issues.
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Bill Shorten pledge to lift pay for labour hire workers

A Shorten Labor government would review the definition of “casual” work and will set an objective test for deciding when a worker is a “casual”. Labor has already said it will also introduce a national labour hire licensing scheme to set a floor for standards and to protect workers from exploitation. It will require all labour hire companies to be licensed.
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Militant Michele O’Neil strikes a tough line as ACTU president

New ACTU president Michele O’Neil has backed union militancy, calling for greater strike rights and renewing her criticism of Labor’s asylum-seeker policy. Along with re-elected ACTU secretary Sally McManus, Ms O’Neil, the long-time left-wing textile workers union leader, will aggressively campaign for federal Labor to back the union movement’s push for significant changes to the workplace laws.
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BOM staff still sneaking in pleas for help in weather forecasts as pay dispute drags on

Workplace relations at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) are cold and the forecast is for increasing frost. BOM staff have stepped up their campaign in protracted pay negotiations, hijacking the weather bureau's website and media appearances with messages about the dispute.
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WA Jobs growth dominated by part-time

Just under 60 per cent of all jobs created across the country over the past year have been full-time, with an increasing share of those going to older workers. Across all age groups women are the least likely to get a full-time job. The WA economy has been particularly affected by the surge in part-time work. Over the past year, three out of four jobs created in the State have been part-time. Seventy-five per cent of new jobs, full and part-time, have been created only in the past three months.
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Most Australian workplaces are failing to achieve diversity: study

Many workplaces across Australia are taking the wrong approach to diversity and inclusion across all levels of the organisations, as simple quotas and training modules fall short, a new study has found.
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A new skills shortage looms in Western Australia as fears of automation turns workers away

Those in the recruitment industry believe a fear of automation is having a significant impact on job choices and contributing to a skills shortage in WA.
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Australia’s Top Analytics Leaders Revealed. Get Out Your Chequebooks

They are now officially 25 of Australia’s most in-demand professionals. IAPA, the peak body for analytics professionals in Australia, has revealed what is describes as ten of the country’s top 25 analytics leaders as part of its IAPA Top 25 Analytics Leaders program. At a time when data science is one of the countries most in-demand business skills, HR managers everywhere will be firing up their LinkedIn dashboard.
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Deliveroo under fire as unions ramp up fair work campaign

Deliveroo is under fire for mistreating its workers after it lost an undisclosed number of its riders' contracts and threatened to suspend others from work.
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Everyone lies in their job application .... so can I fire them?

There is a common perception that most people lie in their résumés and job applications. Whether it be the exaggerating the seniority of a role, extending the length of time you actually worked in a particular position or describing a particular epoch as "time spent travelling" to avoid disclosing a short but ill-fated period of employment. So what rights does an employer have when it discovers that Tom never completed his degree; that Dick's referee is in fact his Mum; or that Harry was Assistant to the Regional Manager rather than Assistant Regional Manager?
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Changes To Important Employment-Related Financial Thresholds 2018

A number of employment-related monetary thresholds are indexed annually on 1 July.
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11 July 2018

How Australian companies can minimise World Cup-related sickies

The overwhelming majority (87%) of HR managers say it is likely that at least one of their employees will call in sick the day after a major sporting event, with almost a quarter (22%) calling it “very likely”. It’s inevitable a certain percentage of staff will chuck a sickie after a big World Cup game. But there is a simple way to deal with it ...
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Second #MeToo letter to accounting firm demands more action

A company partner having a consensual extramarital affair with another partner was named and shamed in a second anonymous letter sent to the most senior levels of the accounting firm
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I boarded a flight in Britain and when I landed the world had changed

The New York Times story exposing decades of sexual harassment and assault perpetrated by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein had broken. These allegations set off what can only be described as an avalanche, with women around the globe coming forward to tell their own stories of sexual harassment.
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The AHRC and criminal record discrimination: A toothless tiger

The recent AHRC report into discrimination in employment on the basis of criminal record, BE v Suncorp Group Ltd [2018] AusHRC 121, has garnered significant media attention and community debate. What it serves to highlight is that the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is a "toothless tiger" when it comes to discrimination on the basis of criminal record.
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Hair and beauty salon backpays workers $25,000 but avoid penalties after signing deal with workplace watchdog

A Sydney-based beauty and hair salon has avoided paying penalties by entering into an enforceable undertaking (EU) with Australia’s workplace watchdog after admitting to underpaying seven workers more than $25,000 and failing to issue them payslips.
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Cosmetics king hit with $100k underpayment, bullying claim

Make-up mogul Napoleon Perdis and his former right-hand man are at logger-heads in the Federal Court amid claims the latter was allegedly underpaid and loaded up with personal errands. Giovanni (John) Rosiello is suing his former employer for nearly $100,000 in unpaid bonuses and other outstanding contractual payments.
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Turnbull govt under pressure over blind recruiting for APS after Liberal Council vote

The party’s peak forum for debating federal issues has reportedly adopted the policy as a way to reinforce merit-based recruitment that neither favours Anglo-Saxon and male candidates, nor provides a boost to the number of women and ethnic minorities in the workforce.
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How businesses can prepare their contact centre for a bot/AI environment

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the rapid adoption of new trends and tools in the contact centre industry. As we enter what many call the fourth industrial revolution, one technology that has gained momentum globally is artificial intelligence.
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The workplace where dads and secondary carers get 14 weeks paid leave

Medibank has issued a challenge to corporate Australia with their policy offering 14 weeks paid leave to all parents, regardless of whether they’re the primary or secondary carer. That 14 weeks of paid leave far exceeds anything on offer for secondary parents from other large employers in Australia.
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Soft skills dying out as training budgets slashed

Skills shortages aren’t just limited to technical know-how, with a lack of training leading to a chronic shortage of soft skills in the marketplace. Ben Foote, CEO of the Australian Institute of Management, suggested that many businesses are overlooking soft skills in their training budgets, and in doing so are restricting their future growth potential.
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The PageUp Data breach is still resonating

A discussion thread on Australia's largest technology forum about the ongoing effects of the PageUp data breach continues with many comments from people saying they are recieving emails from multiple employers, some of whom they can't even recall applying to
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4 July 2018

Cost of the #MeToo movement has businesses scrambling to prevent sexual harassment

Dealing with sexual harassment can be a difficult, lengthy and unavoidable cost to companies. But as organisations become aware of more subtle forms of harassment, they also find secondary costs to their businesses.
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Australia needs 200,000 more jobs to thrive in digital economy

In order for Australia to take the lead in digital skills and employment, the nation requires the creation of an extra 200,000 jobs, a new report has revealed.
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When is a contractor not a contractor?

Mistaking an employee for a contractor can devastate any business, with fines of up to A$63,000 per breach.
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Amnesty for Employers – Superannuation Guarantee Update

A limited opportunity to correct compulsory superannuation errors before heavy-handed audit activity starts
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Redesigning policy and process for enhanced transparency and compliance with new laws

Whistleblowing is often seen as a risk for boards, committees, directors and the organisation's reputation. But with a sound whistleblowing infrastructure in place, whistleblowing brings an opportunity to better understand and manage culture, allowing to solve irregularities internally, before they become uncontrollable externally.
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Protecting Confidential Information: The Notice Period

Employment relationships are just like any other relationship: the only certainty is that they will eventually come to an end - and whether an employee resigns, or is terminated, the notice period can be a risky time for businesses. Departing employees tend to be looking forward to their next positions, thus their focus and priorities often shift from looking after their employer's interests, to taking care of their own.
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New national guidance material on work-related psychological health and safety

On 14 June 2018, Safe Work Australia released its much-anticipated national guidance material on work-related psychological health and safety.
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Employer Risk Management: Misleading and deceptive conduct in recruitment

Employers intent on winning over that candidate for a role regularly unwittingly expose themselves to litigation arising from misleading and deceptive conduct. Conduct in the specific course of recruitment which is likely to mislead or deceive is prohibited by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). It is punishable by penalties of up to $1.1 million for a body corporate and $220,000 for an individual.
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Staying classy – the new trend in employment litigation

The trend towards employment-related class action litigation is continuing with the recent news that workers at BHP’s Mount Arthur Coal Mine are commencing class action proceedings against BHP subsidiaries and their labour-hire contractors alleging underpayment and misclassification of workers. The claims are purportedly valued at more than $40 million. The development of plaintiff-friendly class action reforms across a number of Australian jurisdictions has seen an increase in class actions in recent years, particularly with the implementation of Part IVA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) and similar reforms in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
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Victorian Labour Hire Licensing Act Passed

On 20 June 2018, the Victorian Parliament passed legislation implementing labour hire licensing requirements, making Victoria the third state to do so following the introduction of similar laws in Queensland and South Australia.
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Sexual Harassment And Bullying – An Ongoing Challenge For The Modern Workplace

Australia has been alive to sexual and other express forms of discrimination since the mid-1980’s, with the establishment of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984 and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in 1986. Yet despite over thirty years of operation and practice, if the behaviours of senior business leaders (read top-tier lawyers), well known entertainers, churchman and politicians, to say nothing of the everyday conduct of many lower to middle management employees are to be factored in, it is clear that we are yet to learn the lessons. Given the impact on the bottom line, the question is, why have we been so utterly negligent in addressing the issue?
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An author has identified 5 categories of 'bullshit jobs' to be found in corporate Australia

Would anyone notice, or care, if your job didn’t exist anymore? At first glance, we can all come up with great reasons why we would be missed, including those uplifting jokes dropped during a coffee break. But are we really making a difference? Looking at the work done by others, most can quickly give examples of jobs that really didn’t add much to the smooth running of the business.
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27 June 2018

Queensland boss attacks “slovenly” and “toxic” employees in LinkedIn post

The chief executive of a beleaguered Queensland-based disability support charity has been criticised for reportedly abusing her employees on social media shortly after announcing the collapse of the organisation, prompting calls from experts for SME owners to be mindful of their own stress levels.
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Why do some job adverts put women off applying?

Words matter. And the way we use them in job adverts can dictate whether or not people bother to apply. This is a big problem if you're a business trying to recruit more women and ethnic minorities into your workforce. So can tech help remove these unconscious biases?
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Are personality tests like Myers-Briggs just corporate astrology?

Chances are you know your Myers-Briggs type too – or perhaps you’ve taken one of the hundreds of other personality tests on the market. You may have done a test as part of a job application, or for “development” purposes alongside team building exercises on a corporate “away-day”. But is personality testing a useful tool to better understanding yourself and others? Or is it just corporate astrology?
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World-first national inquiry into workplace sexual harassment

The Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins has announced a national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. “I am delighted to announce that the Australian Human Rights Commission will be undertaking this National Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, and I commend the Australian Government on their decision to fund this work,” Commissioner Jenkins said.
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Dressed for success? The last taboos of dressing for work

There was a time in her career when Dorothy Hisgrove remembers being told not to wear pant suits and what type of pantyhose to wear. Thankfully for the now human resources manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia, those days are over. In 2016 PwC scrapped its formal dress codes for employees. However, Ms Hisgrove still believes dressing for work can be more complex for women than men.
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Losing our way: How the cult of the KPI has damaged our moral compass

Why did they do it? That is the question that springs to mind when trying to explain systematically bad behaviour. It was asked when recently it emerged Commonwealth Bank staff were inappropriately setting up bank accounts for children. Victoria Police pondered the same thing when its officers were found to be inflating breath test bags themselves. Both problems were so widespread that individual staff could not reasonably be punished. There are many more examples both here and overseas not least exposed at the banking royal commission. A common element, say experts, is a"set and forget" approach to key performance indicators (KPIs).
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Providers told to put a greater focus on workforce planning

Residential aged care providers are not putting enough attention on strategic workforce management initiatives despite staff being the most expensive area of the business, an industry conference heard. Human resource consultancy Realise Performance analysed and compared workforces in the aged care sector and the broader market over a 12-month period. Recruiting and retaining the right staff, managing absenteeism and workforce planning continue to be major human resource challenges for the sector, said Realise Performance managing director Chris Westacott.
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Netflix's top spokesman Jonathan Friedland fired over use of racial term in meetings

A top Netflix executive has been sacked after he used the N-word in front of colleagues on more than one occasion. Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings sent an email to employees saying he had fired the company's top spokesman Jonathan Friedland for showing "unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity".
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Insights from the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey: Uneasy, pessimistic, and concerned

For younger workers, the gap is widening between what responsible companies should achieve and what businesses' actual priorities are. The good news, according to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey : Business leaders have an opportunity to turn things around—and win back millennials' loyalty.
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The time is ripe for a more activist approach to industrial relations

It is becoming harder to deny that without changes to our industrial relations system, low wage growth will remain locked in. After the fight over tax, this should be the main focus of the next election campaign given even the head of the Reserve Bank, Philip Lowe, concedes the evidence is “pretty compelling” that changes in industrial relations designed to bring greater flexibility and less centralisation have contributed to our current state of record low wages growth.
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New laws and penalties for WHS breaches in QLD

There are several aspects of the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (Qld) commence on 1 July 2018.
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#MeToo report sent anonymously to senior partners of leading consulting firm

The Australian Financial Review reports almost two dozen Australian senior partners of a leading accounting and consulting firm received a report from an anonymous source which outlined what the author or authors described as ongoing tolerance of inappropriate behaviour at the organisation. It outlined alleged partner conduct at the firm including sexual harassment, bullying and extramarital affairs. There was also mention of the burgeoning #MeToo movement as it described a "boy's club" culture within the firm, with the human resources complaints process seen as ineffective by female staff.
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20 June 2018

WorkCover warns employers not to attend medical appointments for injured workers

Bosses wanting to sit in on the medical appointments of injured workers have been given notice by the WA Government regulator they are not welcome.
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Sexual Harassment and Bullying - an Ongoing Challenge for the Modern Workplace

Australia has been alive to sexual and other express forms of discrimination since the mid-1980's, with the establishment of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984 and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in 1986. Yet despite over thirty years of operation and practice, if the behaviours of senior business leaders (read top-tier lawyers), well known entertainers, churchman and politicians, to say nothing of the everyday conduct of many lower to middle management employees are to be factored in, it is clear that we are yet to learn the lessons.
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A valid reason to dismiss is not always enough

Having a valid reason for dismissal was not enough to save two employers from being found to have unfairly dismissed their workers in two recent Fair Work Commission (Commission) cases.
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Mothers have little to show for extra days of work under new tax changes

The federal government's new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) starts from July 2, 2018. The government has also announced personal income tax cuts. But these policies still don't stop many women facing high effective marginal tax rates - as much as 95% for those in low-income households - on income from extra days worked. This is because the extra earnings interact with policies including income tax rates, the Medicare levy and losing family benefits, combined with the net cost of child care.
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Can an employee withdraw their resignation? Do you have to accept an employee's resignation for it to be valid?

When an employee notifies his / her employer that they wish to terminate their employment, their employment will automatically terminate when the relevant notice period expires. That is, it takes effect irrespective of the employer's acceptance or rejection of the notice. Further, if an employee gives notice of his /her intention to terminate their employment, and the employer opts to take advantage of an ability to make a payment to the employee in lieu of the employee working out the notice period (for example, if the relevant employment contract allows the employer to do this), such action by the employer can only be viewed as an acceptance of the resignation.
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Office relationships: managing the hidden dangers with workplace love

Office relationships and breakups provide much gossip around the water-cooler. As we have seen in recent years, it also provides fodder for the media. Office relationships and the fall out, have the capacity to detrimentally affect decision-making, morale and reputations. Earlier this year, the Australian Parliament was embroiled with a scandal involving the Deputy Prime Minister, a staffer and their relationship. How to respond? A 'bonk-ban'. Such a "grey area", as someone intimately involved once said.
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"I'm sick ... and that's that": managing employee absences

Employees (and their unions) may sometimes hold the belief that an employer may not question their absence from work or challenge their medical certificate. "It's my right to take sick leave", they may exclaim. A manager may fear challenging this employee, and prefer to not have a difficult conversation. Maybe they have heard an Industrial Commissioner say "[w]here the certificate states that the employee will be absent on a particular date it must be assumed that the doctor found the employee incapable of working on the specified date".
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Sixth Brisbane 7-Eleven store fined for underpaying workers

A sixth 7-Eleven store owner in Brisbane has been fined more than $32,000 and his business $160,000 for underpaying staff, a Fair Work Australia investigation has revealed. It is the 10th investigation into the operations of a 7-Eleven Store and the sixth Brisbane store investigated since the underpayment of wages at the chain was raised in 2014.
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The workplace where dads and secondary carers get 14 weeks paid leave

Medibank has issued a challenge to corporate Australia with their policy offering 14 weeks paid leave to all parents, regardless of whether they're the primary or secondary carer. That 14 weeks of paid leave far exceeds anything on offer for secondary parents from other large employers in Australia.
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What is the borderline between disrespect and workplace bullying?

The borderline between disrespect and workplace bullying or harassment is when negativity becomes habitual, concentrating on one person.
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Injured before start of work hours: is compo due?

A tribunal has ruled that a man who was injured between a car park and his employer's shop, 15 minutes before work started, was entitled to compensation. A worker arrived early on 20 September 2016 at the shopping centre where he worked and parked his car in the staff car park. Taking a shortcut from the car park, he attempted to climb down a retaining wall into a laneway at the side of his employer's store. However, he lost his balance and stumbled. He sustained multiple fractures to his right ankle.
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Late night Facebook rant led to unfair dismissal

A hairdresser who was fired by her boss during a late night social media rant has won her unfair dismissal claim. On December 6 last year, the salon owner used Facebook Messenger to ask the female worker whether he had a 9am appointment the next day. When the woman didn't answer he began to threaten her with dismissal.
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Sacked: tram driver makes bad call

A tram driver who checked messages on her mobile phone while her tram was stopped at an intersection was validly dismissed for breaching company rules, according to the Fair Work Commission.
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13 June 2018

Blame PageUp breach on security industry

Recent revelations about the data breach affecting human resources management platform PageUp highlighted that persisting with the traditional signature-based approach to endpoint protection is like installing an alarm system after a burglary. While you might be protected against the same attack in the future, it’s not an effective means of preventing data losses caused by increasingly advanced and unknown cyber threats. This is not news to many security professionals. But unfortunately, many businesses have been quite seriously misinformed by the security industry over a long period.
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PageUp breach scare prompts class action prospects

Sydney-based law firm Centennial Lawyers is investigating the prospects of a class action against Australian human resources software vendor PageUp, after it flagged a potential breach of clients’ data following a malware hit earlier this year. Telstra, Jetstar and the Tasmanian Government are among several local organisations to have temporarily suspended their use of the PageUp platform, while Australia Post warned employees that their personal information may have been compromised. Now, Centennial Lawyers has said it is reaching out to job seekers and employees of more than 15 companies as it explores the prospect of a class action against PageUp over the potential breach.
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Food delivery company Foodora facing “unquestionably significant” legal action over alleged sham contracting

Food delivery startup Foodora has been accused of sham contracting and worker underpayment by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) in a case that has been called “unquestionably significant” for the future of Australia’s gig economy.
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What makes managers happy or unhappy at work?

We intuitively know that a “happy worker is a good worker.” But what about their bosses? In the modern workplace, managers are accountable to several groups of people, from rank-and-file employees on one side, to chief executives and shareholders on the other. How well they juggle these conflicting pressures can determine not only their performance at work, but also how happy they are while doing it. Research funded by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and featuring interviews with managers from a range of sectors, is the first to ask specifically what makes managers happy or unhappy at work.
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Workplace culture: The first line of information security defence

The most underappreciated threat to any business, large or small is its own people. That’s not to say that a business’s employees are out to get them or maliciously steal from the company, but a workplace culture that is lax with security, that does not encourage staff to be vigilant and does not evangelise for security beyond the security or IT teams is the single biggest threat to a company’s ongoing security. Unfortunately, culture isn’t the type of thing you can make changes to and expect an immediate impact or response – it takes time. There however are a few steps that any business can take in ensuring that security is taken seriously.
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How much progress have we actually made when it comes to women on boards?

“You women are taking all our jobs.” This comment was delivered to me by a senior corporate male a few years ago. I was interviewing him as part of a research project on gender equity. The first part of the interview was conducted with his back to me. An unforgettable experience. So, how far have we come in terms of gender equity in the workplace now that it’s 2018? In terms of women on boards, I do believe we have come some way.
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Managers are important, but aren’t the biggest reason why people leave

Your business is only as successful as your people; it’s a sentiment we hear time and time again. Last year, SmartCompany research revealed that 67% of business owners admitted to making mistakes when hiring. Given the potentially devastating impact that hiring the wrong person can have on a small business’s bottom line — not to mention the immeasurable cost of missing out on a superstar employee — that’s a concerning statistic. In this Q&A piece, Culture Amp’s director of people practices Christian Miran busts common myths about employee retention and offers advice on how you can attract and retain the best talent to drive and grow your business.
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Uber and Airbnb: Who really benefits in the 'share economy'?

The share economy is a façade that allows companies such as Uber to flaunt social values at the cost of fair wages, writes Sochanda Thach. With rising concerns about sustainability and wastage, today’s generation looks to the sharing economy as a norm rather than a trend. People are moving away from hyper-consumerism and towards collaborative consumption — but can we actually call the sharing economy "sharing"?
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'Tortuous' language in industrial awards needs to go, says Fair Work boss

Australia's complex awards system is a real barrier to workers being paid properly by small businesses, the head of Australia's industrial relations umpire says.
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Is It Legal To Terminate An Injured Worker?

“You’re terminated!” They’re the two words nobody, under any circumstances, ever wants to hear or receive in writing. The flow-on effect from losing a job can be catastrophic – potentially leaving you financially unstable, emotionally insecure and contemplating your worth in the workforce. Yes, there’s never a good time to receive this news, but imagine being terminated when you’re physically incapacitated and incapable of completing the tasks you love or are trained to perform. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many Australians every year who suffer a workplace injury and require medical aid and time off. Is this legal?
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6 June 2018

Bank details, TFNs, personal details of job applicants compromised in major PageUp data breach

PageUp, which boasts 2 million active users across 190 countries, posted a statement from chief executive Karen Cariss on their website, saying they had noticed "unusual activity" in their IT infrastructure on May 23. The company has launched an investigation, while their client companies also released emergency statements to their employees and candidates who had applied for jobs using PageUp's software.
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Digital Transformation Is Critical To A Great Employee Experience

If you think about it, many of the things we take for granted in our workplaces, that are delivered by Human Resources (HR) departments are point solutions that fulfil specific needs but don't often work all that well together. On-boarding processes bring staff into a company, there are training and development programs and a bunch of processes we need to follow that we might only access very rarely. How do those things hang together to create a great workplace experience? Digital transformation in HR is emerging as a key tool for improving employee satisfaction.
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How to manage the challenges of an ageing workforce

The effects of Australia's ageing workforce are expected to be so pronounced that the government has budgeted for retraining, but what can human resources do?
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It's not (just) about the money, millennials say

In a time when tales of corporate greed and misconduct abound, is it any wonder young people's confidence in business ethics has plunged? This year's annual Deloitte Millennial Survey shows Generation Y's opinion of business motivation and ethics is at the lowest point in three years.
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Why you still need human contact in a digital business world

In today’s digital world it’s easier to connect than ever before. This is great news for small business owners who need to find products and services and ‘meet’ other owners through networking activities on online forums and groups – but does that mean human contact is redundant? Absolutely not.
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When a picture really is worth 1000 words – The "comic (employment) contract"

In an age when the most popular form of communication is limited to 280 characters, it is unsurprising that the public’s tolerance for dense, overly complex legal contracts is in decline. It now appears that the process of simplification that began with the “plain English drafting” ethos is about to take the next step, with the rise of the visual narrative contract, or “comic contract”.
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How diversity can help business go from good to great

Workplace diversity seems to be a buzzword at the moment, but do we really understand what it means? People often think conversations about diversity are just code for gender equality issues. It’s true gender differences that manifest in pay gaps and lack of flexible work options are urgent matters, but real diversity and inclusion is also much broader. Few leaders understand the implications and benefits of harnessing its power.
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FWC fines employer over $22k for inflexible refusal of Pilates classes

In commentary that is particularly fitting for the story behind it, the FWC has found an employer was unreasonably inflexible when it dismissed an employee who had requested to finish work 15 minutes early to attend prepaid Pilates classes. In Khutson v Chesson Pty Ltd T/A Pay Per Click [2018] FWC 2080, the employee argued that her dismissal was unfair because she refused to sign a revised employment contract that, amongst other things, had sought to change her working hours such that she would be unable to attend Pilates classes that she had already paid for.
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Aussie employers encouraged to hire refugees

Australian employers are demonstrating a keen willingness to take on refugees but are struggling to know how to reach and onboard them, a prominent university has claimed.
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Why Medibank lends out its best staff to foster innovation

John Goodall heads technology and operations at one of Australia’s largest private health insurers, Medibank. To encourage fresh thinking, he’s preparing to share some of his employees with those from a major technology team in a different industry. Goodall’s willingness to look outside his organisation is an example of the openness that characterises the best innovation leaders.
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Home offices and work claims on the ATO’s hit list this July

From home office expenses to income from sharing economy platforms, the Australian Taxation Office looks to be casting its net wide when it comes to areas of focus during 2018 tax time. Work-related expenses will be front and centre this July, with the office signposting numerous times over the past year that it will be tracking everything from home office claims to car use and deductions made for work uniforms and clothing.
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Check your timesheets – in excess of $120,000 in penalties for employer who failed to keep time and wages records

Employers face increased penalties for failing to keep proper records as a result of recent changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) through the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 (Cth). The case of Fair Work Ombudsman v Pulis Plumbing Pty Ltd & Anor serves as a warning to employers that a failure to comply with employee records obligations not only leads to significant penalties, but means that employers are unable to disprove employee allegations about underpayments.
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30 May 2018

Australian business is unprepared for the 2018 Modern Slavery Act

Deloitte spoke to more than 1000 individuals across multiple organisations, but found senior CSR people were underestimating the likelihood of problems to deal with and report on in their modern supply chains.
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Union wants jail, multi-million dollar fines for workplace deaths

One of the state's biggest unions has called on the McGowan government to follow a Victorian Labor party commitment and introduce 20-year jail sentences and multi-million-dollar fines for employers who fail to prevent workplace deaths. On Saturday Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced they would introduce industrial manslaughter legislation if relected in November.
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Back to basics - Assaults in the workplace and the importance of having a reliable witness - Australian legal update

This article explores the case of Eastment v State of Queensland [2017] QDC 201, which centers on an assault in the workplace and also highlights the importance of having a reliable witness at trial. Mr Eastment's case is predicated on the occurrence of an event on 6 March 2009 (two days prior to the assault).
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The risk from within: employee fraud & theft

With high profile news stories about data theft and cyber-attacks, business is properly focused on managing risks from these external sources. As a result, less attention can be paid to risks from within the business. Bartier Perry explains the risks. An obvious risk is that posed by employees, who, for whatever reason, decide to do the wrong thing and take from the business.
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Superannuation is still mired in the same old issues, and no one is going to fix your nest egg but you

The Productivity Commission's latest report on superannuation asks whether the current system is working for members - and answers firmly in the negative. The report identifies four factors that can chip away at super fund members' retirement benefits.
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Young people, not employers, should choose super fund: Productivity Commission

Young people entering the workforce should choose their own superannuation fund, rather than the present system of their employer selecting the fund for them, according to a Productivity Commission report released on Tuesday. It recommends that these workers should be given a "best in show" shortlist set by a "competitive and independent process."
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How parenthood continues to cost women more than men

New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is about to become a first-time parent next month, and her partner, Clarke Gayford, will set an example by becoming a stay-at-home dad. But Jacinda and Clarke's plan is still the exception rather than the rule. Mothers tend to take more time than fathers away from their careers when they have children, and they pay a significant price.
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Billionaire Jack Cowin calls for government inquiry into "gig economy" food companies Uber Eats, Foodora and Deliveroo

One of the richest businessmen in Australia is calling on the federal government to launch an investigation into the employment practices of food delivery platforms including Uber Eats, Foodora and Deliveroo. While numerous small business owners have spoken out about the problems they've experienced when using Uber Eats for their business, Jack Cowin says there needs to be an "equalisation" between how gig economy platforms and other businesses pay workers.
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Hairdresser wins unfair dismissal claim after Facebook Messenger conversation with boss "spiralled out of control"

In a decision before the Fair Work Commission last week, a hairdresser was held to have been unfairly dismissed after an exchange with her boss over Facebook Messenger where he aggressively turned on her. The employee (JLM) and her boss (CT) regularly conversed outside of hours on Facebook messenger. On 6 December 2017, however, their exchange "spiralled out of control".
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Are top chief executives actually worth it?

You've worked hard to get where you are, therefore you're entitled . to what? Does it depend on what and how you deliver? An interesting survey of the top 50 chief executives looks at people who have delivered the best results for their respective companies over the long term. We are talking in terms of months, even years in Warren Buffett's case; through his prudent and steady development of Berkshire Hathaway, he has proven himself a superior chief executive and investor.
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Victorian Government vows to crack down on wage theft, with penalties of up to 10 years in jail

Victoria's Labor Government has promised to introduce laws targeting employers who underpay their workers, with penalties of up to 10 years in jail. The new laws, which were announced at this weekend's Labor Party conference, would also introduce fines of almost $200,000 for individuals and almost $1 million for companies that deliberately withhold wages, fail to pay superannuation or other entitlements, or do not keep proper employment records.
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23 May 2018

When is swearing in the workplace a basis for dismissal?

Numerous recent cases have considered swearing in the workplace. But when the decision at first instance in Gosek v Illawarra Coal Holdings Pty Limited T/A South32 (Gosek) was handed down by Commissioner Riordan late last year, there was a media frenzy, followed by widespread criticism of the decision.
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4 things you need to know about paying a salary under an award

Many employers incorrectly assume that where they are paying an employee a salary, they are simply not covered by an award. Given the strict consequences for employers who fail to pay staff correctly under an award, it's critical that employers understand their obligations.
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Why we need to rethink the concept of work

With so many women now in the workplace and feminism's early victories (it's been over a century since women were first given the vote, more than half a century since the advent of the Pill, and there's at least 50% female graduation in today's university courses), you'd think that old glass ceiling would be badly wobbling by now.
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It's time for a revolt on CEO pay

It's time to rethink CEO pay, but not in the way you imagine. Yes, CEO pay is extreme. Some might even call it excessive. And from a social equity perspective, I agree. But that's not the only - and probably not even the most important - reason that we should reconsider how we remunerate those who sit at the top of the corporate tree.
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Why your open plan office is like a nudist beach

In the #MeToo era, an open-office environment might seem like the perfect solution for fixing the sexual harassment that can take place behind closed office doors. If there are glass walls everywhere, and no one has doors or even plastic partitions to reserve any sense of privacy, groping and sexual advances might be harder to get away with.
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Why work when you can procrastibake?

All procrastibakers do not bake alike. Procrastibaking - the practice of baking something completely unnecessary, with the intention of avoiding "real" work - is a surprisingly common habit that has only recently acquired a name. Medical students, romance writers, freelance web designers: Almost anyone who works at home and has a cookie sheet in the cupboard can try it.
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Pictorial Employment Contracts – a legitimate craze, or just plain crazy?

As part of its focus on innovation, global engineering and advisory company Aurecon is introducing a visual employment contract, effectively eliminating the bulk of the text from their employment contracts by using pictures to accompany the contract's wording. As reported in the Australian Financial Review, this is the first time that an Australian company has introduced this type of visual employment contract.
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Company boards are stacked with friends of friends so how can we expect change?

Social connections drive board appointments and more than two-thirds of directors in the 200 largest public companies are on the board of multiple companies. So whoever replaces ex-AMP chairwoman Catherine Brenner will likely be drawn from a small pool of people.
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This is why everyone steals office supplies from work - including you

Have you ever taken office supplies home? Stole some pens and paper from your employer for your kids' arts and crafts class? Used the office printer to print personal concert tickets? In a recent anonymous survey by Papermate as part of the launch of a new pen, 100 per cent of office workers admitted to have stolen a pen at work. Other academic researchers have reported that up to 75 per cent of employees admitted to stealing office supplies in the past year.
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Forcing immigrants to work in regional areas will not boost regional economies in the long run

As politicians raise concerns about immigration straining infrastructure and public services in Australia's state capitals, the federal government is considering the idea of binding immigrants to particular regional and rural areas.
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16 May 2018

Tribunal won't be drawn into making conclusions on 'reasonable administrative action' without sufficient and direct evidence in support

Mr Gary Want was a public servant who had served in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for 12 years. From 2006 to September 2014, Mr Want was employed at the Department of Defence in an Executive Level 1 (EL1) position at a variety of locations. A lack of direct evidence on whether condition would not have arisen in absence of reasonable administrative action (RAA) prohibited the decision maker from applying the RAA exclusion.
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Five ways to become a better listener

Few of us like to admit we're poor listeners. The truth is, in our distracted society, most people are not particularly good at listening, and a vital tenet in human evolution is slipping away, unnoticed, as we become busier and paradoxically less focused. Any conversation or meeting is going to be fairly unproductive without good listening and questioning. Listening is what helps us focus, every bit as much as our other senses do, when we choose to use them. And questioning helps us find out more.
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Major supermarkets investigating worker claims of 'slave' conditions at major flower supplier

The country's three biggest supermarket chains have said they will investigate claims made by workers of exploitation and bullying at a major national flower supplier. Lynch Group is the largest flower wholesaler in the southern hemisphere and supplies flowers to Coles, Woolworths and Aldi stores around the country. The ABC first revealed claims of "sweatshop" working conditions at the Australian warehouses of Lynch Group in March.
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Unions watchdog gets funding boost, but fair wages enforcer misses out

The national unions watchdog has received an $8 million boost while funding for the organisation that polices wage theft has been frozen. The Fair Work Ombudsman's budget was shaved slightly in Tuesday night's budget from $110.464 million in the current financial year to $110.009 million this coming year. The funding freeze comes as the Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James lashed out at a "completely unacceptable" and "disturbing culture" of underpayment in the hospitality industry in the wake of a $300,000 fine for a Melbourne burger joint operator.
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Union movement can't afford to waste goodwill of 'staggering' march

Staggering. Getting 100,000 people on to the streets of Melbourne to protest against Australia's workplace laws shows there's still some life in the once-mighty union movement. In fact it is gaining strength every day. It is fundamentally winning the debate over workplace relations against weak and ineffectual business groups and interests that have failed to counter its arguments.
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'Fascinating test': Uni student, NAB locked in pay dispute

A student is taking legal action against NAB for failing to pay him for 12 months of work he did as part of a university job placement program. Daniel Stuart is claiming $80,833.83 for lost wages and superannuation in a statement of claim he has lodged with the Federal Circuit Court. He is claiming that he worked for the bank for a year in Melbourne as an employee and not as part of an unpaid vocational placement.
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The Gig Economy: the good, the bad and the downright unregulated

"This is Airtasker. Just post your task you need help with, choose the right person for the job and wait for the task to be done." But what happens when the task isn't done, what happens when you no longer feel `Like a Boss' and start to feel `at a loss' because what you had contracted for was not what was received? This is the first of a two part series focussing on the gig economy and its key stakeholders; the job poster or person requesting the services and the service provider.
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Introducing the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa and the Global Talent Scheme Pilot

On 18 April 2017, now Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, together with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, made a surprise announcement that the popular 457 visa would be abolished by March 2018, and replaced with a new visa in an effort to "put Australians first". Since the announcement, information about the new Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) ('TSS') visa has been scarce, leaving many employees currently on 457 visas feeling uncertain about their future. The legislative requirements of the new TSS visa were finally released on 18 March 2018.
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What it's like to be a `black economy' worker

Nina, not her real name, works for a cleaning company that sends her into private homes, in exchange for about $20 per hour, cash-in-hand. She's had numerous cash-in-hand jobs over the past few years. She used to work in restaurants where the pay was around $12 per hour. She told me she does it quite simply "for the money".
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Australia's stolen wages: one woman's quest for compensation

Bigali Hanlon is a Yindjibarndi woman born in 1940 at Mulga Downs in Western Australia. At the age of six, she was taken from her mother and sent to live in a church-run hostel for "fair-skinned" indigenous children. She lived there until she was 13, when she went into indentured domestic service. As in many other cases, wages were paid - but never to Bigali.
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Research check: we still don't have proof that cutting company taxes will boost jobs and wages

Simply comparing companies that receive a tax cut with those that don't isn't the right methodology to conclude that the 2015 tax cuts created more employment or higher wages. Cutting taxes lets companies keep more of their profits, allowing them to invest in new equipment and premises for example. The company then needs to hire more workers to work with these new assets. The newly created jobs require businesses to compete for workers and this increased demand pushes up wages across the entire economy.
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Labour market testing guidelines for sponsoring overseas workers

If your business sponsors overseas workers, or may need to sponsor overseas workers in the future, you need to understand the new labour market testing requirement. Labour market testing is a type of application criteria which means, you must satisfy the minimum requirements before submitting the employer nomination application. Failure to satisfy these minimum requirements will cause delays and can become a problem in circumstances where your business has an urgent role to fill, or you are wanting to nominate an overseas worker with an upcoming visa expiry.
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9 May 2018

The importance of establishing internal procedures for dealing with inappropriate and unwelcome contact in the workplace

On 18 April 2018, in the decision of George Talevski v Chalmers Industries Pty Ltd [2018] FWC 1807, the Fair Work Commission dismissed an unfair dismissal application made by a long-serving handyman. He had been dismissed by a transport company for serious misconduct that included repeatedly touching a young receptionist, threatening and abusing the company's Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and failing to provide a response to the allegations of serious misconduct.
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How to handle the person you hate in the office

Once upon a time, long before I lived the freelance life, I worked in an office, your run of the mill 9-5er. It was in a regular job, with regular hours and I had a regular work nemesis. Steven* sat opposite me and from the moment he started, we didn't get along. He made it his mission to point out everyone's mistakes (except his own), signed off emails with "Thanking You Muchly" and drove to work in a car with the number plate 2FAST4U.
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Teachers' core job swamped by paperwork

School teachers and principals are "drowning in paperwork", costing them critical time for preparing classes and threatening their core job of educating children, research has found. A University of Sydney study of more than 18,000 public school teachers and principals across NSW found 97.3 per cent reported an increase in administration duties over the past five years. More than 95 per cent were spending more time on analysing and reporting data.
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Tigerair pilots call off industrial action after wage deal breakthrough

Tigerair pilots have called off industrial action that could have caused flights to be delayed or cancelled this weekend after a breakthrough in wage negotiations with the airline. Members of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots and fellow union VIPA had threatened a range of protected actions that would have disrupted services starting Friday morning after bargaining over a new wage deal hit a deadlock.
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More empty desks, less office space as government cuts building stock

The public service had 4600 more empty desks last year despite a push to reduce vacant space in its buildings. Nearly 26,000 desks sat empty in 2017 as the government reported agencies faced a lag between falling staff numbers and the chance to renegotiate leases to cut their office space. The increase went against the trend in new figures from the Finance Department's latest report on occupancy in public service offices, which showed the government has continued to cut its floorspace since 2014.
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Who is responsible for safety in a gig economy?

Safety in the `gig economy' is again making headlines, with Unions NSW taking on Airtasker once more as a source of potential unsafe work practices.
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Motivating millennials in the workplace

This week, we tap the expertise of Boris Joaquin and Renz Mansujeto, for some insights on how to motivate millennials, a favourite topic of older generations. After all, millenials (or the generational cohort between 1980-2001) are dominating the workplace. THey are now the largest generation in the workforce.
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NFL agrees to meet with lawyer of former cheerleaders to discuss workplace discrimination

The NFL has agreed to meet with the lawyer representing two former cheerleaders who recently filed discrimination claims against the league. "As we said before, our office is working with the clubs in sharing best practices and employment-related processes that will support club cheerleading squads within an appropriate and supportive workplace," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email.
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Ex-detective Denis Ryan wins compensation decades after being pushed out of Victoria Police

A former detective, who was financially and professionally ruined by his own superiors for trying to bring a paedophile priest to justice, will receive compensation almost 50 years after he was pushed out of Victoria Police. Denis Ryan gave up his police pension when he chose to resign from the force after being ordered to drop his investigation into Monsignor John Day, a Catholic paedophile priest who preyed on children in the Mallee.
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ANZ HR leaders lagging behind global leaders in tech adoption

A new research report from tech giant ServiceNow (The New CHRO Agenda: Employee Experience Drives Business Value), reveals that HR leaders in Australia and New Zealand are falling behind their international peers when it comes to technology adoption to improve experiences at work.
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Why we should blame incentive pay for bad behaviour in fin services

Those outraged about the bad behaviour inside our financial institutions have largely focused on individuals and paid scant attention to the real culprit plaguing our companies: a rampant incentive culture. Voices in the investment and human resource communities have pleaded with companies to implement more sustainable approaches to remuneration and managing human capital generally.
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LGBT employees face hurdles at home and abroad

Relocation to countries where homosexuality is illegal may leave LGBT employees at risk of arrest and harassment. In those places where same-sex relationships and parental rights of LGBT parents are not recognised, it can create formidable challenges for accompanying partners and children.
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2 May 2018

Can your boss sue you for fighting for proper wages?

A Melbourne cafe made headlines last week for alleged underpayment of staff and threats to sue. It may be common in hospitality, but what laws are at play here? It was revealed that employees at Barry were underpaid by around $5/hour and didn't receive any penalty rates.
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"Unsophisticated employer": Fair Work rules Perth company unfairly dismissed worker it made `redundant'

The Fair Work Commission has been highly critical of the human resources practices of a Perth tradie directory platform, finding it unfairly dismissed its account manager when it claimed it had to make her redundant because the business was struggling to "keep up with its creditors". The worker claimed she had been unfairly dismissed because not only did her boss fail to consult with her about possible redeployment options, another staff member was also hired to do parts of her role.
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Casual workers call for job security at union rally

When Clare Southerton booked tickets to attend a conference in Rome as part of her work as a sociologist at the Australian National University, she paid her own way in order to further her career. If she was a permanent staff member, she'd be able to apply to university schemes to fund the travel that's an important part of sharing her research. Not having access to funding in order to present research is just one of the many hidden costs of increasing levels of casualisation, especially in the tertiary education sector, Ms Southerton said.
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How the federal budget can help insecure workers

Aussies are also often increasingly opting to work casual and part-time. To pursue business ideas, to study, to enjoy life! More than 4 million Australians, one-third of the population, did some freelancing in 2014 and 2015, says the Australian Industry Group. Next week's budget needs to help participants in this new (not) employment world - and the individuals also need to help themselves.
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The big four accounting firms struggle to shake their sexist pasts

In many ways, the big four accounting firms - Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) - have influenced how we work, how we manage, how we invest and how we are governed. Apart from their staff, the brands themselves are the big firms' most valuable assets. The value of those brands is grounded in the firms' histories. But looking into their past reveals many stories of discrimination that the firms may have to face up to to re-brand their future.
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Half a million calls from small business reveals strong demand for online support

The Fair Work Ombudsman has today launched its Small Business Showcase, a virtual hub providing a wealth of resources for small business owners seeking information about their workplace obligations. Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James is urging small business owners to participate in the showcase to ensure they're up-to-date with their obligations under workplace law. "Australia's workplace relations system is complex and can be hard to navigate, particularly for time-poor small and family businesses," Ms James says.
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Queensland electrical contractor faces legal action over alleged failure to pay compensation

A Queensland electrical contracting company is facing court for allegedly ignoring a Fair Work Commission order to compensate an employee who was unfairly dismissed. The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against Logan City Electrical Service Division Pty Ltd and the company's sole director, Peter Burnitt, in the Federal Circuit Court. The employee contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman seeking assistance after the compensation amount was not paid.
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Melbourne cafe owner threatens to sue staff, who claimed they were underpaid, for 'harassment'

A Northcote cafe owner accused of underpaying staff has threatened to sue those who complained "if the harassment continues". Current and former staff of Barry cafe in Northcote told the ABC they had been underpaid by at least $5 an hour, and that when they complained to the cafe's owners, some workers had their shifts cancelled. The office of the Fair Work Ombudsman has confirmed to the ABC it is now investigating those claims.
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Ombudsman calls for simplification of workplace relations for small business

Today the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, released a position paper that identifies some simple steps to tackle the overly complex workplace relations system for small businesses. "We have had significant consultations with small businesses over the last two years and the overwhelming view is the legislation is far too complicated for the majority of Australian businesses with less than 20 employees and no expert HR or legal departments," Ms Carnell said.
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Migrant Workers' Taskforce to continue to protect vulnerable workers

The Australian Government today announced a six-month extension of the Migrant Workers' Taskforce so that it can continue its important work to protect migrant workers in Australia from workplace exploitation. It will continue to consult widely on suitable policy responses and remedies to the issue of workplace exploitation, and will provide a final report with recommendations to the Government in late 2018.
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Twitter Cost Me My Job - The Risks of Discussing Employment Online

The recent decision of Banerji and Comcare (Compensation) [2018] AATA 982 is an interesting case on the issue of discussing employment online. By now it should be obvious that bagging your employer in this way (be that Facebook, Twitter, or a blog) can cost you your job. There are numerous cases of employees ranting online, either using their real name or with poorly considered pseudonyms (almost as bad as @notmbaldwin). The inevitable outcome when this comes to the attention of employers is termination of employment.
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25 April 2018

Aussie SMEs dominate best places to work in Asia thanks to their `high-trust cultures'

Australian SMEs have dominated a list of Asia's best small and medium workplaces, produced by Great Places to Work.
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How fears can hold you back at work

Fears drive our behaviours and are often the reason for our decisions and actions at work.
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Nearly half of young people injured at work: Unions ACT report

Workplace injuries are common among young people and most workers under 25 have been bullied or harassed on the job, a new survey by the ACT's peak union body says.
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Why employers don't hire smart women

New research has confirmed what many women already know: bosses want smart people working for them, but only if they're male.
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CFMMEU fined more than half a million dollars for unlawful strikes

The newly merged construction and maritime super union has been fined more than half a million dollars for a series of unlawful strikes on nine Brisbane sites.
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Fair Work Commission ticks off new Coles pay agreement

A three-year dispute over pay and conditions for 80,000 Coles workers across the country has been finally settled with the Fair Work Commission's approval of a contentious new agreement with unions.
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Something smelly, perhaps loud ... but nothing to see: what am I?

The Victorian Supreme Court recently had to hear a case about, amongst other things, farting at work.
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Defining Managerial and Directorial Roles and Can These Employees Make Unfair Dismissal Claims?

This blog takes a look at a number of factors that must be considered when trying to define a managerial, or directorial role within a business.
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Abbott suggests sacking bank regulators as ASIC feels the heat

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has strongly condemned the performance of financial sector regulators, suggesting they should be sacked and replaced by "less complacent" people.
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High Court rejects Valve's special leave request to appeal $3 million fine

In 2016, the trial judge found that Valve had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct by making representations about customers' rights in Steam's terms and conditions and refund policy.
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A recent case has highlighted the importance of keeping detailed employee records in cases of dismissal.

The issue which required consideration was whether the redundancy was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. The Commissioner considered whether there was a valid reason for dismissal, specifically, whether the Employer was unable to fulfil the inherent requirements of his role.
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Australian companies take note: You could be liable for failing to prevent your associates from engaging in foreign bribery

Australian companies who conduct business abroad need to be aware of the imminent substantial change to the law regarding foreign bribery offences.
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Could you be fined for failing to train staff in using Excel correctly? A recent UK decision provides a salutary lesson

A recent decision of the UK Information Commissioner has highlighted the risks for businesses who share information using Excel spreadsheets.
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18 April 2018

Who is covered by the Queensland labour hire licensing regime?

On Friday 6 April 2018, the Queensland Parliament published regulations that clarify the scope of the regime and the information that must accompany an application for a labour hire licence.
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Jail time and seven figure penalties for WHS breaches

In Souz v CC Pty Ltd [2018] QSC 36, an underground mine worker sustained a serious neck injury when the loader he was driving collided with a steel roof beam.
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Starbucks to close 8,000 stores for anti-racism training

Starbucks, moving swiftly to confront a racially charged uproar over the arrest of two black men at one of its stores in Philadelphia, plans to close more than 8,000 US stores for several hours next month to conduct racial-bias training for nearly 175,000 workers.
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More than a third of truck drivers surveyed feel more pressured

Facing assault rifles in an armed robbery was not supposed to be part of the job.
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Women more likely to be perfectionistic, anxious at work

These are the results of Australia's Biggest Mental Health Check-In, a snapshot of mental health at all levels of corporate life in Australia.
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Migrant underpaid 93 weeks' pay, worked seven days and took rubbish home

A migrant worker who was underpaid the value of 93 weeks' wages over four years worked seven-days-a-week without time for lunch breaks or getting sick so he could support his family.
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Employable Me has struck a chord but will it change employers' attitudes to disability?

"I'm glad you can make use of my weapons grade autism", laughs Jonathon in the ABC TV series Employable Me. He has landed a competitive paid internship, channelling his passion for accountancy. As well as a love of numbers, he has a wicked sense of humour and a way with words.
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Precarious employment is rising rapidly among men: new research

Precarious employment is increasing over time, and it still remains higher for women than men in Australia. But over the last nine years it has increased far more rapidly among men.
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Accepting a distressed employee's resignation may be a dismissal

The Commissioner found that the applicant "was dismissed on the employer's initiative and in satisfaction of the meaning of dismissed" provided by the section referred to earlier.
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A new era for employer sponsorship

On 18 March 2018, we said goodbye to the subclass 457 visa and hello to the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (TSS).
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How technology is shaping human resources

Like any area of a business, human resources are undergoing digital transformation and reacting to new forms of employment, such as remote working and the adoption of artificial intelligence.
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11 April 2018

Whistleblower bill - ".a move in the right direction"?

The Australian Government's proposed whistleblowing laws are one step closer to becoming reality, with the Senate Economics Legislation Committee (the Committee) recommending that the Treasury Laws Amendment (Whistleblowers) Bill 2017 (the Bill) be passed.
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The M&A Boom: How Technology Helps to Harmonize

An effective benefit management technology program can help alleviate the stress of consolidation both on HR teams and employees brought on by a merger or acquisition.
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SEEK and OneVentures back $8 million round for HR start-up Employment Hero

Australian human resources technology start-up Employment Hero has closed an $8 million funding round, led by SEEK and OneVentures, as it looks to build out its executive leadership team, ahead of expansion plans.
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How our peers influence our superannuation decisions

Just as our peers can influence what movies we go to or where we go on holiday, our research suggests that Australians' superannuation investment decisions are influenced by our work colleagues.
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Five ways to inspire creativity

Any industry or organisation where strategic planning is called for can be guilty of excluding the really good ideas that bubble up from surprising sources.
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One in two Aussies shop online during work hours: How small businesses can tackle the issue

A growing number of Australians are using work hours to spend time online shopping, but employers have to do more to stop this if they're not happy with the situation, says one HR expert.
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How to be a great referee and help mentees get amazing jobs

There are responsibilities that come from a senior title. One is that you get to be a referee. And if you are lucky, a mentor. The person who supports someone as they experience a perfect or terrible job. And the person who might help them dodge a dud job in the first place.
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Business group urges Coalition to reform Fair Work laws

A peak business group has criticised the Coalition government and parliamentarians for the "dismal state" of public debate on workplace relations, urging them to reform Fair Work laws.
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Will the Upcoming Election Affect Workplace Relations?

With an election due in the next 12 months and the Coalition Government performing poorly in polls leaving a potential change of government well within the bounds of possibility, there has been a quickening of interest surrounding workplace relations policy issues. A number of these issues may become significant differentiators between the Government and Opposition parties.
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50+ Employee Engagement Ideas From Forbes Human Resources Council

How can you establish a work environment that offers more than just a paycheck - the kind of place where every employee is motivated to give their best?
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Modern slavery and human trafficking - how the legislation is evolving

Modern slavery and human trafficking – a comparative analysis of existing and emerging legislation in the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore
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4 April 2018

Work Related or Not Work Related? Tragic South Australian Fatality in the Headlines

On 23 March 2016, experienced remote area nurse, Ms Gayle Woolford, was working in Fregon, in the APY lands in the Simpson Desert, some 1,275 km and an 18 hour drive from Adelaide. She was "on call" and living in a high security house at the time.
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Workers on Visas - Can They Claim Workers' Compensation?

The Hon Bill Johnston MLA recently released a media statement announcing the McGowan Government's intention to re-write WA's workers' compensation legislation, no doubt having regard to the extensive review process undertaken in 2013.
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The relationship between Human capital and company stock market value

According to UBS, as the economy grows from more manufacturing to services to knowledge, the proportion of a company's value that is related to human capital is going to grow.
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AFP raids Australian Tax Office whistleblower amid Four Corners investigation

A public servant turned whistleblower employed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has this morning had his home raided by officers from the ATO and the Australian Federal Police, after speaking with reporters in a major joint Four Corners and Fairfax investigation into alleged abuse of power by the ATO.
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National unions take to the streets to 'change the rules'

National unions will hit the streets to stage a series of marches and mass meetings around the country from April 17.
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Time to ask for a pay rise

Wages remaining stubbornly low in spite of productivity gains is a familiar economic story by now. In 2017 wages grew just 2.1 per cent, just slightly ahead of inflation at 1.9 per cent. Meanwhile, cost of living expenses not included in the CPI, such as housing, electricity and childcare, have been skyrocketing.
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Migrant workers 'left exposed' by workplace watchdog amnesty promise

The federal government's workplace watchdog is offering amnesty to temporary foreign workers who assist in workplace exploitation investigations despite having no clear power to do so, potentially exposing them to the risk of deportation.
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NSW workers are the happiest in the country

NSW workers are the happiest in the country, according to a new survey that found they are more fulfilled in their jobs and, along with Victorians, have a better work/life balance than their interstate counterparts.
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Workplace scandals: some lessons for employers

It is becoming too common that workplace scandals are played out in the media. Business is forced to scramble in response. Many interests and responsibilities compete in the desire to contain the damage and move on. Such circumstances present challenging times for a business.
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Men and young people more likely to be ageist: study

Men and young people are more likely to be ageist, but few Australians are resolutely ageist in their views, our survey finds. By ageist, we mean having consistently negative attitudes about how older people are or should be.
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$200,000 in penalties after overseas worker exploited and sacked by text message

The former owner-operator of an Indian restaurant in Perth has been penalised more than $200,000 after paying an overseas cook nothing for almost four months' work then sacking him by text message for taking a day of sick leave.
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27 March 2018

Unions have a history of merging - that's why the new `super union' makes sense

Australian trade unions have always changed and merged to reflect the shifting nature of work and employment, as industries and occupations disappear or develop.
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Email culture to blame for workplace failure on #MeToo

Workplaces need safe spaces to facilitate discussion about issues that are difficult, awkward and shameful to engage with.
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Gardening Leave - Weeding out Potentially Hazardous Employees Following a Resignation

Whilst we previously touched on the concept of gardening leave in this 2016 blog - Coleman Greig's Employment Law team have below expanded on what you need to know with regard to forcing a soon-to-be-Ex employee to take gardening leave.
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Domino's abandons enterprise agreement with shoppies union

Domino's Pizza has abandoned an enterprise agreement with the shoppies union in favour of keeping employees on an industry award in what a rival union has described as a face-saving exercise for both parties.
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Aggressive, rude? No, I was just being French, says fired waiter

A waiter fired for being "aggressive, rude and disrespectful" claims that there was nothing wrong with his behaviour... he was just being "French". Deserved or not, France's reputation for producing surly waiters who eye customers with suspicion, indeed disdain, is known the world over and has stood the test of time.
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The perks offered by the companies Australians most want to work for

PwC, the giant professional services firm that lets its employees decide what time they get to work, has again topped the list of companies people want to work for in Australia.
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Worker sacked by text message after taking one day of sick leave

An employer who sacked a worker by text message for taking a day of sick leave after being paid nothing for four months of work has been fined $200,000.
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Worker wins $25,000 in compensation after she was fired when her fiancé left the company

A worker in the Northern Territory has won $25,000 in compensation after her employer fired her because her fiancé told management she was intending to leave the business.
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Australia's version of #TimesUp has arrived to stamp out sexual harassment at work

When 17% of Australian women are reporting they have been sexually harassed in the past 12 months, and one in two reporting harassment at some point in their lives, it's clear more needs to be done to address the issue.
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High Court says: you pay the fine for your `white-collar crime'

The High Court has upheld a Judge's order that a Union cannot pick up the bill for an individual's penalty arising from a statutory breach.
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Bureau of Meteorology industrial action ramps up as workplace storm intensifies

Weather bureau staff will step up strikes in a fight for a new workplace deal as bosses continue to refuse conciliation at the industrial umpire.
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21 March 2018

Facing an investigation by the fair work ombudsman what is at stake

It is not uncommon for employers to face investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman ("FWO") where for example, a disgruntled employee has complained to the FWO about a workplace issue such as a failure to pay adequate wages or to meet award requirements.
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In the #MeToo era, a chatbot can help people report workplace harassment

Campaigns like #MeToo and Time's Up mean that public discussion about sexual harassment has finally bubbled up to the surface. The movements also highlight how such disturbing incidents have routinely gone unreported or been outright ignored.
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Unemployment is refusing to budge in the face of booming jobs growth, keeping wages down

The jobs market continues to be one of the more perplexing points of contention in the Australian economy.
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A 'fair' minimum wage should factor in the financial risk for workers

Minimum wage deliberations are about to start. The submissions are in and the Fair Work Commission is soon to undertake its annual wage review. It determines a minimum wage for almost two million Australian workers, with wage ramifications for millions more.
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Queensland Rail drivers earning tens of thousands in overtime as staff shortage drags on

Queensland Rail drivers and guards are pocketing tens of thousands of dollars a year in overtime as the organisation struggles to recruit dozens more crews to fill a staffing shortfall, new figures have shown.
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Court finds bus company was right to sack driver who didn't turn up for Boxing Day shift

The Federal Circuit Court has found a Victorian bus company was right to fire a worker who did not show up for work on Boxing Day in 2015, despite being rostered on for a shift.
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Darwin worker wins his job back after criminal charges led to his dismissal

A Northern Territory hospitality supplies business has been ordered to give a worker his job back after being found in the wrong for firing him while he was awaiting a criminal trial.
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Are you acting appropriately towards colleagues? Now's the time to review your behaviour

Is everyone in the workplace completely off-limits when it comes to touch? What about conservative body language - can it be construed as stand-offishness?
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Inquest starts over worker crushed in scissor lift during RAH construction

Pressure to build the new Royal Adelaide Hospital on time and within budget might have seen corners cut and safety compromised, an inquest has been told.
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WA worker's hand crushed in 'entirely foreseeable' work accident

An Esperance transport company has been fined $58,000 after a worker's hand was crushed between two containers while he used a forklift without a proper license.
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XXXX brewery staff strike ahead of Commonwealth Games

Almost 100 XXXX brewery workers will walk off the job next week, with the company rejecting union claims the action could disrupt beer supplies to the Commonwealth Games.
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Why union members earn higher wages than their non-union colleagues

Over recent decades in Australia union membership has fallen from 40% of the workforce in 1990 to 15% in 2016 and so unions might seem less relevant in making a difference to what we earn. But our research finds that union members do earn higher wages per hour than non-union members.
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14 March 2018

Swearing in the workplace: The legal position

The recent Full Bench decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in Illawarra Coal Holdings Pty Ltd T/A South32 v Matthew Gosek [2018] FWCFB 749 (Illawarra Coal), which garnered extensive media coverage, has once again put the spotlight on the issue of swearing by employees.
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Could the High Court's decision impact WHS sentencing?

The High Court has recently ordered that penalties for breaches of the FW Act must be paid personally by individuals, upholding a Federal Court Judge's order that the Union must not pay the penalty on the individual's behalf.
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Terminating an employee based on their ability to perform the inherent requirements of a job

To successfully defend an unfair dismissal claim, an employer must be able to satisfy the Fair Work Commission (FWC) that the dismissal was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable.
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Hiring new employees? Stop focusing so much on "cultural fit"

When choosing the right candidate for a role, experts and industry professionals say employers need to look beyond the initial `cultural fit'.
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How Ai Mawdsley changed careers while pregnant - and what she learnt

A couple months back, an agency I admired was hiring for a general manager. It was exactly the sort of role I pictured myself in. A new challenge, an awesome company, and my skills and experience matched what they needed.
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Airtasker: Unions raise safety concerns over 'gig economy' cowboys

Unions NSW and some tradespeople are calling on the Federal Government to set up an independent regulator to oversee the emerging gig economy, amid concerns workers' safety is at risk.
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Robert Doyle: Investigation upholds sexual misconduct complaints against former Melbourne mayor

An independent report has found the conduct of Robert Doyle, Melbourne's former lord mayor, could constitute sexual harassment and gross misconduct, making four adverse findings against him as part of an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct.
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Banking royal commission: Whistleblower alleges cash for loans bribery ring at NAB

The banking royal commission has heard sensational allegations of a cash-for-loans bribery ring at National Australia Bank branches in western Sydney as the first round of public hearings kicked off.
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Retailers demand zero pay rise for Australia's lowest paid workers

One of Australia's top retail industry groups wants the country's lowest-paid workers to be denied any pay rise this year.
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'Gap' in laws left Indian Consulate driver without rights to award rates

Driver Hitender Kumar has lost a claim for more than $100,000 he was allegedly underpaid for work at the Indian Consulate because it is not required to pay award wages under Australian workplace laws.
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Companies defend charging $1000 for unpaid internships

Students and graduates are forking out $1000 to undertake unpaid internships with a one in 64 success rate of picking up a full-time job and which don't even take place at the company's office.
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'Fired for taking a holiday': Bicycle couriers claim unfair dismissal

Two foodora cyclists have launched unfair dismissal claims in cases the Transport Workers Union believes could prove a test case for the burgeoning food delivery industry.
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7 March 2018

Major career study shows young Australian women are missing in debate about future of work

Questions posed looked at the expectations and aspirations of young women in their careers, contrasted against current workforce realities.
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Bakery admits fault after worker loses top of finger in crumpet machine

Tasmanian bakery Cripps NuBake has admitted fault after a trainee lost the top of a finger when it became trapped in a crumpet-making machine.
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It's time we talked about the difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault

Although they often have similarities and sometimes can be both at once, generally they are different types of legal claims which therefore require different complaint processes.
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Caltex slammed by Fair Work Ombudsman for widespread breaches of workplace laws

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released a report which found Caltex has a workplace non-compliance rate of 76 per cent of the businesses that were audited.
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Lured to her death while on call, but SafeWork SA says nurse Gayle Woodford's murder 'wasn't work-related'

The family of murdered outback nurse Gayle Woodford say they were left feeling "angry" and "insulted" by SafeWork SA's finding that her death was not work-related.
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Turnbull staffer loses job after posts about 'cheating' boyfriend NSW minister Matt Kean

A staffer to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has lost her job after using social media to accuse her boyfriend, NSW Innovation Minister Matt Kean, of infidelity.
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Turnbull government warns of 'chaos' as powerful super union takes shape

The Turnbull government has warned a merger of the militant construction and maritime unions will inflict "chaos" on Australian industry, claiming the 144,000 member-strong group will have unprecedented power over the economy and the financial firepower to shrug off fines for lawbreaking.
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CFMEU claims workers exposed to asbestos at Sydney Airport

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union claims its members have been exposed to asbestos at the T2 Sydney Airport loading dock construction project.
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'Shocking' levels of sexual harassment at work, study reveals

Fewer than a third of young Australian working women believe they are treated equally to men, according to a landmark new survey.
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What makes someone more likely to be bullied at work and how companies can help them

Being bullied as a child, being female, young, and neurotic are significant predictors of whether you might be bullied in the workplace, our online anonymous survey shows.
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Auditing, matching pay and accountability will close the gender pay gap: study

Taking action such as correcting like-for-like pay gaps, analysing performance pay and reporting the results to company boards are effective in closing the gender pay gap, new research shows.
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ACT Government Introduces Bill to Tackle Overpayment and Workplace Privacy Concerns

The Bill provides for employer deductions from an employee's salary where an overpayment has occurred. The Bill also addresses workplace privacy concerns.
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28th February 2018

Capture the (union's) flag

Building contractors stuck between a rock and a hardhat regarding the display of building association insignia on building sites
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"Casual" employee awarded 15 years of annual leave

In this case the Federal Circuit Court determined that an employee whom the employer purported was a casual employee, was in fact permanent and was owed a payment in lieu of notice and 15 years' worth of annual leave payments.
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The #MeToo Movement: When Employees Take Their Complaints to Social Media

As we are all aware, the news has been populated with stories concerning allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, particularly in the entertainment and media industries as well as government institutions.
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Worker 'seriously injured' at Brisbane construction site, school pick-up impacted

A worker has been "seriously injured" at a Brisbane construction site, leading to police closing the surrounding road and affecting the pick-up run at a local school.
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'I can't let you work if you're not paid up' - union demand slammed

The national construction union has been fined more than $100,000 for stopping two people from working on a Melbourne construction site because their union membership fees had not been paid.
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NSW helps shrink the gender pay gap

The pay disparity between men and women in NSW shrank more than in any state last year, helping to reduce the Australia-wide gender pay gap to the narrowest it's been in over a decade.
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Women in rural workplaces struggle against the `boys club' that leads to harassment

A culture of male dominance in rural Australian workplaces is a key explainer for the high rate of sexual harassment.
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Is faster profit growth essential for a pick-up in wages growth?

Do higher profits necessarily lead to higher wages? The answer, as borne out by the data, might surprise you.
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Is it OK for bosses to shout at their employees?

A study recently published by the Harvard Business Review, Is It OK to Yell at Your Employees? cited a list of famous people from all walks of life - sports, business, science, music, and others - whose trademark method of getting things done has been the raised, angry, voice directed at subordinates.
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What Australia can learn from Fiji in reducing the working poor

Labor's calls to raise the minimum wage or other pushes to implement a universal basic income ignore Australia's system of supporting low-paid workers in other, more important, ways.
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'We paid you $35,000 and we got nothing': Migration business investigated for alleged visa rip-off

A businessman who has been photographed posing with several Australian politicians is under investigation for allegedly charging would-be migrants tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for skilled working visas they never received.
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Victoria Police need to 'own' culture change on misconduct probes: senior officer says

A senior member of Victoria Police has admitted officers need to be more transparent in responding to allegations of abuse or misconduct, but warned against using "carpetbagger lawyers" to "lecture" them on reform.
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Ban on sex in the citadel misses the point

What a silly and undignified mess our upstanding political dignitaries have led us into.
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21st February 2018

Key cases that transformed the legal landscape in 2017 - and how they will impact your business

With 2017 now behind us, it is timely to reflect upon significant decisions in the past year which will impact your business.
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Absence of work-wages bargain crucial for Fair Work Commission in concluding that an Uber driver was not an employee

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently handed down a decision[1] which concluded that an Uber driver was not an employee for the purposes of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), but an independent contractor, meaning that his unfair dismissal application was dismissed.
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Here are the 120 employers that received the gender equality approval stamp

One hundred and twenty Australian organisations have received an employer of choice stamp of approval from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) today.
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ATO memo urges staff to dob in colleagues who take long lunches: Is this "the absolute worst" approach employers can take?

Australian Taxation Office staff were sent a memo last year urging them to dob in colleagues who waste time spending too long reading the paper at work or taking long lunches, but one human resources expert says this approach is a recipe for disaster.
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School principals at higher risk of burnout, depression due to workplace stress, survey finds

One in five school principals is overwhelmed by workplace stress, a survey has found, with an expert saying the results point to a "looming crisis".
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Some of us are just completely useless in an office argument

As a young child I had a habit of watching strangers argue and weep. I can remember often stopping and gaping, transported by mortification as two people seethed and reddened in front of me, incensed by some slight or act of selfishness (or the accusation thereof).
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Banning relationships is a bridge too far for most workplaces

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's new code of conduct banning relationships between ministers and their staff is tougher than you would find in most workplaces.
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What happens when employees are fired for complaining at work

It's illegal for an employer to fire an employee for complaining under the Fair Work Act, but in a study of 30 courts cases we found it's difficult for employees to prove they have been fired because of complaining or questioning their employer.
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NAB workers latest to fall as automation transforms the economy

Six-thousand retrenched National Australia Bank (NAB) employees start leaving from this week, largely from the bank's Melbourne head office, as software takes over increasingly complex tasks. It's the crest of a digital wave flooding through banks, financial institutions, accounting and law firms, and if you're doing a white-collar job that deals with information, you're in for a bumpy ride.
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Making Artificial Intelligence A Force For Positive Change In The Workplace

Do labor-saving and cognitive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) make life better in workplaces, do they make things boring, or do they eliminate workplaces altogether?
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14th February 2018

Mental health and workplace investigations: What are your obligations?

In recent cases from across the country, courts and tribunals have highlighted the importance of both considering the impact of workplace investigations on employees' mental health and the consequences of failing to do so.
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How to say no at work when you don't have kids

Despite a boom in flexible working, many singles say they’re still picking up the slack from colleagues with families. Career coaches are advising them to say no.
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Exploitation and underpayment of apprentice sees plumbing business in hot water with Fair Work Ombudsman

A plumbing business has been fined $100,000, and its director $21,500, after it failed to pay overtime to an apprentice and meet its record-keeping obligations.
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Are you willing to help in the workplace?

"Can I be of assistance?" You hear that a lot, often when you haven't asked for it.
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Coal miner denied workplace accident pay because of casual status leads class action

Coal miner Simon Turner is facing life on the street after a workplace accident left him disabled and destitute.
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'Masculine culture' and micro barriers still major issues for women

A greater push for gender diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is often written off as political correctness. The data tell another story.
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Weinstein Co sale halted by harassment, discrimination lawsuit

The fire sale of the Weinstein Co hit a last-minute snag on Sunday, when Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general, filed a lawsuit against the studio and its fraternal founders alleging that they repeatedly violated state and city laws barring gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and coercion.
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Why your office is beginning to look like a forest

The modern office is starting to look more like a Rainforest Cafe than a place of business.
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How to ask for a pay rise

When Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe argued that the real source of workers' unhappiness was an unwillingness to lobby for higher wages, he overlooked a key tenet of negotiation: we negotiate most successfully when we have highly valued (and scarce) skills.
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A new definition of `worker' could protect many from exploitation

If we want gig workers (such as Uber drivers, Airtasker cleaners and delivery riders) to have decent working conditions, pay and hours, it may be time to consider creating a new legal category of "worker" that covers contractors as well as employees.
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Woolworths contractors underpaying cleaners in 'serious exploitation' across Tasmania, inquiry finds

A Fair Work Ombudsman inquiry into Tasmanian supermarket cleaners has found "serious exploitation" of workers and "abysmal" record keeping.
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7th February 2018

Don't know what a leader looks like? Nor do they - until they look in a mirror

Few people have many good words to say about our leaders at the moment, it seems, and faced with the absence of leadership we might think that we should heed those frequent calls to develop our leadership potential.
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SA Liberals promise $200 million apprenticeship scheme to prevent skills shortages

The SA Liberals have unveiled a plan to create 20,000 new apprenticeship places over the next four years at a cost of $200 million, to address a sharp decline in trainee positions across the state.
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13 'ye olde' phrases to impress your colleagues and butter up your boss

Clearly we need to enter 2018 with a fresh set of expressions for the workplace.
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Lululemon CEO Laurent Pontdevin steps down for unspecified misconduct

Lululemon Athletica chief executive Laurent Potdevin abruptly resigned from the yogawear seller in the wake of unspecified misconduct, leaving a leadership vacuum and a swirl of controversy in its C-suite.
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Flags and hard hat slogans banned under new building code

Enforcing a government building code which bans unions putting slogans on hard hats or displaying the Eureka Stockade flag has been compared to a game of "cat and mouse".
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Whistleblowing isn't dobbing. It supports our democracy

The proposed secrecy laws should send a collective shiver through the public service.
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German industrial workers win right to flexible hours

Industrial workers in south-western Germany have won the right to reduced working hours as part of a deal that could benefit millions of employees across the country.
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When Fluffy wants Mommy: The growing demand for pet-friendly workplaces

Employers are clamouring to attract millennials, and many of those millennials are looking for pet-friendly workplaces.
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Construction business wins unfair dismissal case after firing worker who chest-bumped a man for stealing his cowboy hat

A construction worker has been unsuccessful in his claim of unfair dismissal, after a Western Australian business fired him for his involvement in a fight over his cowboy hat, which was stolen while he was having a drink at the staff village of a construction site.
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Ten communication skills to improve work relationships

Workplaces are like families - there'll always be those whose communication style you love and others who rub you up the wrong way.
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A broken system: general pains for employers with adverse action claims

Many businesses have had to deal with the cost, disruption and trouble caused by a claim that the business has allegedly taken adverse action against an employee because the employee exercised a workplace right or had a protected attribute.
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31st January 2018

Why that difficult person you work with probably isn't a psychopath

As workplaces become increasingly difficult and damaging environments, there are plenty of articles and books on dealing with "psychopaths" among your colleagues. But psychopathy is heavily contested as a diagnostic category. And labelling a co-worker a psychopath fails to account for how our workplaces can encourage bad behaviour.
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Amazon bans salary discussions in job interviews: Should your business ask applicants about their pay?

The US arm of retail giant Amazon has reportedly banned managers from asking prospective employees about their salary histories during the hiring process, in a move designed to encourage pay equity between men and women.
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The Surprisingly Personal Reason Google's CEO Doesn't Regret Firing James Damore

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Sundar Pichai emphasized the importance of getting more women represented in tech.
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HSBC in Australia has trialled 'doona days', and 1400 of 1800 staff took one up

Feel like calling in, pulling a sickie and burrowing back under the covers for the rest of the day? You’re not alone. And many companies have come to the conclusion that you shouldn’t have to resort to faking illness just to take a day away from the daily grind of getting up, getting there and getting the work done.
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Reality check: What you say outside of work can impact your employment

In recent years there have been a string of high profile examples where somebody has found themselves in hot water at work for comments made in their personal capacity.
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NZ: 90 day trial periods – soon to change for some employers

The Labour-led Government has announced that the use of 90 day trial periods will be prohibited for any business that employs more than 19 employees.
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Unlawful discrimination in the workplace – Employers' exposure widens

To create an environment free from unlawful discrimination, bullying and harassment, employers know they should be prepared to recognise and prevent conduct which might give rise to these complaints in the workplace. But what employers need to also know now is that acting on bad behaviour can itself be unlawful, where that behaviour is a function of an injury or illness.
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Why unions are furious about the blocked Sydney train strike

While the New South Wales government and some commuters might breathe a sigh of relief, the cancellation of a strike that met all the requirements for protected industrial action will provide fresh impetus to unions’ Change the Rules campaign to strengthen collective bargaining rights.
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Navigating the new industrial manslaughter laws

The new and very serious offence of “Industrial Manslaughter” was introduced to Queensland on 23 October 2017, when the Queensland Parliament passed the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (“Act”). The Act represents the Palaszczuk government’s response to recommendations contained in the report commissioned in response to the workplace fatalities that occurred at Dreamworld and Eagle Farm racecourse in late 2016.
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Australia’s workplace relations system is broken

Australia’s workplace relations system is broken — it is not optimally serving the interests of employees, employers, the public or our national economy. The rail dispute in Sydney this week is an example of just one small part of the broader problem with a system that is no longer fit for purpose.
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Decline in strike action linked to slow wages growth

The failure of many Australian workers to get a real pay rise has been linked to a decline in industrial action, including strikes. The findings follow the Fair Work Commission's decision last week to stop Sydney train workers from taking industrial action including restrictions on overtime and a one-day strike on Monday because it could damage the economy.
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24th January 2018

Why this chief executive pretended to be a man on LinkedIn

In a post on Mumbrella this week, Andrea Myles recounts how she changed her identity on the networking platform and added a stock image of a male chief executive as her profile picture. She wanted to conduct a “social experiment” after being “pissed” at the number of inappropriate communications she had received through LinkedIn direct messages.
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“It’s ridiculous”: Small business community hits back at claims private sector discourages staff from taking sick leave

Council of Small Business Australia chief executive Peter Strong says claims that some firms in the private sector are stopping workers from taking sick leave are “ridiculous”, after figures on staff absenteeism showed corporate workers take less leave on average than their public service counterparts.
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CEOs plan to hire more without paying much more

Businesses are expecting more sales, profits, capital investment and employment growth than at any time since 2012. The annual Australian Industry Group survey of 269 chief executives finds 155 expect to put on more staff in 2018 and only 34 plan to lose staff. It's the first time in six years more companies have planned to hire than fire.
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Enterprise bargaining collapse a likely cause of wages weakness: think tank

A collapse in private sector enterprise bargaining risks undermining Australia's industrial relations system and is likely to be a key factor in record low wages growth, a think tank has warned. Recent figures from the Department of Employment showed a huge decline in the number of private sector employees covered by enterprise agreements during the September quarter.
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Teen firefighting volunteer taped to truck was regularly targeted by Eaglehawk colleagues, CFA finds

The assault of a 17-year-old girl at a central Victorian fire brigade last year was "not an isolated event", but an example of cultural problems at the station, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) has found.
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Uber drivers not employees according to the Fair Work Commission

The FWC examined the relationship against the traditional indicia of control, exclusivity of work, and the workers provision of their own tools of trade and found that while Uber exercises control over fares, including minimum trip fees and surge pricing, most of the commonly regarded employment indicia were missing.
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Employer liable for compensation even without formalised employment contract

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has found in Sutherland and Comcare (Compensation) [2017] AATA 2596 that evidence of an employer-employee relationship before a formalised employment contract has been executed is sufficient for the employer to be liable for workers' compensation—a decision that may impact future claims in Western Australia.
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Sexual Harrassment in the post-Weinstein age - What is next for employers?

Given the extensive coverage of this issue, with it becoming a social media staple and the subject of many "barbecue stopper" conversations, it is unlikely that the impact of these events will be confined to the media and entertainment industries. As such, an increase in complaints of sexual harassment is on the cards for 2018, with aggrieved employees emboldened after seeing that power, status and position don't confer a licence to engage in such behaviour with impunity.
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Term contracts: What you need to know

A recent decision of a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has opened the door to employees on maximum term contracts bringing unfair dismissal claims by overturning the principle that the expiry of a term contract is not a termination at the initiative of the employer
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17th January 2018

Inside the growing movement for small businesses to boycott the Australia Day holiday on January 26

As millions of Aussies prepare to fire up the barbie ahead of Australia Day, there’s a growing band of businesses that won’t be joining them.
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Bias in reference checks means it's time we looked for an alternative

As much as we'd like to think we've refined the hiring process over the years to carefully select the best candidate for the job, bias still creeps in.
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Public servants face wage cut in real terms as inflation set to rise

Rising costs of living are set to squeeze public servants' household budgets as wage rises fail to keep pace with growing inflation expected to bite next year.
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Sydney train commuters warned to prepare for more disruptions as services cut

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has described Sydney's train network as "a work in progress" on her first day back in the office for 2018.
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Room for uncertainty: a new approach to fixed term contracts?

Since 2006, employers had significant comfort in the Federal Commission’s view that they “are entitled to structure their affairs, including the contracts they offer to employees, in the way that they think best suits their interests”...
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6 New Year’s resolutions for your business – Legal tips for development and success

The start of the calendar year is a great time for businesses to take stock of their current practices, policies and documentation in order to identify potential risks and opportunities for improvement. We have compiled a brief checklist of critical (but often overlooked) items, to assist in your reflection on your business’ current practices.
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For women fighting the gender pay gap discrimination law is limited

If women discover they are earning less than their male counterparts for the same jobs, their legal avenues for pursuing equal pay are limited. It’s difficult to prove and costly to litigate.
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Targeting hidden roots of workplace harassment is key to fulfilling Oprah’s promise to girls

The #MeToo movement was on full display at this year’s Golden Globes, where stars wore black to show solidarity. Among them was Oprah Winfrey, who, in accepting a lifetime achievement award, paid tribute to the women who dared tell their truth, assuring “all the girls watching” that “a new day is on the horizon.”
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The appeal of the ‘flat’ organisation – why some firms are getting rid of middle managers

The trend of “flat” organisations is catching on at some of the world’s biggest companies. It’s easy to see the appeal when you think of a utopia where everyone in an organisation has a say and can act autonomously.
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Why it's best to not hammer the ghosts of contemptible colleagues past

Sometimes I sit down to write this weekly treatise and say to myself "OK, time to discuss that time when I worked at [organisation redacted] and I was with [name redacted] in a meeting and he [insufferable but not illegal activity redacted]!"
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Indigenous woman sacked after making racial discrimination complaint

A Queensland Indigenous woman sacked two days after filing an official complaint about racism is taking a government-funded domestic violence organisation to the workplace watchdog.
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10th January 2018

How mobile working ruins work-life balance – unless you’ve got a good manager

30% of office workers could work from any location for at least part of their working week in 2016. This figure is expected to rise to 70% in the next few years. These are mobile workers.
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Bias creeps into reference checks, so is it time to ditch them?

As much as we’d like to think we’ve refined the hiring process over the years to carefully select the best candidate for the job, bias still creeps in.
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Casual conversion provisions: What do they mean for Victorian government employment?

One of the main ways unions in Australia have been able to limit casual work has been by inserting casual conversion clauses in awards and enterprise agreements.
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Heading back to the office? Bring these plants with you to fight formaldehyde (and other nasties)

Office buildings, where many Australians spend much of their time, can cause real health issues.
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Staff must feel safe when taking harassment allegations to human resources

The allegations against Craig McLachlan this week are a reminder of the rash of workplace sexual-harassment claims in the media and entertainment industry over the past year or more.
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The best time of day - and year - to work most effectively

They say timing is everything. Yet when it comes to how we work, it's often not given much thought at all.
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Homeless centre cleaners lose jobs after St Vincent de Paul NSW ditches contractor

Homeless centre cleaners lose jobs after St Vincent de Paul NSW ditches contractor.
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Iceland has mandated equal pay and Australia has to take note

Hats off to Iceland. On New Years Day the island nation became the first in the world to slap companies with fines if they pay a woman less than a man, because it is illegal.
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Unions to fight rise of casual work in major industrial relations battle

Unions are preparing to fight the rise of casual employment, setting up a bitter battle with industry groups in a showdown affecting millions of Australian workers.
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Good bosses who give workers a voice the key to a vibrant democracy

When you go to work, does your employer tell you what to do and expect you to do it? Or do they instead ask you what you think the company should be doing to improve its operations and become more efficient?
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20th December 2017

Rupert Murdoch dismisses Fox News sexual harassment allegations as 'largely political'

Rupert Murdoch has called sexual misconduct allegations within Fox News "nonsense" and "largely political".
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Nurse stood down for racist social media rant, employment lawyer says breaches are common

A nurse has been stood down from his hospital job in northern WA following an expletive-filled, racist rant on social media that threatened violence against children.
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Business conditions drop sharply as profits unwind, while wages apparently edge up

It might not be a crisis in confidence yet, but Australian business is becoming increasingly pessimistic about its immediate future.
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Dismissal of Senior Local Government Employees: Guidance from the Full Bench

The WA Industrial Relations Commission has held that failing to comply with section 5.37 of the Local Government Act 1995 (WA) when dismissing a senior local government employee does not render the decision to dismiss invalid.
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How to retain employees? Now is the time to listen

Sourcing and hiring new employees can be a time-consuming exercise. However, observing a number of simple steps could see employers putting this time to better use.
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Changing jobs because of annoying workers

We know managers can be so upsetting for some that workers leave and find new jobs. But what about co-workers? Have annoying workers led you to change jobs?
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Retail workers campaign against abuse from customers

Michelle Hooper is among one in nine retail and fast food workers who have been verbally abused by a customer in the past 12 months.
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Low wage rises have become routine. Here's why

An entire year without a pay rise? Prepare for another one, next year.
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Uniting Church concerned about ATO not safeguarding holiday workers

The Uniting Church has criticised the Australian Tax Office for failing to provide a safeguard against employers that illegally underpay backpackers and avoid paying enough tax.
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Secret Woolworths deal with Shoppies union cuts wages

The conservative union at the centre of a massive wages scandal has struck an extraordinary secret deal with Woolworths to hide from public scrutiny the pay rates of supermarket workers.
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What Ryanair’s recognition of unions means for the future of the airline

Having once threatened to “cut off his own hands” rather than sign a deal with a trade union, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary’s decision to recognise pilot unions on December 15 is a massive U-turn. But it was deemed necessary to stop the threat of pilot strikes over the busy Christmas period.
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13th December 2017

Special Leave Application Explores Employer’s Liability Regarding System of Work – Is it Better to Speak Up?

A Special Leave Application (‘Application’) was filed with the High Court in respect of Mr Ryan Briggs work injury damages claim dealing with the alleged negligence of the NSW Police Force (‘the Defendant’) and its response to his disclosure to Inspector Sipos that he was struggling his direct manager.
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New whistleblower protection laws hit parliament in Australia

After a long period of consultation, the Australian Government has tabled a Bill aimed at improving protection for whistleblowers in the corporate, financial, credit and tax sectors. If passed, the new legislation will usher in a range of changes, including a requirement that public companies and large private companies implement internal whistleblower policies.
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Governance and workplace relations and safety: What does the board need to know?

The role of a director is getting increasingly difficult and onerous. There is a tension between allowing management to address and deal with the operations of the business and the legal obligations imposed on directors which require that they sometimes delve deep into operational matters. This can cause conflict with management but also with the director who may perceive their best contribution differently. The obligations of directors when it comes to safety are well known but those associated with the engagement of a workforce for the business are not so well known but increasingly the focus of regulators.
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From cyber space with love: managing social media risks

Social media in the age of post-truth is the second most likely trend bound to affect organisational reputations. Multi-faceted and unpredictable, the social media risk landscape can challenge the most tech-savvy organisations. In our experience advising organisations, key exposures can be grouped into three categories: employee-related risks, IP issues and reputational damage.
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Amazon’s track record may signal a change in Australian industrial relations

Amazon’s entry to Australia signals a wider and worrying trend in worker relations. The company’s model, resting on heavy automation, means fewer low and middle skill jobs. Like other multinational companies that enter the Australian marketplace, Amazon will have different industrial relations practices and this could signal changes in union relations.
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Employment outlook strongest in six years

The looming new year looks likely to see a downturn in unemployment, as hiring expectations in Australia finish off FY2017 at a six-year high, according to new figures.
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Law allowing bosses to sack pregnant women to be abolished

A legal exemption allowing employers to sack or refuse to hire a woman who knew she was pregnant when she applied for a job will be abolished. Two subsections in the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 allow employers to fire women who knew, or ought to have known, they were pregnant when they applied for a job.
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NSW Labor commits to extending paid domestic violence leave to 10 days

This would entitle every worker in every NSW workplace to take 10 days' (non-accumulative) paid domestic violence leave each year.
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Businesses warned against sponsoring union picnic day

Businesses have been warned it could be illegal for them to sponsor the donkey ride, sausage sizzle, climbing wall, children's face painting, the petting zoo or toy train at a family picnic day organised by trade unions.
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The most common dodgy work expense claims made by Australians

More than half of Australian employees (58 per cent) think it's okay to fudge their work expense claims as long as they are sensible about it, according to global research. Among the more outrageous claims made are for anniversary dinners and condoms, according to a survey by expense management software maker webexpenses.
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6th December 2017

All I want for Christmas…is legal protection from vicarious liability

Christmas is nearly upon us and everyone in the workplace is looking forward to kicking back and celebrating the end of another busy year. Everyone, that is, except for Human Resources – who are tasked with the unenviable job of attempting to navigate the legal minefields scattered throughout the festive season, without being branded the office Fun Police.
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Terminating employment during the probation period

Many employers believe that if they terminate an employee during the employee’s probation period, they will be protected from any claim. This is not necessarily correct
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Keep your cool—a review of the Commissions' approach to workplace aggression

As the High Court prepares to examine whether employers need to protect employees from psychological damage caused by investigations into workplace assault, it is timely to examine our employment Commissions' views on when aggressive workplace behaviour justifies dismissal.
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Deducting pay where an employee fails to give sufficient notice

As part of its four yearly review of modern awards, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has recently considered whether a clause found in many modern awards allowing employers to make deductions from an employee’s termination pay (where the employee fails to give sufficient notice of resignation) should be removed, changed or included in all modern awards.
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23 redundancies with no consultation? Federal Court says ‘that’s OK’

An employer decides to abolish 23 full-time positions due to a lack of funding. Surely this is a major change likely to have a significant effect on employees which obliges the employer to consult with those employees as per the consultation term in their enterprise agreement?
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Name-and-shame website for dodgy employers launches, but does Australia really need one?

Concerns about underpayments in the hospitality sector have been big news in 2017. From cases involving high-profile celebrity chefs to those in fast food franchises, there’s been no shortage of examples of employees being underpaid their entitlements this year. But is a union-backed website for naming and shaming employers the best way to ensure workers are paid properly?
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Despite Weinstein, Burke and more, little has changed inside the ordinary workplace

Amber Harrison asked her Twitter followers this week to imagine if her story had dropped now, "then in response a gang of rich powerful men, running a massive media company, used a court process and PR teams to attack and silence one woman. How would that have played out in the current climate."
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Technology to transform the way we teach and learn

Technological transformation may consign scores of current professions to the dustbin of history. But it will spawn plenty of new occupations, from privacy guardian to chief ethics officer, career transitionist and avatar personality designer, a University of NSW forum heard last week.
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New report: Australian businesses are losing staff over lack of future opportunities

A new report has found 1 in 10 staff members are voluntarily resigning from their positions after Australian organisations are failing to offer meaningful career development opportunities for employees.
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Performance and conduct issues for employees raising mental illness

Around 45% of Australians aged between 16 and 85 will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, and 1 in 5 Australian adults will experience a mental illness in any given year.[1] Therefore, it is very likely that from time to time an employer will need to performance manage an employee who is experiencing a mental illness.
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Apple's Diversity Chief Is Leaving After Six Months

Apple's Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Denise Young Smith, is leaving the company at the end of the year. Young Smith is an Apple veteran who has been with the company since 1997, most recently serving as human resources chief before taking her diversity position in May. In October, she faced backlash for ill-advised comments on diversity at a panel alongside prominent activists DeRay Mckesson and Michael Hastings.
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Vodafone fuels new course to tackle AU's low female STEM employment rate

A recent inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training has found that participation in STEM subjects in Australian schools is declining. Enrolment in these subjects is at its lowest level in 20 years, with particularly low levels of participation in STEM education and employment by Australian girls and women. Setting out to do something about it, Vodafone has teamed up with Australian technology educator, Coder Academy, to deliver a technology course for year 9 and 10 female students.
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29th November 2017

CU LAB: Uncovering conflicts of interest - what can you ask?

The conversations required to uncover conflicts of interest can sometimes be difficult and awkward. Hedy Cray gives some pointers in negotiating this potentially hazardous terrain.
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Employees should know their legal rights in the workplace

The recent row over a young woman who was dismissed soon after making a sexual harassment complaint to a large media firm's HR department highlights the need for everyone to know their legal rights in the workplace.
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So your company values look great on the wall? Now what?

Once you have passed the test and created the right values for your company, what do you do?
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Queensland businesses could be hit with $200 million in back-pay claims from apprentices: SMEs urged to review staff records

Small businesses are being urged to seek advice and check records of former employees after a Federal Court decision on the wages of apprentices in Queensland will mean these workers must be paid under the federal award, rather than at state-based award levels.
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As claims against Don Burke continue, here's what employers can do to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace

The need for businesses to act swiftly on allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination - and in fact, prevent such behaviour from occurring in the first place - has once again been brought to the fore this week following serious allegations levelled at former TV presenter Don Burke.
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First aid's mental health battle is big

Ellison Bloomfield knows that immersing herself in the stories of individuals who have benefited from mental health first aid training is a gratifying way to raise awareness.
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Fresh meat: How major supermarket supplier churns migrant staff to boost profits

One of the largest meat suppliers to Woolworths, Coles and Aldi, is using hundreds of migrant workers, who are living in a network of overcrowded boarding houses in Tamworth.
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Bidder for harassment-rocked Weinstein Company pushes for women-led board

Maria Contreras-Sweet, who led the US Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama, has submitted a bid to acquire the Weinstein Co., the embattled film studio grappling with multiple allegations of sexual harassment or assault against its former co-chairman, Harvey Weinstein.
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Think robots will take your job? Here's why that won't happen

The tale of new technologies causing the death of work is the prophecy that keeps on giving.
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WA beekeeper program facing axe despite sweet success for youth unemployment

Homeless and unemployed for nearly four years, 22-year old Noongar woman Lavinia Jones was facing a downward spiral.
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Australian workers gift $130b to employers through unpaid overtime, finds report

Australian workers are donating an estimated $130 billion a year to their employers through unpaid overtime, according to a leading workplace thinktank.
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'Silent underclass' of international students, backpackers underpaid, study finds

International students, backpackers and migrants who work in hospitality, cleaning services or fruit-picking are being chronically underpaid, new research has found.
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22nd November 2017

If living company values comes easily they are the wrong values

We all know that company values are critical to any organisation committed to team alignment and engagement. They are put in place to guide internal behaviour and drive a successful culture.
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Employees behaving badly - what can you do as an employer?

What employees do in their private lives is usually not something an employer needs to worry about. But what happens when an employee's private life starts to have an impact on the workplace?
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Employer vindicated by finding that employee not pressured to resign

In a decision of Deputy President Anderson of the Fair Work Commission on 29 June 2017 in an unfair dismissal case the threshold question was whether there was jurisdiction to entertain an unfair dismissal case or whether the employee had resigned.
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When is reinstatement likely? An inmate escaped, but the correctional services officer kept his job

Although reinstatement is supposed to be the "primary remedy" in unfair dismissal cases, it happens relatively rarely, often because the employee doesn't really want to return to work for the employer, or because the relationship has broken down completely, so that putting employer and employee together again will be futile.
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Gamification: Why employers are embracing games in the workplace

Video games might once have been considered the territory of children or teenagers, but a recent study has found at least a third of us have played games in the workplace to gain knowledge.
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Why millennials are getting stuck in low-paid jobs for longer

Brendan Evans' introduction to working life will feel familiar to many. A trolley boy at 14, then a pizza boy at 16, he now works as a kitchenhand at The Dunkirk pub in the inner-Sydney suburb of Pyrmont.
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Cost cutting hurting workers, and the economy, Reserve Bank says

Relentless cost cutting by businesses has kept wage growth at record lows and stifled the economy, the Reserve Bank says.
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'Silent underclass' of international students, backpackers underpaid, study finds

International students, backpackers and migrants who work in hospitality, cleaning services or fruit-picking are being chronically underpaid, new research has found.
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Kathy Jackson faces trial over alleged $470,000 Health Services Union fraud

Former union leader and one-time whistleblower Kathy Jackson has pleaded not guilty to misappropriating more than $470,000 from the Health Services Union to pay for personal flights, hotel accommodation and other expenses, and been committed to stand trial.
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Wage theft endemic across Australia

A landmark study has found wage theft is endemic across Australia with a quarter of international students and a third of backpackers earning $12 or less per hour, around half the legal minimum wage.
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International student sacked for asking for legal hours and rates of pay

The first time international student Amy (not her real name) was sacked from a job was when she was too busy with her studies to work more than 20 hours per week as required by her boss late last year.
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Macquarie US executive seeks $53m in sexual harassment claim

Robert Ansell, head of US cash equities for Macquarie Group, left the bank weeks before a colleague alleged in a lawsuit that she was pressured into having an affair with him.
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15th November 2017

If living company values comes easily they are the wrong values

We all know that company values are critical to any organisation committed to team alignment and engagement. They are put in place to guide internal behaviour and drive a successful culture.
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Employees behaving badly - what can you do as an employer?

What employees do in their private lives is usually not something an employer needs to worry about. But what happens when an employee's private life starts to have an impact on the workplace?
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Employer vindicated by finding that employee not pressured to resign

In a decision of Deputy President Anderson of the Fair Work Commission on 29 June 2017 in an unfair dismissal case the threshold question was whether there was jurisdiction to entertain an unfair dismissal case or whether the employee had resigned.
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When is reinstatement likely? An inmate escaped, but the correctional services officer kept his job

Although reinstatement is supposed to be the "primary remedy" in unfair dismissal cases, it happens relatively rarely, often because the employee doesn't really want to return to work for the employer, or because the relationship has broken down completely, so that putting employer and employee together again will be futile.
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Gamification: Why employers are embracing games in the workplace

Video games might once have been considered the territory of children or teenagers, but a recent study has found at least a third of us have played games in the workplace to gain knowledge.
Read more

Why millennials are getting stuck in low-paid jobs for longer

Brendan Evans' introduction to working life will feel familiar to many. A trolley boy at 14, then a pizza boy at 16, he now works as a kitchenhand at The Dunkirk pub in the inner-Sydney suburb of Pyrmont.
Read more

Cost cutting hurting workers, and the economy, Reserve Bank says

Relentless cost cutting by businesses has kept wage growth at record lows and stifled the economy, the Reserve Bank says.
Read more

'Silent underclass' of international students, backpackers underpaid, study finds

International students, backpackers and migrants who work in hospitality, cleaning services or fruit-picking are being chronically underpaid, new research has found.
Read more

Kathy Jackson faces trial over alleged $470,000 Health Services Union fraud

Former union leader and one-time whistleblower Kathy Jackson has pleaded not guilty to misappropriating more than $470,000 from the Health Services Union to pay for personal flights, hotel accommodation and other expenses, and been committed to stand trial.
Read more

Wage theft endemic across Australia

A landmark study has found wage theft is endemic across Australia with a quarter of international students and a third of backpackers earning $12 or less per hour, around half the legal minimum wage.
Read more

International student sacked for asking for legal hours and rates of pay

The first time international student Amy (not her real name) was sacked from a job was when she was too busy with her studies to work more than 20 hours per week as required by her boss late last year.
Read more

Macquarie US executive seeks $53m in sexual harassment claim

Robert Ansell, head of US cash equities for Macquarie Group, left the bank weeks before a colleague alleged in a lawsuit that she was pressured into having an affair with him.
Read more

15th November 2017

Future work: why machines won't generate mass unemployment

Technological change has long been a source of anxiety for workers. Today, improvements in communications, robotics and machine intelligence are rekindling age-old concerns that technology will soon force millions of people out of work. But the doomsayers who claim machines will generate mass unemployment are misreading the signs.
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Australian companies should cultivate local tech workers not play the 457 visa game

Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes have argued that Australia needs to keep schemes like the 457 visa to enable companies like theirs to bring workers from the United States because they can’t find them locally. The irony of this is that the founders were reportedly University of New South Wales dropouts. Neither finished a degree before founding a company that is today worth nearly US$12 billion (A$15.62 billion). And they achieved all of this in Australia with no previous tech experience.
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How the 'yes' vote will impact workers and HR

The conclusive “yes” outcome is great news for millions of Australians and the 841 corporations that support marriage equality. However, the struggle continues to build inclusive workplaces in which all staff feel valued and that they belong.
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Public shaming of workplace harassers may force employers to stop protecting them

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, a growing number of workplace harassment victims have decided to go public. Since this used to be pretty rare, it marks an important shift. Along with the torrent of harassment revelations through the #MeToo Twitter hashtag, employees have gone public with harassment accusations against top figures in journalism, state politics, the restaurant industry and even the labor movement.
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Why Australia shouldn’t fear a wave of trade protectionism

A rollback of free trade agreements could lead to a loss of 270,000 Australian jobs and a reduction in household incomes by around A$8,500 a year, according to a report released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). But this is an incomplete picture of the factors that affect trade, both now and into the future.
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The changing face of trade unions

As part of a new breed of union leaders reversing the tide of declining membership, 33-year-old Natalie Lang spends more time campaigning in favour of marriage equality and paid domestic violence leave than she does on bargaining with employers on wages and conditions. As the secretary of the Australian Services Union NSW & ACT branch since 2015, Ms Lang said she has seen her membership grow 5.5 per cent in the past year – a net increase from 11,681 to 12,298 members. The union represents a broad range of industries to cover Sydney Water, airline check-in staff, IT workers, community and disability services.
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7000 school cleaners forced to reapply for their jobs

The NSW department of Finance Services and Innovation has notified United Voice, the union representing the cleaners, that employment guarantees in place since 1994 "will not be extended in the new contracts from 2018".
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A Merry Little Christmas? The holiday season and managing risk for employers

The workplace in this day and age does not necessarily comprise of the four walls of the building where staff spend their time during business hours. This is in part why the activities of staff at employer endorsed Christmas functions should be of concern to employers.
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Support persons and disciplinary meetings - employers' top questions answered

One factor the Fair Work Commission takes into account when deciding if a dismissal was unfair is whether the employer unreasonably refused to allow the former employee to have a support person present to assist at any discussions relating to dismissal. How this works in reality can be difficult for employers. This article answers the top questions we deal with in relation to the participation of support persons in important (and often stressful) employment related discussions.
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Beware of repudiating the employment contract of an employee who intends to jump ship and join your competitor

Your employee resigns to join your arch rival. You’re not worried because you know you have ‘water tight’ post-employment restraints in the contract of employment. But, if in reacting to the employee’s untimely resignation, you breach the contract and this breach amounts to a repudiation of the contract, then your restraints will be unenforceable.
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Employment Law Myth No 6: If I pay them a salary, the award does not apply

It is a common misconception that where an annual salary is paid, the award no longer applies. This is not the case.
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New WA bill proposes increase to compensation for workers' dependants

The Workers' Compensation and Injury Management Amendment Bill 2017 was recently introduced to the Legislative Assembly of Western Australian Parliament. The proposed amendments aim to improve compensation for workers' dependants under the State's scheme
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8th November2017

Robots threaten few jobs: Australian Human Resources Institute

HR is skeptical of doomsday reports over automation but they could be ceding the workplace agenda to technologists.
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There are five applicants for every entry-level job in Australia: Here’s how your SME can find the best candidate

For small businesses with limited HR departments, the sheer volume of job seekers can be intimidating when it comes to finding the right hire. Human resources experts say separating out hundreds of similar CVs to find the candidate that will be the best for match for both the employee and employer is the most time-consuming element of recruitment.
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Why Toll has been ordered to pay a worker $42,000 after he requested full-time work

The Federal Court of Australia has ordered logistics business Toll Transport to pay a worker more than $42,000 after finding the company was wrong to refuse his request for full-time employment.
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Experts Warn Amazon Will Stumble On Major Logistics And Hr Issues In Oz

Key retail-industry experts have warned that Amazon could stumble on major industrial relations, human resources, logistics and pricing issues when launching in Australia, given the significant differences in regulation compared to the United States.
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Three charts on: disability discrimination in the workplace

Only 53% of Australians with disability are employed, compared to 83% of all working-age people. Australia ranks 21st out of 29 OECD nations when it comes to employment rates for people with a disability. But looking at the data reveals an even darker story – complaints about disability discrimination are the largest category of discrimination reported to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), and the numbers have been steady for around 20 years. Lower employment levels translate into Australians with disability living in poverty at the highest rates in the OECD.
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Research shows hiring older workers is a smart move

New research shows the secret to creating an age-friendly workplace is to take age out of the equation.
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Two of my employees are in a close personal relationship. Is it any of my business?

Two recent situations which gained a lot of media attention have raised the question of whether an employer can intervene in such a relationship, or even forbid personal relationships between employees. These cases also highlight some of the employment and management risks arising from relationships between colleagues.
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Robbery, but not under arms: did the safety policy apply?

In the recent case of Mistry v Woolworths (Fair Work Commission, 2017), Mr Mistry made an unfair dismissal application when his employment was terminated, because when he was confronted by a would-be robber at a petrol station, he failed to follow a policy intended to protect the safety of employees and customers.
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Bargaining power in favour of employers – really?

According to the Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor, (collective) bargaining power has tilted too much in favour of employers. This would rankle many an employer who, amongst other things, would feel the intense irony of Labor asserting that its workplace law, The Fair Work Act (The Act) carries employer bias.
A key tenet of Shadow Minister O’Connor’s National Press Club speech is that employers are “gaming” the Act. He relies on the example of an employer that sought to outsource work and have the services performed by a third party. Hardly remarkable. So what might employers say about this? In what ways do unions “game” the Act? Here’s a short list. Some involve taking advantage of existing laws and are therefore legal. Some are not.
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Raft of changes to the Occupational Health & Safety Act commence in Victoria

Changes to the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004 (Vic.) (OHS Act) recently came into effect. The amendments were introduced under the WorkSafe Legislation Amendment Act 2017, which was passed by the Victorian Parliament in September, however, most of the key changes to the OHS Act did not commence operation until recently.
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Liability for franchisors and holding companies for breaches of vulnerable workers legislation

Vulnerable Workers Legislation enforced 27 October 2017. The Federal Government's Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 has now passed Parliament. This legislation was promised by the Coalition in the 2016 election. Some of the legislation, dealing with payslips and record keeping, takes effect immediately. The maximum penalties for offences involving payslips and record keeping have doubled, to $12,600 per contravention for individuals, and $63,000 for companies. For serious contraventions (where the offender knowingly contravened the law, and the contravention was systematic), the penalties are 10 times as much.
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1st November2017

Cindy Gallop urges agency bosses to protect victims and whistleblowers

Cindy Gallop wants agency leaders and the industry to step up and provide a safety net for those that have been victims of sexual harassment in Australian agencies.
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Experts back Richard Branson’s call that telecommuting benefits everyone

Australian researchers have backed Richard Branson’s calls for more work-at-home flexibility for parents with young children, saying it would boost productivity. But bosses are not so sure.
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Women's superannuation not so super: The $120,000 gender gap

The latest breakdown of Australia's $2.3 trillion superannuation pie confirms what we have known for a long time. Men do much better out of super than women.
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Australia's 'blokey' workplaces vow to stamp out everyday sexism

Australia's 'blokey' workplaces vow to stamp out everyday sexism
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Did Westpac just mansplain gender diversity to its competitors?

Australian banking giant Westpac proudly announced a milestone in its gender equality strategy this week, with half of its 6,000 management positions now filled by women. Questions have been raised over whether the 50% women leaders is a bona fide achievement or a PR stunt.
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Census data shows just how bad we've been at closing inequality gaps

The latest round of 2016 census data shows that the gig economy has taken hold in Australia, that there has been a huge surge in fitness, beauty and barista jobs; and that even though we’re working less, women still do the most housework.
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March of the Mummies: a Halloween protest to help working mothers

Pregnant Then Screwed has organised marches across the UK to highlight the urgent need to address discrimination against women returning to work after maternity leave
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The potential cost of free labour: what makes an intern an employee?

If your business is considering taking on unpaid interns or work placement students, you can legitimately do so, but you should ensure the arrangement is structured as a vocational placement with the principal purpose of benefiting the student or worker (rather than your business).
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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? Eugenia Kolivos (Corrs IP&IT Partner) led a recent panel discussion with Dominic Price (Head of R&D and Work Futurist at Atlassian), Karl Durrance (Sales Manager at Amazon Web Services) and Angus Dorney (Senior Director & General Manager Australia and NZ at Rackspace) on what innovation means to them and how it contributes to the success of their organisations.
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25th October 2017

Farm fatality prompts warning over 'gung ho' safety attitude

A horror run of on-farm fatalities in Western Australia has prompted a warning over a lax attitude to safety in the agriculture industry.
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'Human factors' science turns to tackle improving the level of care in hospitals

It is hoped a study looking into complex human factors which can affect the medical treatment of patients will improve the provision of care in hospitals.
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Fashion retail staff spend thousands of dollars on work 'uniforms'

Every three months, Prudence Thompson would get $110 to spend on clothes at the fashion retail outlet where she worked, but she would spend double that amount to maintain her working wardrobe.
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AECOM trials 12 weeks annual leave scheme for working parents

Engineering firm AECOM will begin piloting a new program that gives employees 12 weeks annual leave, to be taken at the same time as the school holidays, so engineers with children can better manage work and family.
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Woolworths faces wave of warehouse strikes over pay and job security

Supermarket giant Woolworths faces widespread industrial strife with as many as 2000 workers to potentially go on strike in the coming weeks over pay and job security.
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7-Eleven blames franchise code for tying its hands

7-Eleven has blamed two industry codes for standing in the way of its ability to terminate agreements with franchisees that underpay workers.
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The 20 billion dollar question: mental health risks in the workplace

We know that 1 in 5 of us will suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in any one year. Of those, the three most common illnesses are anxiety disorders, depressive disorders and substance use disorders. Just under half of those diagnosed with one of these common mental illnesses in any year will have two or more disorders.
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Employment law myth no. 7: "There's no point having a restraint of trade in an employment contract"

It is a common misconception that courts don't enforce "restraints of trade" (those clauses in employment contracts preventing former employees from competing with their previous workplace, soliciting their clients and/or poaching staff).
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Tasmanian nurses fear wage rise caps will deliver lowest national pay and skills exit

Tasmanian nurses fear they will be the lowest paid in Australia if the State Government continues to cap wage rises.
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Census shows Australians working shorter weeks, but women still bear most household responsibilities

Australians are working fewer hours per week than they were in 2011, according to new 2016 Census results released today.
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Australia's employment boom bypassing entry-level job seekers, Anglicare report says

Mitchell Taylor isn't asking for the world. Just a job. Any job. Preferably something in retail.
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18th October 2017

Early bird gets the jetlag: Getting up at 7am every day can ruin your health

Waking up at 7am every day? I know what you're thinking: "Dear spoiled millennial, what's your problem? A lot of people get up much earlier than that every day and they never complain."
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How ANSTO's chief stopped women taking lower-paid jobs

Something strange was going on at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).
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Executive mentors wanted. Only millennials need apply.

Junior office workers once had a fairly predictable set of daily tasks. Write the sales memo. Build the PowerPoint. Make the coffee.
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Discrimination against older workers will cut economic growth and strain resources, institute warns

The nation is at risk of a pension crisis unless employers stop their "discrimination" against older workers, advocates for regional Australia have warned.
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It's not just Hollywood problem: 1 in 4 Australian women have been sexually harassed at work

Over the past year, I have spoken with many women who have told me their personal accounts of being harassed in the workplace.
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White men rule the business world. They still feel left out at work

More than a third of Americans in a national survey said they thought the heightened focus on diversity at work had overlooked white men, according to consultancy firm Ernst & Young.
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Harvey Weinstein case shines light on witness apathy

The allegations about Harvey Weinstein's repeated sexual assault and harassment of actresses if proved to be true warrant his condemnation and punishment.
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Amazon studio boss Roy Price resigns after harassment scandal

Roy Price resigned as the head of Amazon's movie and TV studio after a producer detailed her allegations of sexual harassment in a news report.
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NSW Police Commissioner 'turned blind eye' to allegations of homophobic bullying, tribunal told

New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller refused to investigate allegations of homophobic bullying against four gay police officers before he took the top job, a Sydney tribunal has heard.
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Women heckled, bullied in toxic culture of 'CFA boys club'

Women working in Victoria's CFA were heckled, ignored, called 'girlie' and one even contemplated suicide because of the fire agency's toxic culture of fear, bullying and sexual harassment.
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11th October 2017

Changes to workers compensation payments in NSW to hit vulnerable injured workers

The NSW government's changes to the workers compensation payments for people suffering from workplace injuries is going to leave thousands of people in dire financial difficulties.
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How employers can manage risk of sexual harassment claims

Sexual harassment claims continue to be a significant corporate governance risk for employers. Along with reputational damage, employers can be held vicariously liable for acts of sexual harassment committed by employees and be faced with having to pay substantial damages, unless employers have taken all reasonable preventative steps.
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Millennials don't have time for breakfast - so what do they have time for?

Here are four take aways a discussion on how the insurance industry can engage, attract and retain millennials.
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Fair Work Commission refers coffee franchisees to federal police over "blatantly false" EBA information

The Fair Work Commission has referred claims made by the owners of a Zarraffa's coffee franchise to the Australian Federal Police, after the full bench of the Commission this week found the franchise provided false information when it applied for an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) despite not yet having any employees.
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Harvey Weinstein sacked after sexual harassment claims

Harvey Weinstein, the Oscar-winning film producer accused of sexually harassing female employees, has been fired by the board of his company.
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Employer asks interviewee for Facebook page, but many see it as an invasion of privacy

If you're one of the final few in line for a job, chances are your prospective employer has already checked you out on Facebook.
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As sexual harassment scandals spook men, it can backfire for women

In Silicon Valley, some male investors have declined one-on-one meetings with women, or rescheduled them from restaurants to conference rooms.
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Australian women earn 87 cents to every man's dollar: OECD report

The median full-time working woman in Australia earns 87 cents to every man's dollar, new OECD research shows.
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More than 50 Jobs to go from BGC mine that services recently saved Whyalla steelworks

More than 50 jobs are set to go from an iron ore mine in South Australia's Middleback Ranges near Whyalla, according to the CFMEU.
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DPTI staff in South Australia resist 'intrusive' zero-tolerance alcohol and drug policy

A new zero-tolerance policy towards drugs and alcohol is being opposed by staff in a South Australian Government department amid concerns about plans for workplace testing and whether there's any legal authority behind the move.
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Federal Court upholds penalty rates cut for retail and hospitality workers

The Fair Work Commission's controversial decision to reduce Sunday and public holiday penalty rates has survived a Federal Court challenge in which unions argued the people most affected could least afford a pay cut.
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4th October 2017

What not to say on your work email

As our work and personal lives become more electronically intertwined, high-profile examples, like that of Channel 7 cadet reporter Amy Taeuber, illustrate the importance of understanding the potential impact e-communication can have on individuals and organisations.
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CSIRO staff concerned about senior management despite improvements in morale, communication

CSIRO staff have expressed concerns about the agency's senior leadership and strategic direction after years of job losses and budget cuts.
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'Macho culture' driving women away from Australian wine industry

Australia's peak wine body has warned the industry is losing talent and valuable skills because its macho culture is still driving women out.
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Decision time: Research shows negative influences carry more weight

Erring on the side of caution may seem logical, but is negativity playing an overwhelming role in your decision-making?
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The art of questioning for good

Questioning is about curiosity and taking an interest in people and the world in order to unlock the unknown mysteries that surround you. Children are naturally curious, but their avidity for information wears off once they encounter rules, blocks and disinterest.
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Beware increased government fines for privacy breaches

Companies should be aware of laws governing privacy breaches, consumer rights and the sending of emails, as the federal government has increased fines that could hit firms which even unwittingly break the law.
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5 reasons to update written contracts of employment

Case law shows that employers frequently neglect the importance of written contracts of employment. While enterprise agreements, modern awards and the National Employment Standards contained in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) cover off on many statutory terms of employment, it is important to remember that these statutory benefits are usually orientated in favour of employees.
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Can I see your licence please?

On 7 September 2017, the parliament of Queensland passed the Queensland Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 (the Bill), which will require any person who provides labour hire services in Queensland to obtain a licence, or face significant penalties.
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Unions sign landmark submarine building agreement

Australian unions have signed a landmark agreement with Naval Group Australia to build 12 new submarines on-time and on-budget and to protect Australian workers.
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Threat of summer boycott on Paddle Pop, Golden Gaytime and Magnum

The union representing Streets ice-cream factory workers will urge the public to boycott its products including Paddle Pop, Golden Gaytime and Magnum over the summer if the company terminates their agreement on pay and conditions.
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Does Comcare allow the Commonwealth to discriminate with impunity?

Before the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (the "Comcare Act") commenced, if a federal public servant was injured at work, they could either file a general workers' compensation claim or sue the Commonwealth in negligence. To succeed with the latter, the employee needed to establish fault on the part of the Australian Public Service, which made proceedings invariably costly and inefficient.
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27th September 2017

No women on the board? Companies warned they could face gender quotas

The Federal Government might be forced to intervene with quotas to force companies to get more women directors into boardrooms, a powerful business lobby group has warned.
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Audio recording reveals how Channel 7 cadet was dismissed soon after making harassment complaint

An extraordinary audio recording has emerged which lifts the lid on the way the Seven Network treated a young woman who made a sexual harassment complaint against an older male colleague, only to be dismissed from work soon after.
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Lawyer slams Fair Work Commission as penalty rates showdown begins in Federal Court

A union lawyer has told the Federal Court the Fair Work Commission failed to meet its legal obligations when it decided to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates.
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Channel 7 cadet: What are your rights if you make an HR complaint at work?

Allegations have been levelled against the Seven Network over the treatment of a 27-year-old cadet journalist in Adelaide. But, what are your legal rights if you make a complaint at work?
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Regional teachers: Could uni fee discounts and paid placements help bring new staff to the bush?

What would convince you to pack up your bags and move from the city to the bush?
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Labour hire crackdown

The focus on protecting vulnerable workers rages on. Fresh off the heels of new laws targeting franchisors and worker exploitation (see here), which came into effect last week, States are throwing their hat in the ring by taking on labour hire companies through new licensing requirements.
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New compliance obligations for employers and franchisors

The Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 (Act) has now come into force and increases the exposure and legal responsibilities of employers and franchisors within their franchise system.
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Take pride in your work but remember the big picture

Pride is a very natural emotion - within limits. But maybe in some organisations we don't get to experience it often enough.
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Big plans, but poor execution? How to stay on top of the promises you make

There are many reasons as to why plans may go awry, however putting in the preparatory hard yards will go some way to ensuring positive momentum and providing a buffer against unexpected events.
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Unions launch urgent bid to preserve weekend penalty rates

The living standards of low-paid workers were not taken into account by the Fair Work Commission when it decided to slash penalty rates, the hospitality workers' union has told the Federal Court.
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11 ASX 200 companies have zero women on their boards

The 40,000 directors and senior leaders who are members of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) could be put in an uncomfortable position early next year. They may be forced to accept their organisation calling for government-mandated quotas on publicly listed companies.
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Bakers Delight franchise under pressure over penalty rates, back-pay

Ava Handsley always wondered why she didn't get paid penalty rates.
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Unions to push for radical overhaul of 'joke' workplace laws to boost pay

Unions will push for a radical overhaul of Australia's workplace relations laws that would allow millions more workers to push for substantial wage increases.
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20th September 2017

Teacher awarded six-figure payout after being bullied by school principal

A NSW primary school teacher who says she attempted suicide after being bullied by her principal and isolated by her colleagues for more than a year has received a six-figure settlement from her school authority.
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Workplace Surveillance in NSW: Having a Computer Surveillance Policy is a Mandatory Requirement

There is a view in some businesses that the implementation of written workplace policies are something of a "nice to have" or an "optional extra", and are ultimately a matter of choice for the employer.
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Employment Law Myth No. 2: "You Need to Give Someone Three Warnings Before You Can Dismiss Them"

"Three strikes and you're out" may have some application to the laws of baseball, but does not generally apply in the field of employment law.
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If an employee is pregnant or on parental leave, can they still be made redundant?

Recently, the Federal Circuit Court found energy company, BOC, had unlawfully terminated the employment of a pregnant employee when they made her position redundant, two days before she was due to start parental leave.
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A new era in franchising compliance is here

The Federal Government's Protecting Vulnerable Workers Bill received the Royal Assent on 14 September 2017. With the exception of the provisions in relation to responsible franchisors (which commence on 27 October 2017), the Fair Work Amendment (Protection of Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 (Cth) (Act) commenced on Friday 15 September 2017.
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Company owner defends decision to fire worker over same-sex marriage views, despite the risk to her "business and integrity"

A legal expert has warned businesses to ensure they write down and communicate social media policies, following a Canberra business operator's decision to end an employment relationship with a contractor after she posted views opposing the legalisation of same-sex marriage on Facebook.
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Male primary school teacher numbers dropping, will be 'extinct' by 2067, study finds

The number of male teachers is dropping so dramatically there will be none left in Australian primary schools within 50 years unless governments take action, researchers say.
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Working Sydney: Part-time work rising fastest, with biggest jobs growth in Western Sydney

Working helps us pay the bills, buy food, pay the mortgage and live as comfortably as we can.
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Staff at Melbourne retirement village walk out amid unpaid wage claims

Staff at a private Melbourne retirement village have walked off the job, claiming they have not been paid in months.
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Tasmania Police admits there's more to be done to encourage women into senior ranks

Tasmania's Police Commissioner acknowledges more work is needed to encourage women to reach higher ranks in the force.
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Pregnant women, mothers 'still the target of discrimination in the workplace'

It's the overheard discussion between two professional women that has heads shaking.
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13th September 2017

New laws targeting worker exploitation set to commence

All businesses should be reviewing the way they manage the risk of underpayment and worker exploitation as the Federal Government's reforms to protect vulnerable workers are about to take effect.
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Gender imbalance in top companies remains stark, women make up only 20pc of executive leadership teams

Almost a quarter of Australia's top 200 listed companies have no women in their senior executive leadership teams, raising fresh concerns about whether corporate diversity policies are addressing gender imbalance.
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Childcare workers walk off the job, call for 35pc pay rise

At least 3,000 early childhood educators have gone on strike across the country to protest over pay and conditions, calling for a wage increase of about 35 per cent.
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Gig economy workers missing out on super

Low-paid, unskilled workers who rely on the gig economy to make a living are missing out on mandatory employer superannuation, according to Australia's peak super body.
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Enforcement of Employment Standards

Recent decisions of the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) indicate that the Labour Inspectorate is cracking down on workplaces to ensure that minimum employment standards are being met. The decisions also indicate that the penalties being imposed on offending employers are increasing.
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How to work best with different generations

With such widespread ages at work, is it an insurmountable problem carving a suitable common space for everyone to communicate and to mix in well?
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Asian and Muslim women get discriminated against in Australian workplaces: report

"Why are Asian women's feet so small? So they can stand closer to the sink!" a male employee joked with his Asian colleague, then got angry when she didn't like it.
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Call for abolition of NSW exemptions for discrimination during pregnancy

A legal exemption that allows employers to refuse to hire someone who knew they were pregnant when they applied for the job is being targeted for abolition.
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ASX 200 has just 11 female CEOs, and 41 have no executive women leaders

There are just 11 female CEOs on the ASX 200, and 41 of the nation's largest companies don't have a woman on their executive leadership.
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Women outnumber men in dental professions for first time

It was a toss-up between studying medicine or dentistry, but Sabrina Manickam and Susan Wise decided that work as a dentist would give them more freedom and flexible hours.
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His kitchen, new rules: Calombaris to reimburse underpaid staff within weeks

George Calombaris' hospitality empire says it will reimburse underpaid staff within a month, following criticism of the compensation scheme which included social media attacks on the celebrity chef.
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6th September 2017

When did executive 'bonuses' become standard and not earned?

He's the man everyone loves to hate; the dart board bullseye for legions of investors, politicians, regulators and customers.
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Security vetting wait times see public servants waiting years for clearance by agency

Many public servants taking top secret positions are still facing long waits for security clearances, creating gridlock in crucial agencies and fostering widespread frustration.
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Defunct education company and owner fined $8.5m for consumer law breaches

Defunct company Get Qualified Australia has been ordered to pay $8 million after it was found to have contravened Australian Consumer Law through misleading and unconscionable conduct.
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Vulnerable workers legislation passes Senate: What your business needs to know about the tough new penalties

After fierce debate, the federal government has finally secured changes to the Fair Work Act designed to hit “dodgy bosses” harder, complete with tougher penalties and some new powers for the Fair Work Ombudsman.
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It’s time your business stopped replacing people

One of the first things that usually happens when someone resigns is the business immediately starts looking for their replacement.
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Fears some franchisors will get around new vulnerable worker laws

Lawyers fear some canny franchisors may still escape liability for the exploitation of vulnerable workers bill under new federal government legislation.
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Sydney Uni threatens to override staff union and suspend enterprise bargaining

University of Sydney vice-chancellor Michael Spence has given academic and administration staff an ultimatum to informally vote on a pay rise and work conditions management has offered but their union has rejected.
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Energy company BOC rapped for making pregnant woman redundant two days before maternity leave

Making a pregnant employee redundant has been found to be unlawful because it was done two days before she was due to start maternity leave.
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Is it time for Labor to end the hands-off approach to industrial relations?

Record low wages growth has led the ALP and unions to believe that voters are willing for governments to take a more hands-on approach than has been the case since the Keating government introduced enterprise bargaining in the early 1990s. And, somewhat ironically, the very system of enterprise bargaining looks set to become a major political battleground.
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How to answer the ‘Will you hire me?’ question

Stories of how insensible candidates torture employers are shared frequently around the internet. Seemingly, the weird behaviour of candidates at job interviews is a topic people will never grow tired of.
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$1.7 million in damages for victim of workplace bullying

The Queensland Supreme Court last month awarded $1,703,530 in damages against an employer, whose Chief Executive Officer’s “unjustified blaming, humiliation, belittling, isolation, undermining and contemptuous disregard” of the plaintiff employee resulted in serious psychiatric injury. The employer was found vicariously liable for the CEO’s actions and to have breached its own duty of care.
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Trade Unions – A highly regulated and supervised future…

Trade unions have been a central feature of Australia’s industrial, social and political framework since Federation (1901). They remain so today, despite changes in Australia’s economic and social circumstances over that 120 year period.
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30th August 2017

Employee engagement is a choice

The research on engaged employees is clear. They are happier, more productive, stay with the organisation longer and perform better across a whole host of measures.
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Why you should give walking meetings a go

How many of us use an excuse to avoid exercise or exclaim pathetically “my day is too full“? We all get the same amount of time to spend; it’s how we use that time which counts.
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One NT public servant has racked up nearly four years worth of annual leave

One public servant from the Northern Territory has racked up almost $400,000 worth of annual leave and there’s well over 2000 others with more than three months, according to an assessment by auditor-general Julie Crisp.
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Employment Law Update: Your casual employees may be entitled to ask to go fulltime!

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has made a decision to insert a 'casual conversion' clause into 85 modern awards that do not already have such a provision.
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When does a later resignation supersede a dismissal?

A common solution when a dismissal is disputed is for the employer and an employee to reach a separation agreement. This will often see the dismissal rescinded by agreement and the employee allowed to resign with immediate effect.
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More of us could work in part-time roles if they were better designed

Lisa was a young accountant with plenty of experience, solid references and was looking for work. She approached a large accounting firm she had previously worked for in another city in the hope of working with them again. They were interested, except one thing stood in her way - she could only work part-time..
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The new way your personality could be holding you back

Companies are turning to personality profiling to find the right candidates for roles and promotions. But the use of such tests raises some important questions.
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Popular Melbourne dining districts targeted in Fair Work crackdown

The Fair Work Ombudsman has pounced on dozens of venues in some of Melbourne's most popular dining districts in the hopes of catching out dodgy businesses underpaying their workers.
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100pc fly-in, fly-out workforces banned in major Queensland mines

Major mining companies operating in Queensland have been banned from flying in 100 per cent of their workforce.
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ACTU fighting to overhaul 'unfair' rules for working carers after requests for time off knocked back

Australia's peak union group has launched a campaign to overhaul what it says are unfair rules for people caring for family members.
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Tax Office reveals size of underpayment of super for the first time

There is a $2.85 billion-a-year shortfall in what employers should be paying their employees in super.
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23rd August 2017

Reinventing human resources at the workplace

Organisations require a human resources department now more than ever.
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Reducing casual shifts results in unfair dismissal

The employee claimed she was dismissed after her shifts were unilaterally reduced following an investigation of a $100 cash discrepancy following completion of a "change box" shift.
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Regulation of sharing economy urged to prevent exploitation

Greater regulation of the short-term online jobs market is needed to prevent exploitation of vulnerable workers, leading workplace experts have warned.
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WA to get two more public holidays under union's Easter pitch to Labor

A push is underway for two more public holidays to be added to Western Australia's official calendar, with a key union claiming the state's workers are being "dudded".
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Exploitation or breaching your visa: The limited choices of the food delivery worker

Some of the most vulnerable workers in the Australian labour market are squeezed between a rock and a hard place.
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Modern slavery crackdown will force large companies to examine supply chains

The Federal Government has moved to crack down on modern slavery by forcing large businesses to lay out the steps they are taking to eradicate it.
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Dreamworld disaster leads to new industrial manslaughter laws

Forklift drivers in Queensland require more specialist training than those entrusted to operate some of the most extreme amusement rides, a review commissioned after last year's Dreamworld tragedy has found.
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Paddle Pop maker Streets accused of 'industrial blackmail' in push to cut workers' pay

Paddle Pop, Magnum and Golden Gaytime maker Streets ice cream faces accusations of using "industrial blackmail" to push through cuts to staff wages and conditions.
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Hot-desking a hot-button issue but it's not going away

There are few workplace trends more likely to set hackles rising than hot-desking.
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Unions take on All Trades Queensland over apprentice wages

Australia's largest employer of apprentices has mounted another legal challenge to keep Queensland-based trainees the lowest paid in the country.
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16th August 2017

A memo to Google – firing employees with conservative views is anti-diversity

Google’s recent sacking of James Damore for circulating a memo will do the tech giant more harm than good. Not only has the memo been incorrectly dubbed “anti-diversity”, but a majority of Google employees surveyed in a recent poll disagreed with the decision to fire Damore.
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A short history of the office

For centuries people have been getting up, joining a daily commute or retreating to a room, to work. The office has become inseparable from work.
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School cleaning contracts to be slashed in Victoria after workers routinely exploited

Victorian public school cleaning contracts are being slashed in a bid to stop staff being routinely underpaid and exploited by rogue operators.
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Australia must embrace AI revolution with automation set to affect every job, report says

Australia should double its pace of artificial intelligence and robotics automation to reap a $2.2 trillion opportunity by 2030, while also urgently preparing to support more than 3 million workers whose jobs may be at risk, according to a new report.
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Two recent decisions made by the FWC provided comments on problems employers face concerning disciplinary action against employees

Mr Solin had been employed over three years as a production technician and Chevron. Over those three years, he had an unblemished employment record. However, on the bus to work one morning, Mr Solin allegedly made comments that were derogatory towards women, and included racial slurs against Aboriginals.
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Recent unfair dismissal cases: lessons and reminders

Unfair dismissal applications are all too common and employers regularly find themselves in hot water when they are on the receiving end of one. Whilst the outcome of every unfair dismissal case tends to turn on its own individual merits, opportunities to learn and refresh one’s knowledge consistently arise – and knowledge is power when it comes to managing claims risk.
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Salary history: to ask or not to ask?

The question of salary history has long been a topic of disagreement between employers and their prospective employees. One party wants to know, while the other prefers not to tell. Both have what they consider to be valid reasons for their standpoints, and there’s little room for compromise. After all, either a number is revealed or not.
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What is ‘cyberloafing’? And are your employees guilty of it?

Sending personal emails, a bit of online shopping, checking out your friend’s holiday snaps on Facebook: if you break up your work day with online activities that aren’t work-related, you may be guilty of “cyberloafing”.
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Woolworths ordered to pay injured worker $230,000 in compensation after four-year long legal battle

Supermarket giant Woolworths has been ordered to pay a former worker $231,000 in compensation after he successfully appealed a court decision related to a shoulder injury he says was sustained while working at the retailer’s Queensland distribution centre.
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Seven optimum conditions for happiness at work

What are the optimum conditions and indicators of genuine contentment in a workplace?
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Business groups slam planned changes to citizenship

The federal government's plans to tighten requirements to become an Australian citizen have been slammed by business groups who say their members are worried migrant workers awaiting permanent residency may leave Australia, rather than wait for citizenship.
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Pizza Hut slammed by Fair Work Ombudsman as $20,000 underpayment in Newcastle is revealed

A NSW Pizza Hut franchisee has been ordered to pay its workers almost $20,000 in underpaid wages, as the company faces further criticism from the Fair Work Ombudsman.
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9th August 2017

Mining industry push for individual work agreements

Typical mining industry workers would be able to opt out of union-bargained agreements and instead negotiate individual contracts under a new push from the mining industry.
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“Ice-breakers” with fluffy toys are a staff bonding no-no. Here’s what to do instead

A recent story about ABC management requesting staff to engage in ice-breaking activities with fluffy toys generated public derision and made me think about the comedy training videos videos I’ve made showing how crazy some managers can be. Despite the element of fun, companies and government organisations can’t rely on bonding games to make a difference to workplace relationships and productivity.
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Gender quotas can work but it depends on how employees feel about them

If you think your boss is in her position only because of a gender quota and not because of merit, it could affect the work you do for her.
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Lack of sleep is costing the economy more than $66 billion

James Young is among four in 10 Australians who go to work each day without getting enough sleep.
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Workplace Relationships … Does your business need a Disclosure Policy?

The two recent resignations by male AFL executives who had affairs with lower ranked female employees has highlighted a complex yet growing issue for businesses in Australia and around the world.
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Company Confidential: When are employee documents not privileged against their employer?

This week’s TGIF considers what the UK decision of Simpkin v The Berkeley Group Holdings PLC [2017] EWHC 1472 means for insolvency practitioners seeking to access potentially privileged documents created by employees of appointee companies
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ALP plan to name and shame businesses that rip off workers

NSW businesses would have to display minimum wage rates and faced being named and shamed if they underpaid workers under NSW Labor Party policy.
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Facebook liking anti-government posts banned under new public service policy

Checking Facebook and liking a post critical of the Government could be enough to see public servants facing disciplinary action, under new guidelines that also say employees may be held accountable for comments other people make on their Facebook pages.
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Jobseekers increasingly 'trapped' in cycle of casual employment, labour expert says

Employers are increasingly discriminating against job applicants with a history of fixed-term or casual employment by denying permanent roles, one expert says.
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Pay rise not likely anytime soon with wage growth at record lows

Are you happy with your pay packet? Chances are you're not. I mean, who is? Unless you're earning more money than you know what to do with.
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2nd August 2017

Where the boundaries lie in workplace relationships

The fact is that romance will kindle at work, but there are things employers and employees can and should do to manage these situations.
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Contractor or deemed worker?

There is a common misconception that just because someone has an ABN and is paid via their ABN, it automatically means that person is a contractor. Determining the true nature of the relationship between an employer and a hired person needs to be examined in its entirety.
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Court finds employee dismissed because of pregnancy

The employee commenced employment on 7 December 2015 as an administrative assistant with a commercial property real estate agency. In late January 2016 she learnt that she was pregnant. She informed a senior officer of the employer of the pregnancy in early March. On 3 June 2016, the last working day before her probation period expired, she was dismissed.
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Workers' Compensation - Court holds that straight forward light manual task requires prior instructions

The recent Supreme Court decision found that an employer was liable for failing to train and instruct a worker how to lift a wheelie walker from the boot of a vehicle.
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Thinking of Downsizing your Workforce?

Make sure you get the Consultation Process Right — Or the “Redundancies” could turn out to be Unfair Dismissals
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Paramedics seeking burden of proof changes to PTSD compo laws share tales of job stress

Tasmanian paramedics are sharing harrowing tales of life on the job as part of a push for changes to workers' compensation laws.
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What Elon Musk, Richard Branson and 8 other successful people ask job candidates

Many of the most successful people have got job interviews down to a science. They're not in the habit of wasting time with dumb or irrelevant queries. In fact, they often have one favourite go-to question they like to ask. This typically reveals everything they need to know about a job candidate. Check out the questions 10 business leaders love to ask candidates:
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Tony Robbins explains what anyone can do every day, month and year to be more successful

Performance coach Tony Robbins has seven clients he works with on an individual basis, and each pay him $US1 million annually. There are some aspects of Robbins' method for personal development, however, that don't require hours of discussions and introspection, and they don't cost anything, either.
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Wage inspectors and licensing for labour hire companies

Workplace inspectors would get new powers to raid workplaces to check people were not being underpaid and labour hire companies would need to comply with new licensing agreements under a NSW Labor crackdown on wage theft.
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Australia's gender pay gap to last another 50 years

The entrenched gender pay gap is expected to remain in Australian workplaces until at least 2067, a federal government agency has told Parliament.
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Why employers should address loneliness in the workplace

Before her tragic death in June 2016, British MP Jo Cox spent a year gathering detailed evidence about the causes of social isolation for a major commission into loneliness, which colleagues have now launched in her memory. Among the findings is research showing that although one-fifth of the population say they are always or often lonely, two-thirds feel uncomfortable admitting it
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26th July 2017

CFMEU rep apologises to court for contempt over AGL search warrant

A former mining union official allegedly involved with the January shutdown of Victoria's biggest power plant has unreservedly apologised to the court.
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Casual Employment Arrangements Due For A Check-up Following Fair Work Commission’s Review Of Modern Awards

If you are an employer, the recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (Commission) is likely to affect the way that you manage your staff.
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Why Envato is sharing its millions in profit with employees and suggesting they buy alpacas with the dividends

Australian design and e-commerce startup Envato’s profits have become so significant the business has decided it has more than it needs to keep growing, and some of that windfall should be shared with its staff.
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Brisbane bus strike raises safety concerns for 23,000 school children on Friday

There are concerns for the safety of 23,000 school children as Brisbane bus drivers prepare to take strike action on Friday afternoon.
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Breach of JK Rowling book embargo led to unfair sacking of courier depot manager

The depot manager at an Australian courier company was unfairly sacked after he was accused of being responsible for the breach of a worldwide embargo on the J.K. Rowling book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Fair Work Commission has found.
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Why you eat like your colleagues

They say your friends can make you fat, but your colleagues could be the real culprits.
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BOM strike: Bureau of Meteorology staff to take industrial action for next three weeks

Staff at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) are going on strike for three weeks, after being locked in an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions for three years.
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Three Square Market offers to implant RFID chips in its employees

Would you ask an employee to get a chip implanted in her hand? Sounds invasive and intrusive. But come August 1, one company in Wisconsin will be giving it a try.
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Former 7-Eleven operator penalised $168,000 for underpaying workers after judge finds “deliberate disregard” for correct entitlements

A former 7-Eleven store operator has been penalised $168,000 as a result of legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman, with the Federal Circuit Court judge slamming the operator’s actions as involving a “deliberate disregard of the employees’ workplace entitlements”.
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Despite all the perks tech companies offer their people, there's one crucial area they fall short

Tech companies are famous for their stellar perks. But, according to a recent study from ratings platform ViewsHub, they’re lacking something far more important than foosball tables, bean bag chairs, or having rosé on tap.
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Opinion: HR on the edge of a cliff

Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith outlines how HR will be at the heart of business disruption – but it must first reinvent itself
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19th July 2017

How 88 days can turn into a nightmare of debt and despair for backpackers

It's been raining overnight and farms are ringing the backpacker working hostel to cancel the buses.
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Amber Harrison says Seven case a 'wake-up call' for women experiencing workplace bullying, discrimination

Amber Harrison has slammed "the boys club" in corporate Australia after losing an ugly court battle with the Seven Network and being ordered to pay the media giant's legal bills.
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Chinese, Korean and Spanish websites advertise illegal pay rates as little as $4.20 an hour

Four out of five businesses advertising Australian jobs on Chinese, Korean and Spanish language websites are offering illegal pay rates as low as $4.20 per hour, a new audit has found.
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Brisbane bus strike: Thousands of commuters warned to expect delays during two-day action

Up to 35,000 early-morning commuters in Brisbane are being told to expect major delays due to a bus driver strike over the next two days.
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Religion is the new frontier in workplace discrimination

David Brent, the antihero of the classic British satire The Office, had a crude line in jokes about race, disability, sex and sexuality.
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Majority of foreign workers paid below national award rates, Unions NSW says

The peak union body in New South Wales says migrant workers are being paid far below national standards through job listings in foreign language publications and urgent action is needed to stop it.
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Employment of older workers improves, but Australia still lags behind New Zealand

As a sixty-six-year-old with senior industry qualifications, Alister Robertson has met some employers who have not wanted to hire someone his age, despite his experience.
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JB Hi-Fi commits to maintaining penalty rates for workers, but is it “all politics”?

Electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi has joined the growing ranks of Australian retailers choosing not to pass on lowered Sunday penalty rates decided by the Fair Work Commission earlier this year.
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Casual Conversion – What does it mean?

A full bench of the Fair Work Commission has made orders opening the door for “casual conversion” clauses to be inserted into 85 Modern Awards which do not currently have a similar provision.
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Employer's obligations on snow days

With the arrival of snow in the South Island this morning, questions are already being asked about what employer’s obligations are when snow days occur.
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Darling Harbour restaurant ordered to pay $15,000 for unfair dismissal

Darling Harbour restaurant Baia The Italian has been ordered to pay $15,000 in compensation for the unfair dismissal of an employee who complained about being allegedly underpaid.
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Dainty Sichuan alleged to have paid workers $10 an hour for seven-day weeks, 10-hour plus days

Popular Melbourne restaurant Dainty Sichuan allegedly paid employees $10 an hour while they worked 10 hour-plus shifts, seven days a week.
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12th July 2017

TripAdvisor teams up with Deliveroo, while Fair Work investigation into gig economy continues

One of the world's largest travel websites, TripAdvisor, has partnered with Deliveroo in a deal which spans several countries including Australia.
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When the boss wants you to do something unethical

Maybe you're asked to mislead a customer. Maybe you're told to lie to a client, or take a shortcut you know would produce an inferior product.
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Former UniLodge caretakers claim $700,000 in unpaid wages

A married couple who were on call overnight as residential caretakers at a UniLodge student accommodation block of units allegedly received just $108 in net pay for a year's work after "free" rent was deducted from their combined salary.
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Lawyers look to expand Airservices Australia class action

A looming court battle involving Airservices Australia is set to expand to cover allegations of "sham contracting" and the use of outlawed "zombie agreements".
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'A ball of tears': Ciara Burke was fired by Emirates after falling down stairs

After months of hard work, she was scheduled to finish her final assessments at the Emirates training college in Dubai. Within days she expected to graduate as a fully-fledged flight attendant. That didn't happen. Instead, the 23-year-old from Perth fell down a flight of stairs at the training facility in her uniform's red heels.
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Minimum wage push for gig economy workers

A government review of the rapidly changing world of work is to demand a radical overhaul of employment law and new guarantees on the minimum wage.
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Rise of the machines: What jobs will survive as robots move into the workplace?

The invasion of robots into factories and offices has long been seen as final blow for workforces ravaged by cheap offshore labour and the never ending quest to cut costs.
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Casual workers win right to request permanent employment after 12 months under Fair Work ruling

Casual workers have won the right to request permanent employment if they work regular hours over a year, under a ruling by the industrial umpire.
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TAFE SA manager jailed for stealing $150,000

A former TAFE SA manager who stole more than $150,000 from her employer has been jailed for at least 18 months.
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Security firm accused of saying staff would be sent “straight to the dole queue” if they spoke to Fair Work inspectors

A Gold Coast security firm will face the Federal Circuit Court over claims the business took adverse action against three employees and underpaid staff $16,000, in a series of alleged actions ombudsman Natalie James has called “completely unacceptable”.
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How the wellbeing agenda is reshaping HR roles

http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/jobs-news/market-pulse-how-the-wellbeing-agenda-is-reshaping-hr-roles/93387
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5th July 2017

Workplace law breaches: Third party business advisors beware

HR advisors, accountants and payroll providers take note - you may be personally liable for breaches of the Fair Work act
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Silence not necessarily golden

The common law privilege against self-incrimination is a well-established legal principle, long recognised by Australian courts as an essential protection.
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The 1 July changes that will impact your business

The new financial year is just a few days away and whilst this is usually an extremely busy time of the year for most businesses, it’s also prime time for employers to review their employment framework, including the impact of increases to the minimum wage and high-income threshold, changes made to modern awards and new workplace laws that might affect your business.
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The office narcissist: how to spot (and deal with) them

The person whose self-belief exceeds their abilities, who rides roughshod over your considered opinions and practices, who's basically very focused on themselves.
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Domestic violence leave: Fair Work Commission's rejection of bid still a positive first step, says ACTU's Ged Kearney

The Fair Work Commission's rejection of a bid to make domestic violence leave a minimum standard for all workers is a move in the right direction, according to the country's top union boss.
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DPM&C study finds public servants more likely to hire women

Years of public service gender diversity efforts may have succeeded in making bureaucrats more likely to hire women then men, a new study by the Prime Minister's "nudge unit" suggests.
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Men join corporate boards with less experience than women do

More than three out of four new male company directors are rookies, appointed with no prior corporate board experience, according to a new study of the world's biggest publicly traded companies.
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Horticulture industry pushes to change pay rates for workers outside the 'farm gate'

Australia's biggest potato grower is leading a national push to pay employees like Kay Rault who work in packing and storage sheds located off farm sites the same rates as lower-paid farm workers.
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How to play defence in office politics and keep your integrity

Whether you're a team member or a manager, the modern workforce requires a great deal of teamwork and collaboration. Even if you mostly work autonomously, it's prudent to have some good will in the bank.
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Bill Shorten's penalty rate play could bring "chaos"

Reversal of the Fair Work Commission's decision to reduce Sunday penalty rates in industries including the hospitality and retail sectors could lead to industrial "chaos" and reduce wages to a political "plaything" experts warn.
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Fair Work Ombudsman takes aim at advice firm over claims of misleading employer clients

The Fair Work Ombudsman has taken aim at a workplace advice firm, alleging customers have complained about being misled into believing it was associated with the ombudsman’s office.
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Should you do away with the annual performance review?

For many employees the end of the financial year signals performance review time. The dreaded time of the year when they sit down with their supervisor and receive feedback on their performance over the previous 12 months.
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28th June 2017

Women are twice as likely than men to lose their jobs to robots

As automation threatens the existence of millions of jobs across the US, not every American is equally at risk of being replaced by a robot. Twice as many women than men are likely to lose their jobs as automation replaces human labour, according to a recent report by the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis (ISEA).
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Firers and hirers: Australia's fastest growing jobs

Australia is shedding jobs for retailers and farmers by the tens of thousands as we become a country of carers and builders. That's the verdict from the Australian Bureau of Statistics which released its detailed labour force data on Thursday..
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Victorian training company pocketed millions using dodgy contracts, court told

A company contracted to run engineering training programs through some of the state's TAFEs pocketed almost $2 million of public money through dodgy contracts, a hearing was told.
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Unpaid internships: Millennials speak out as expert warns of legal risks

Unpaid internships are increasingly becoming the default way of beginning a professional career in Australia.
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Last-ditch bid to save Sunday penalty rates in retail, fast food, hospitality

Controversial cuts to Sunday penalty rates for hundreds of thousands of workers are facing a last-minute legal challenge, with unions seeking urgent hearings to stop them taking effect next weekend.
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'Merry go round' of unpaid interns provide accounting and finance services

A constant flow of unpaid interns provide free accounting and finance work for businesses, raising questions about whether Fair Work laws need to be tightened.
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'When we come after you, you'd better be careful': Union threatens ABCC inspectors at Melbourne rally

Victorian construction union leader John Setka has threatened to hunt down and "expose" Australian Building and Construction Commission inspectors, warning: "When we come after you, you'd better be careful."
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Victorian SES staff were underpaid by more than $220,000 over eight years, review finds

Dozens of Victorian State Emergency Service staff have been underpaid by a total of more than $220,000 over eight years, but will be compensated with interest, the organisation says.
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Harnessing Human Resources

The nation's youth are being talked about in circles of both the informed and the uninformed with diverse outlook and understanding.
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Why smart employees don’t have lunch at their desk

After a grueling morning, the lunch break is an important period for employees to re-charge and relax. While most employees prefer going out for lunch to stretch their legs after hours of sitting, there are those who prefer the peacefulness and comfort of a deserted office.
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Can human resources work be automated?

Can computers really do human resources functions like recruiting, retention and worker evaluations?
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New commissioner will have his eye on "bad to the bone" conduct

Like a theme song for his new commission to catch unions and employer groups involved in corruption, Mark Bielecki's mobile phone went off to the guitar strums of George Thoroughgood's Bad to the Bone.
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21st June 2017

This South Korean start-up is only hiring people over 55

Channel NewsAsia reports the founder of content monitoring company EverYoung established the rule to prove the futility of age discrimination – a phenomenon that’s reportedly prevalent in modern Korean corporate culture.
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Perth Mint staff may be forced to wear work-issued bras to improve security

The Perth Mint is considering a ban on all clothing containing metal, including underwire bras, in a bid to boost security.
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When to take a mental health day

Mental health issues are one of the most common forms of illness in Australia with 3 million of us currently living with anxiety or depression alone. But it's not just our personal lives that are affected by mental health. It's our work and careers, too. A recent report conducted by Beyond Blue showed that one in every five Australians took time off in the last 12 months due to mental health issues.
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Melbourne HR software startup raises $US20 million funding

Australian human resources tech company Culture Amp announced that it has secured $US20 million in new capital from the US.
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Union power makes its mark with domestic violence leave

WA’s biggest employer granted all of its employees a new paid leave entitlement, claimable up to 10 days per year. It wasn’t an entitlement won after extensive negotiation, nor traded off for other pay and conditions. It was simply ordered by the Premier...
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“At 36 weeks pregnant, I started a new job”: Why an inclusive mindset is everything at work

In February, I accepted a new job in the Victorian Government sector while 34 weeks pregnant. I started the new job while at 36 weeks. I spent two weeks in my new role before going on maternity leave. Crazy — you might say — both the employer and me! However, this is an example of how an open and inclusive mindset led to a successful outcome for everyone involved.
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Working from home lifts employee productivity

More businesses are allowing staff to work from home, with studies showing it increases employee productivity. Telsyte research shows 84 per cent of Australian organisations have systems permitting their employees to work remotely.
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How artificial intelligence will affect your job

The same technology that enables a navigation app to find the most efficient route to your destination or lets an online store recommend products based on past purchases is on the verge of transforming the office — promising to remake how we look for job candidates, get the most out of workers and keep our best workers on the job.
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Employers urged to follow Bunnings’ lead and hire older workers

As outrage builds over a proposal to force Australians to work until 70, experts are urging businesses to follow the example of hardware giant Bunnings and unleash the untapped labour of older workers.
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35 things you should remove from your résumé before it ends up in the 'no' pile

Hiring managers rarely have the time or resources to look at each résumé closely. They typically spend about six seconds on their initial "fit/no fit" decision. If you want to pass that test, you need to have some solid qualifications – and the perfect résumé to highlight them.
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This CEO meets every interviewee and these are his top hiring tips

Luis von Ahn, CEO and founder of language learning app Duolingo, meets with every single person interviewing at his company. He says "The best hiring advice that I've ever got is: 'When in doubt, don't hire,'".
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Yoga and free fruit won't solve the scourge of workplace stress

National Mental Health Commissioner Lucinda Brogden says employers have a legal responsibility to provide a workplace that is both physically and psychologically safe. But, she says, too many employers offer "positive extras" and shirk the hard stuff. "We try to jump to the positive – introducing the yoga, the fruit bowl, the staff party – but you have to work on reducing the negative before you can introduce the positive," Brogden told a banking and finance ethics conference in Sydney last week.
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