Jen's Workplace News


Welcome to your favourite workplace newsletter – a combination of things you need to know and things that will make you laugh out loud. In this issue we have a workplace trend, news snippets, cases and sage advice in the “Dear Jen” column.

And of course, I share my recommendations for your “After Work” viewing pleasure.

Cheers, Jen

Jens Lens

What trend am I seeing out there in the workplace world?

A lot of huffing, puffing, and negotiating by employees about their preferred job titles.

It seems a job isn’t a job unless it is preceded by “Head of”, “Senior Manager of”, “Director of”, “Vice President of”, “Chief of”, or “Global…”.

Take Out Point: Enough already! In my experience the best performers don’t haggle over their title, they just get on with the job.

Having said that, I applaud the Window Cleaners who convinced someone to hire them as “Transparency Enhancement Facilitators.”

See: Outrageous Job Titles


Buzzword of the Week: “Perk-cession”

In industries where companies are doing it tough, there is a scaling back on perks – known as the “perk-cession”. Whilst employees may miss the free food and yoga classes, at least they still have a job.

Is Centrelink Timing Staff Toilet Breaks?  

Centrelink call centre wait times have doubled in the past year. Whilst this is frustrating for customers, it’s being suggested that in order to address this, staff are being monitored on a minute by minute (and toilet-break by toilet-break) basis. The Community and Public Service Union says Centrelink has unacceptably high turnover. Three thousand new staff have been hired.

Take Out Point: Who’d have thought that that in this era of Artificial Intelligence we’d be talking about timed loo breaks!

See: Centrelink Staff Claim Toilet Breaks Timed

NSW Government Offering Mental Health Training For Eligible Employers

The NSW Government is offering free mental health training to privately owned NSW businesses with less than 200 employees, and not for profits of any size. It is delivered by experts from the Black Dog Institute and designed for all roles in the workplace.

Take Out Point: Research shows one in six workers are experiencing mental ill-health right now. Get the tools you need to support your employees or colleagues.

See: NSW Government Free Mental Health Training

Victorian Business Ordered To Pay $1.3m Fine For Worker’s Death

A 25 year old sub-contractor was killed when a forklift operator reversed down a slope in breach of safety guidelines. The operator was ordered to pay $120,000 in compensation to the worker’s family and complete 2 years of community service. The Company was also ordered to pay a $1.3 million fine.

NSW is the last mainland state without industrial manslaughter offences. The NSW Government has announced that industrial manslaughter laws will be introduced to parliament this year.

Take Out Point: The forklift operator and the company were the first to be charged under Victoria’s workplace manslaughter laws. Individuals face up to 25 years’ imprisonment.

See: Fine For Company Under Workplace Manslaughter Laws and NSW Government To Introduce Industrial Manslaughter Laws

Employer Gender Gaps Published For The First Time

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has published base salary and total remuneration  median gender pay gaps for private sector employers in Australia with 100 or more employees.

Take Out Point: The results vary from industry to industry and there is no data for companies with less than 100 employees, but the figures provide a starting point for broader conversations. What do women want and need? What barriers affect their choices?

See: WGEA Publishes Gender Pay Gaps

Is it Time To Restrain The Use of Restraints? 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 1 in 5 Australian businesses used non-compete clauses for at least some of their employees in 2023. The Federal Government’s Competition Taskforce is investigating this issue. Treasury is releasing an issues paper for public consultation in April.

Take Out Point: Employers should carefully consider the use of restraints.

See: Government to Look At Non-Compete Clauses


Unfair Dismissal Overturned After Employee Posts About Her Toxic Job on TikTok

An apprentice hairdresser was given many verbal warnings about spending too much time on her phone and being responsible for the business losing clients. Her frustrated boss sent her a text giving her 2 weeks’ notice. The apprentice headed to TikTok to post about “quitting a toxic job.”

In an Unfair Dismissal claim before the Fair Work Commission, the employer suggested that the TikTok post was proof the apprentice had resigned. The Commission held that the TikTok post, while it was unwise, didn’t override the text message that mentioned termination. The performance management process had flaws and these procedural deficiencies could not be overlooked. The dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. Compensation is yet to be determined.

Take Out Point: Process. Process. Process.

If you need help with performance management or termination of employment we can help you with scripts, confidence and supporting documents.

See: McGennan v Park [2024] FWC 255

Employee Fired For Working From Home Wins Unfair Dismissal Claim Against Employer

A high performing sales representative for an e-commerce support company was fired after he worked at home during a “mandatory office day” because he had a dishwasher repairer coming. When he told his boss that he had logged that he would not be coming in his boss replied “Sorry Tom, I’m calling BS on this. This is not good enough…”.

The employer did not provide any formal warnings and did not give the worker an opportunity to respond before firing him for “lack of commitment”.

In an Unfair Dismissal claim the Fair Work Commission found the dismissal process was “bereft” of procedural fairness and ordered the employer to pay the worker 12 weeks’ pay ($26,498) in compensation.

Take Out Point: Did we mention process?

If you need help with performance management or termination of employment we can help you with scripts, confidence and supporting documents.

See: Tomaso Edwards Moro v Insider Au Pty Ltd [2023] FWC 3148 (22 December 2023)

Navigate Tough Talks Like a Pro – In Just One Hour!

Struggling with tough talks at work? No one really teaches you this stuff, right? Well, I’ve got you covered! In just one hour my online course will transform the way you tackle tricky conversations with tools, tips and real life strategies. No more avoiding the tough stuff!

Run, don’t walk to my website.

Your investment? Just $149!

Bonus: Want some one-on-one time with the most unlawyerly lawyer? Book a coaching session or a workshop.

Call me on 0411 275 920 for a 15 minute ‘no obligation’ chat.

Dear Jen,

I’ve been offered a role writing code for a start up. There’s only the founder and me at the moment, but I know we are destined for great things. I’ve asked for my title to be “Global IT Director”.

The founder is pushing back. Actually, I think her precise words after she stopped laughing were “you are delusional”.

What should I do?

Cody Coder


Dear Cody Coder

Check that the job offer is still available.

If it is, accept it gratefully, and work hard. The rest will take care of itself.




Previous newsletters are available at our website. To catch up on earlier legal updates or viewing recommendations, head there now!

Jen's After Work

What I Watched (On Foxtel/Binge)

The “True Detective” seasons are stand alone, so if you missed 1-3, you can (and should) leap into season 4. Sure, it’s bleak and gruesome – multiple murders in the Alaskan winter. But…“the Jodie Foster effect” will have you bingeing all 6 eps faster than you can say “is it 2:00 am already”?

What I Watched (On Netflix)

The book and movie, “One Day” is now a 14 part series watched by over 10 million people (OK, 10 million women) worldwide. Emma and Dexter met at the University of Edinburgh Grad Ball on 15 July 1988. Want to know what they were doing on 15 July for the next 20 years? Be prepared to laugh and ugly cry.

What I Am Being Drip Fed (On Paramount)

My favourite show about prisoners who fight Californian wildfires – “Fire Country” – is back. Hooray!

What I’m Watching (On 7+)

“Mr Bates Vs The Post Office” is a 4 part dramatisation of a true story. Almost 1000 sub-postmasters were wrongly convicted of fraud due to dodgy software. They lost their livelihoods. Many were jailed. Some took their lives. Record viewing numbers and public outrage in the UK led to lots of things you will Google after you finish watching.

What I’m Watching (On Netflix)

“Loudermilk” is a comedy about a Seattle based substance abuse counsellor (recovering alcoholic and former music critic). [Fun fact. Sam Loudermilk is played by the actor who was Berger in “Sex And The City”, and whilst I’m still cross with him for dumping Carrie via post-it, he’s terrific in this show]. Some light relief for those days when you can’t face Californian wildfires and or Alaskan mass murders.


Jen's Last Word


Subscribe To Our Newsletter


Sign up to my mailing list for my practical & funny fortnightly workplace newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!