We are back with a workplace trend, news snippets, a couple of interesting cases, as well as sage advice in the “Dear Jen” column.
Does your workplace need to make any changes for the new Sexual Harassment Laws? To help figure this out, this edition’s freebie is a Sexual Harassment Policy Checklist…and of course, I share my recommendations for your viewing pleasure.
I hope this newsletter brings you some wisdom and joy!
What trend am I seeing out there in the workplace world?
I’m seeing companies looking hard at their P&L’s.
“Nice to have” perks and padded headcounts are disappearing.
Redundancies are increasing. Not everywhere, but they are happening.
And whilst there’s still plenty of jobs out there, I’m sensing a turning tide. There’s a resistance to paying employees “overs”.
I’m not convinced there will be a “recession” – partly because of these adjustments I am seeing at the micro-level…and the fact that no matter what, I will diligently continue to subscribe to 8 streaming services to serve your “After Work” (see below) needs.
Pub Employee Sacked For Filming Birth
A pub employee used his mobile phone to film his employer’s CCTV footage that showed a woman giving birth at a Cairns pub. The footage was widely circulated on social media. The condition of the mum and bub is “unknown”. The condition of the employee is “unemployed”.
See: Birth at Pub
MP’s and Chief of Staff’s Stoush Over “Unreasonable” Additional Hours
Teal MP Monique Ryan has been taken to the Federal Court by her chief-of-staff, Sally Rugg, who is seeking to prevent her employment being terminated for allegedly refusing to work “unreasonable” additional hours. The parties are off to mediation.
See: MP Stoush Over Hours
The “Your Role May Be Affected” Email
Tech firms are continuing to downsize globally. Redundancies via email and sudden removal of computer login access are the norm in the US. In Australia and the UK, a consultation process is necessary. In reality, any tech employee who receives a “your role may be affected” email, should update their CV, faster than they can say “metaverse”.
James Clear Wisdom
“The trick to viewing feedback as a gift is to be more worried about having blind spots than hearing about them”.
Wake-Up Call After Bungled Dismissal
On a rainy afternoon, a truck driver sheltered in the back of his work vehicle, removed his wet shoes, and had a peaceful nap…until his boss woke him up. Within half an hour he was unemployed for sleeping on duty.
The truck driver filed an unfair dismissal claim. The Fair Work Commission found that the reason for the employee’s dismissal was valid but criticised the employer’s procedures. Although the employee was told the reason for his dismissal, he wasn’t given an opportunity to respond, and was fired “on the spot”. If the dismissal had been effected in a procedurally fair manner, it was unlikely it would have been found to be unfair.
Take Out Point: Process. Process. Process. Even where there’s a valid reason for dismissing an employee, the process must be fair.
Employer Mishandles Leering and Racism Complaint
A factory worker was left feeling “uncomfortable, objectified and degraded” after a fellow employee looked at her breasts instead of her face when he spoke with her. After reporting the behaviour, the factory worker was told by her supervisor “you are Indian, I don’t like Indians, they always cause problems“.
The factory worker was then transferred to a different workplace, directed to take annual leave, and felt “disbelieved” by the employer.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal made findings of unfavourable treatment, racial discrimination and victimisation and ordered the employer to pay the factory worker $53,200, including $38,000 in damages.
Take Out Point: Responding to sexual harassment complaints requires sensitivity and compassion. Employers now have a positive duty to prevent sexual harassment. Employees need training to ensure compliance with the new sexual harassment provisions and discrimination laws.
BONUS – Sexual Harassment Policy Checklist
Does your business have a Sexual Harassment Policy? Is it compliant with the new workplace laws?
I am a pilot with over 100,000 Instagram followers.
Unfortunately, as you may have read, my employer has banned us Tweeting and using social media during flights.
It’s not a distraction or a security risk.
Why can’t the airline see that our social media interactions are good for their brand?
You used to Tweet in mid-air?
Whilst I was eating my apple and oatmeal muffin?
Soz Amelia, I’ll take safety over social every day.
Stick to flying.
Are You And Your Team On Top Of Your Sexual Harassment Legal Obligations?
If reading the Sexual Harassment Policy Checklist made you query what you need to do to comply with the new laws, please call 0411 275 920.
Or, if you are looking to embrace having those difficult conversations you have been avoiding, get yourself the most practical online course in town. Run, don’t walk to my website for my highly informative and entertaining online course – “Difficult Conversations In The Workplace: A Lawyer’s Guide to Not Needing a Lawyer”. Spend an hour with your favourite unlawyerly lawyer for just $149 plus GST, or organise a workshop or coaching.
If you love getting this newsletter in your LinkedIn feed or your inbox once a fortnight (with no spamming in between) please share it with fellow lovers of employment law and entertainment. They can sign up here or www.jenniferbicknell.com.au.
What I Devoured and Have Started Watching Again (on Netflix)
“Cunk on Earth” is the funniest tv series ever! EVER! This mockumentary about the history of the world is pure genius. Philomena Cunk (Diane Morgan) had me snorting, crying and pausing the telly to regroup, rewind and rewatch. Compulsory viewing. [See also “Cunk on Britain” on YouTube].
What I Inhaled (S1-3 Apple TV+)
“Truth Be Told” is the best drama series you have never heard of. Octavia Spencer plays a journalist who solves murders through her podcast. What an awesome skill, huh! I want to be her.
What I Inhaled After That (S1-3 on Foxtel & Binge or S1-2 only on Stan)
Seasons 1 and 2 of “Happy Valley” dropped in 2014 and 2016. Won 2 BAFTAs. Nobody told me. I finally got the memo when season 3 dropped this year. I never knew I needed a series about a 50 – something divorced West Yorkshire-based police officer living with her grandson and sister. But I did. And now it’s over I miss them terribly…
What I Watched (Comes with Cringe Warning) (on Netflix)
“You People” is a romantic comedy about a white Jewish investment banker/podcaster, a black Muslim costume designer and their bigoted parents. Soooo awkward and silly, but Eddie Murphy, Jonah Hill and Julia Louis-Dreyfus had me guffawing (whilst I hid behind my fingers).
What I’ve Started to Watch (on Apple TV+) – drip feeding eps (groan)
Some of the creators of “Ted Lasso” have given us “Shrinking” – a dramedy about a psychotherapist who ignores his teenage daughter’s needs whilst he struggles to cope with his wife’s death. Sounds miserable, I know, but Jason Segel and Harrison Ford (in his comic debut) make this worth a watch.
Podcast I’m Listening To
In “Off Menu” comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster invite guests into their “dream restaurant” to name each course of their “dream meal”. Serious LOL moments in the Stanley Tucci (last season) and Paul (“Normal People”) Mescal eps. [Skip first 15 mins of banter and get to the meal].