Jen's Workplace News


We are back with a workplace trend, news snippets, an article about the new sexual harassment laws, as well as sage advice in the “Dear Jen” column.

With new laws having commenced on 6 March, we’ve included our 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!

Cheers, Jen


Workplace legal trends

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

Companies and employees are still trying to decide on the best mix of working ‘at the office’ and remote work.

There’s debate about the impact of “the Zoom Ceiling” – the so called bias in favour of employees who attend the office over remote workers, in relation to pay rises and promotions.

For a clever discussion of the merits of going into the office, and the future of work generally, listen to the awesome Scott Galloway’s 3 part Prof G podcast.

See: Prof G Podcast


Jens Articles and Cases


Dilbert Creator’s Career Terminating Move

“Dilbert” comic strip creator, Scott Adams, made racist remarks during a YouTube livestream. Newspapers across the US and his publisher have severed ties with him. Adams cancelled. Dilbert euthanised.

See: Dilbert Creator Cancels Himself

Ohio Pizza Shop Hiring “Non-Stupid People”

Santino’s Pizzeria in Columbus, Ohio posted a sign reading “Now Hiring Non-Stupid People”. The co-owner said she’s looking for an employee who is “just reliable, on time, just, don’t come to work in like sandals”. Really? Sandals make you stupid?

See: Pizza Shop Hiring

CBA Sued By Financial Planner Over Requirement To Work From Home

According to the AFR, an office based Commonwealth Bank financial planner refused to accept a job offer in late 2021 because it required him to work “100 per cent remotely”. The CBA avoided paying the planner 20 years’ worth of redundancy pay (over $170,000) because he refused to accept the remote offer. The planner contends that remote work “intrudes into private lives and creates tension with families”.

This will be an interesting case to follow – especially since the CBA’s HR Chief said in late February that CBA “do not believe that there’s any role that can be done completely remotely”.

See: CBA Sued and CBA says not to work fully remotely

Meeting of WHS Ministers

On 1 March 2023, Commonwealth, State and Territory WHS Ministers met and agreed on significant measures. Ministers by majority agreed to adopt industrial manslaughter into the model WHS laws. The model penalty will be $18 million for a body corporate and 20 years’ imprisonment for an individual. There was also progress made regarding the implementation of model WHS Regulations on psychosocial hazards.

See: WHS Developments

ATO Announces Changes to Work From Home Deductions

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has changed the way that taxpayers claim deductions for costs incurred when working from home.

See: ATO Work from Home Deductions

Paid Parental Leave Extended

Federal Parliament passed legislation on 6 March 2023 to amend the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 to extend paid parental leave (PPL) pay from 18 weeks to 20 weeks from 1 July 2023, with two weeks reserved on a ‘use it or lose’ basis for each claimant. Further details will be discussed in a later newsletter.

See: Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Improvements for Families and Gender Equality) Bill 2022


New Sexual Harassment Laws Commence

From 6 March 2023, a person who alleges they have been sexually harassed in connection with work can apply for the Fair Work Commission to deal with a sexual harassment dispute if they are:

  • a worker in a business or undertaking; or
  • seeking to become a worker in a particular business or undertaking; or
  • a person conducting a business or undertaking.

A worker is an individual who performs work in any capacity, including as an employee, an apprentice, a student on work experience or a volunteer.

Applications can be made jointly by 2 or more aggrieved persons against one or more perpetrators or employers/principals.

The conduct must have started on or after 6 March 2023 and applications should be made within 2 years of the last alleged contravention.

If the FWC cannot resolve the dispute, it can issue a certificate, and the applicant can pursue the matter in court.

The power to address sexual harassment disputes supplements the FWC’s existing power to make stop sexual harassment orders. An aggrieved worker can pursue both options in tandem.

See: Sexual Harassment laws commencing 6 March 2023

BONUS – Sexual Harassment Policy Checklist

Does your business have a Sexual Harassment Policy? Is it compliant with the new workplace laws?

Check out our Sexual Harassment Policy Checklist.


Jen's Mailbox

Dear Jen

I am a retired navy helicopter pilot, war hero and…well, don’t believe most of the other things on Wikipedia.

I used to work in the family business, but now that Mummy is gone, my brother is terminating my allowance and insisting I move into a smaller house.

Surely there’s a law against this?


Anonymous Duke

Dear Anonymous Duke

This isn’t really my area of expertise, but if you’re being given a free house for doing no work, grab it.


Jen, (Mortgage Payer)


Jen's Difficult Conversations in the Workplace

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 Thanks! 


Jen's After Work

Hooray – They’re Back!

My dream of becoming a fire-fighting doctor through online learning remains on track. New episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Station 19” have dropped on Disney.

What I’ve Started Watching (on Amazon)

I’ve been waiting for this one. Elvis’ granddaughter, Riley Keough is fabulous in this adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s book “Daisy Jones & The Six”. Think LA in the 70’s. A Fleetwood Mac-ish band. Groovy clothes and music. What’s not to love!

What I (And Millions of Others) Watched (on Netflix)

“Physical 100” is a Korean reality show. Athletes compete in indoor “Survivor-like” quests to determine who has the “most perfect physique”. It’s badly dubbed. It’s slow. The host is an electronic-talking eye. And yet, for reasons I do not remotely understand, it is utterly compelling.

What I (And Millions of Others) Watched (on Netflix)

“Murdaugh Murders” is a 3-part true crime docuseries about a South Carolina legal dynasty and their downfall following a drunken deadly boating accident and the murders that followed. A sad, “only in America” story, but the interviews with the survivors make it a must-watch.

What I Watched (on Paramount)

I don’t normally watch “South Park” but I felt obliged to watch the episode featuring the Prince and Princess of Canada. It’s brutal, but if anyone can cleverly satirise the “Worldwide Privacy Tour” to promote Harry’s book “Waaagh” it’s these guys.

What I Watched (on Netflix)

I love a reno show. “Instant Dream Home” is unique. Over 200 people spend 12 hours doing a high quality (yes, you read that right) home make-over for people who actually deserve it. I got almost as teary as the home owners in every ep.

Dates For Your Calendar….

The new series of “Ted Lasso” drops on 15 March (Apple TV+) and the final season (sob) of “Succession” starts on 27 March (Foxtel/Binge).


Jen's Last Word

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