Jen's Workplace News


In this newsletter, I discuss a trend I’ve noticed in the workplace world.

I look at the return of the Christmas Party, how the Federal Industrial Relations Bill is progressing and ongoing instability in the tech industry.

This week’s “Dear Jen” makes for interesting reading.

And of course, I share my recommendations for your viewing pleasure.

I hope this newsletter brings you some wisdom and joy!

Cheers, Jen


Jens Lens

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

Many employers are unaware that their employees are covered by an Award. Issuing a contract of employment is not enough if the employee is covered by an Award. The contract should refer to the applicable Award and the employee’s classification under it. Employers need to consider (amongst other things) the industry they are in and the classification most appropriate to the work performed by the employee.

To determine Award coverage, either seek advice or go to: Award Coverage or Find My Award.


Jens Articles and Cases


Christmas Parties Are Back… But Are They Different?

According to restaurants and caterers, Christmas parties are back. At the ‘top end of town’ lavish party plans are underway, but for many companies there will be scaled back events with onsite BBQs and food trucks. What message is your Christmas party sending?

See: Christmas Parties

I encourage all businesses to set clear expectations prior to Christmas Parties. Here’s a starter template that can be personalised and sent to staff in advance of festivities.

You’re welcome.

Industrial Relations Bill Passes House Of Reps

The contentious Federal Industrial Relations Bill has passed the House of Representatives but the legislation still needs to be examined by a Senate Inquiry and passed through the Upper House before it becomes law. Look out for more amendments to this Bill before it is passed as there has been much pushback from the business community.

Musk Says Return To The Office Or “Resignation Accepted”

Elon Musk is not a fan of remote working. He told Twitter employees: “Basically, if you can show up in an office and you do not show up at the office: resignation accepted”. It will be interesting to see if other companies follow suit.

See: Return or Resign

Meanwhile, it appears that Musk was a tad too efficient last week in his quest to slash Twitter’s workforce by 50%. Some essential employees were let go by mistake and have been asked to come back.


Meta (Facebook) Slashes 11,000 Roles

As a result of weak advertising results and increased costs, Meta (aka Facebook) has foreshadowed letting 11,000 employees go. At least Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg was able to say: “I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that” unlike the Fonz.

Meanwhile, Amazon has also foreshadowed significant job cuts and the Australian arm of food delivery service Deliveroo has gone into Administration.

Latest Buzzword: Job Washing

Apparently the labour shortage is causing some employers to trick job applicants into accepting roles that are not quite what they are made out to be. “Job washing” occurs when an employer misrepresents the true nature of a role, hiding the undesirable aspects and promising more than is on offer. It’s inevitable this will end in tears. Let’s keep things real people!

No Unfair Dismissal After Failure To Disclose Pre-existing Condition

In a recent Unfair Dismissal case the Fair Work Commission looked at the obligations of employers when managing employees with pre-existing medical conditions.

The matter involved a security guard who failed to disclose that he suffered from anxiety and mental health issues before commencing his employment. After a pattern of “inappropriate conduct and behaviour” the security guard’s employment was terminated.

He argued that his dismissal was unfair because his employer had not taken his medical condition into account when deciding whether to end his employment. However, the FWC found in favour of the employer.

Disclosure of pre-existing medical conditions was a condition precedent to the employment. The employee made a choice to only disclose what he thought would affect his daily duties. “The employer was denied the opportunity to properly assess [the employee’s] suitability for employment as well as the ability to ensure that it had adequate plans in place to ensure both the safety of Mr Harris and those around him”.

Take Out Point: Every case turns on its facts. Employers are entitled to have the opportunity to properly assess an employee’s suitability for employment so that they can put proper plans in place to ensure the safety of the employee and others.

Joel Harris v Securecorp NSW Pty Ltd [2022]


Jen's Mailbox

Dear Jen,

My business partner and I are throwing a Christmas Party for our staff.

I want to keep the bar open into the night to make up for the parties we missed during the plague.

She’s insisting we set a finish time and some other ridiculous rules.

How do I deal with this party pooper?



Dear Party Pat,

December is THE month for CLMs – Career Limiting Moves.

Do the right thing and put in place some boundaries.

Your staff will be grateful the next day (when they’ve gotten home safe and are still employed).




Jen's Difficult Conversations in the Workplace

Lying awake at night stressing about workplace issues?

Want peace of mind, greater confidence, reduced recruitment and legal costs?

Let’s chat about creating scripts tailored to your business, one-on-one coaching or team workshops by calling 0411 275 920. 15 minutes. No obligation.

I teach business owners and managers how to navigate the emotional and legal aspects of performance management with bespoke scripts, coaching, workshops, and courses.

Alternatively, 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.


Jen's After Work

There Should Be A Law Against: Streaming platforms drip feeding episodes weekly. (Yes, still cross with you Stan).

What I am Watching (on Stan)

“Yellowstone” is back. Like “Succession” the writers have us rooting for truly evil people. Oh, the shame.

What I Am Watching (on Binge/Foxtel)

In “Selling in the City” an interior designer and landscape artist magically transform inner city Australian properties. I was so inspired I nearly visited a Bunnings (and not just for a sausage sanga).

What I’ve Inhaled (on Netflix)

“Bling Empire” is an LA reality series that follows the lives of real life Crazy Rich (American) Asians. Yes, it’s trash, but immersion in escapism tv is sometimes necessary, if for no other reason than to prevent ill-conceived plans to visit Bunnings.

What I am Watching (on Disney)

“Grey’s Anatomy” is back for season 523. Surely it’s only a matter of time until I’m awarded my honorary medical degree.

What I Saw At The Movies

Until “Ms Jen Goes to Paris” again, movies such as “Mrs Harris Goes to Paris” are the next best thing. A London cleaner dreams of buying a haute couture Dior dress. I laughed. I cried. Dammit I think I’ll postpone the renovation and save for a Dior frock!


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!