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 viewing pleasure.

Cheers, Jen


Jens Lens

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

The tables are turning. The “kids” are growing up. Millennials and Gen Zs are becoming the decision makers in businesses, meaning that the careers of many older generations (yes even Boomers) are in their hands.

Content Creator, Drew Muxlow says he is “done applying to millennial companies” after being asked to rate various celebrities (including Tay Tay and Travis) on a scale from “cringe to slay”.

Take Out Point: Not sure there’s anything remarkable here. It’s always been the case that employers and employees need to “fit”. Now we’re just going to hear about the drahhhhhhma on Tik Tok!

See: Job Hunter Refuses To Apply For Millennial Companies



Job Ad of the Week: Astronaut

A job ad for Astronaut training posted by the UK Government has surprised absolutely no-one when it said that the successful applicant “may spend nights away from home” and may need to work on evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

Take Out Point: Those committed to working from home need not apply.

See: Readers Baffled By Job Ad and The Job Ad

Buzzword of the Week: “Office Peacocking”

Companies are getting desperate to find ways to drag their employees out of their pyjamas, off zoom and back into the office. Office Peacocking involves dressing up office spaces to look like living rooms with trendy lounges, rugs, artworks and free snacks.

Take Out Point: This is all good and well, but can they wear Uggs?

Multi Million Dollar Sexual Harassment Claim By 12 Women 

Twelve employees, backed by the United Workers Union are suing produce giant, Perfection Fresh. The “Perfection 12” (as they have become known) allege they have been subjected to repeated sexual harassment by men in positions of authority. The harassment is alleged to have occurred in a tomato glasshouse in South Australia and instances include grabbing women’s bottoms and breasts as well as one of the men exposing himself.

Perfection Fresh is a key supplier of tomatoes and cucumbers to Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.

Readers of a website set up by the Union have been called on to reach out to Coles, Woolworths and Aldi to hold Perfection Fresh to account. The website also features the “Bread and Roses” album which features moving songs and interviews recorded by the women who are fighting for a safer workplace.

Take Out Point: If successful, it will be Australia’s largest ever workplace sexual harassment case with damages potentially in the millions. Watch this space.

See: Perfection 12 Website 

Employees To Have “Right To Disconnect” In Major Law Reform

On 12 February 2024, the federal government passed a major amendment to the Fair Work Act which will give employees the “right to disconnect”. This is a big change to workplace practices. The law will be updated to give employees the right to refuse to monitor, read or respond to contact from their employers as well as third parties outside working hours.

A last-minute amendment to the law ensured that employers who breach FWC orders that enforce the new right will not face criminal penalties.

Take Out Point: Don’t be alarmed by this reform. Be prepared. In our upcoming newsletters and on our website, we will be providing guidance on how to navigate the new law, and as always, please contact us if you have specific questions.

See: Right To Disconnect Reform

Employee’s “Perfect” Text Exchange With Boss Goes Viral

An employee has been praised after standing up to his boss who tried to cancel his leave at the last minute without any consultation, after another employee resigned.

The employee had booked leave 7 months in advance to go to Bali for 3 weeks to attend his brother’s wedding. The boss tried to compromise, suggesting, by text, to the employee that he reduce his overseas holiday to just 3 days. The employee held his ground.

He said he was sorry the company was in this position, but went on leave effective immediately and said that “While away I will think about if working with a company that doesn’t promote boundaries is a place I really want to work at”. The text exchange was posted online and received more than 667,000 views.

The employee has found another higher paying job.

Take Out Point: The boss’ stance was unreasonable. Texting only made it worse. Now he has 2 resignations to deal with.

See: Employee’s Text Tears Boss To Shreds

Commonwealth Bank Hit With Record Fine For Underpaying Thousands Of Staff 

The Federal Court has found that the Commonwealth Bank and its subsidiary, CommSec failed to make top up payments to 7,402 staff over several years, giving rise to an underpayment of $16.07m. The Bank has since remediated all payments and apologised to its staff.

The Bank and Commsec have been ordered to pay a penalty of $10.6m.

The finding prompted an angry response from the Finance Sector Union who called for new laws to make wage theft a criminal offence.

Take Out Point: Whilst navigating Awards and Agreements can be a head spin, it is critical to get it right. Effective payroll systems are essential.

See: FWO Secures Record Penalties Against The CBA



Employee Suffers Psych Injury After Being Criticised On Facebook For Attending Comedy Show 

A Dendy Cinema manager posted on Facebook that he had attended a performance of comedian, Dave Chappelle. The manager suffered a panic attack and anxiety after his post led to online criticism by former and current work colleagues.

The manager’s bid for compensation for his injury has failed in the NSW Personal Injury Commission. The Commission did not accept that the manager’s employment was a substantial factor to his injury noting it was unrelated to his work tasks and sustained outside of work hours and before he attended his workplace.

Take Out Point: The test for the degree of “connection” between an injury and employment for compensation is whether the injury has arisen out of or in the course of employment.

See: Williams v Dendy Cinemas Newtown [2023] NSWPIC 675 (14 December 2023)

Dismissal Found To Be Unfair After Employee Sacked For Sexual Harassment

A bar attendant of a football club was fired after he was found to have bullied and sexually harassed  colleagues by swearing, yelling and making jokes about another employee being “molested”.

The FWC found there was a valid reason for the employee’s dismissal, but the process used was unfair.  The Commission held that the employer did not investigate the employee’s conduct properly, nor did they provide him with proper procedural fairness.

Take Out Point: No matter how serious an employee’s misconduct is, the process to terminate them needs to be lawful. Procedural fairness is key.

We specialise in workplace investigations and dealing with misconduct. Contact us if you have any questions or need assistance.

See: Scott Matthew Ashburner v St Marys Rugby League Club Ltd [2024] FWC 246 (30 January 2024)

Do you know how to manage disputes between colleagues?

The ‘Awkward to Awesome’ Workshop will empower your managers and team with essential skills and techniques to tackle challenging conversations with confidence.

Don’t let unresolved workplace issues hold your business back. Empower your team with the  skills to have difficult conversations. Increase productivity. Decrease recruitment costs. Boost profits! Check out the ‘Awkward to Awesome’ Workshop.

Or grab 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 coaching session.


Dear Jen,

I recently got a warning for taking someone’s tuna sandwich from the office fridge.

I think this is a bit over the top. A warning!

What do you think?


Tommy Tuna


Dear Tommy Tuna

The warning was justified.  No-one should eat tuna sandwiches in the workplace. Ever!






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’m Pretending Not to Watch (on 9Now)

Australia’s guilty pleasure, MAFS (Making Audiences Feel Superior) has returned. Judging fame whores and feeling smug about ourselves has become a national sport. Also LOVING Shelly Horton’s videocast/podcast (on 9Now and podcast apps) that tries to make sense of it all.


What I Inhaled (on Stan)

You think you have a stressful job? Trying detonating bombs for a living! Watched the 6 episodes of season 2 of “Trigger Point” behind my fingers and under the covers.


What I’m Watching (on AppleTV+)

Fashion lovers will adore Ben Mendelsohn and Juliette Binoche as Christian Dior and Coco Chanel in “The New Look”. Très bonne!


What I’m Watching (on Disney)

Who knew my life was missing a comedic murder mystery, set on a cruise ship, featuring Mandy Patinkin as the “world’s greatest detective”. Is “Death and Other Details” a little silly? Yes. Am I desperate to see how it ends? Also yes.


What I’m Watching (on Binge/Foxtel)

“Feud. Capote Feud: Capote vs the Swans” is a Ryan Murphy series about writer Truman Capote and the rich and glamorous Manhattan women he betrays. Stars Tom Hollander, Naomi Watts, Diane Lane, Calista Flockhart and NYC.


What I am Excited is Back! (on Netflix) 

Vroooooom! “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” is back.


Jen's Last Word


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