Jen's Workplace News


We are back with a workplace trend, news snippets, a shocking dismissal case, and sage advice in the “Dear Jen” column.

And of course, I share my recommendations for your viewing and listening 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?

Generational friction.

Business owners and managers keep asking me what they have to do to get Gen Z to “work hard” and put deadlines ahead of yoga.

I get it. I’m from a generation that pre-dates the concept of “work/life” balance. (And I hate yoga).

My advice. Employers, be really clear about expectations before you hire someone.



Harry and Meghan Accused of Being ‘Grifters’ by Spotify Exec

A Senior podcasting executive of Spotify has launched a rant about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex calling them “The F—ing grifters”. He said the Duke “just whines about shit and keeps giving interviews”. This scathing assessment comes after the couple’s $29 million Spotify podcast deal was dropped.

Take Out Point: Ouch. Public axings with commentary are never fun.

See: Harry and Meghan are ‘grifters’, says Spotify executive

Starbucks Loses $25.6 Million Suit Over White Woman’s Firing

A former Starbucks manager has been awarded $25.6 million for wrongful termination. The manager said she was fired for being white after she objected to the suspension of another white employee. The Court agreed that the manager’s race was a factor and the payout included $25 million in punitive damages.

Take Out Point: Wrongful termination can be very costly (especially when a US jury is involved).

See: Starbucks Manager Awarded $25.6 million

LinkedIn Bans 14-year-old boy Hired by Elon

A 14-year-old boy will join Elon Musk’s SpaceX team as a software engineer this month after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science and Engineering. He posted about his new job on LinkedIn, only to have his account deleted until he meets the site’s age requirement of 16.

Take Out Point: I reckon his Twitter is safe…

See: Elon Musk hires 14-year-old ‘wonder kid’ to work at SpaceX

Report Says Working from Home Makes Us Less Productive and More Depressed

Research from the Australian National University, University of Newcastle and Macquarie University has found that working from home last year made the average worker more anxious depressed and lonely as well as less productive. Not all bad news, it was found that the negative effects can be reduced if workers are supported, there is good co-ordination and no conflict.

Take Out Point: Every business’ and employee’s situation is different and needs to be managed that way.

See: Work From Home Study

Goldman Sachs Partner Accidently Sends Sexually Explicit Video of Himself to Junior Staffer

Adam Dell, fintech entrepreneur and brother of billionaire Michael Dell sent a work-related video to a junior staffer. He didn’t realise that the video also included a sexually explicit recording of himself. The staffer left the bank and was paid several million dollars to resolve her complaint about the traumatising ordeal.

Take Out Point: Cameras off people!!! Did Covid teach us nothing?

See: Goldman Sachs partner pays out millions after sending sexually explicit video to staff



Employer Sacks Employee, Accuses Him of Cocaine use, Calls Him a Dog, and Threatens to Ruin His Life

After a project manager had a dispute with his Managing Director about a late concrete pour on a worksite, the boss texted him “You’re going against me you mother f#cker? You f#cking prick. You can f#cking stay at home and not go to work.” The text was followed up with a request to return the work ute, with the employer emphasising the urgency stating “F#CKING N[O]W, RUDE PRICK”.  The Federal Circuit Court was satisfied that this exchange amounted to a summary dismissal of the project manager’s employment.

The employer didn’t stop there. After the project manager posted a message to his colleagues that he had been dismissed, he received messages from his boss telling him ”I’ll destroy you and your family’s life”. The Managing Director threatened to tell the employee’s wife that he had been using cocaine and that “this will be my punishment to you for being a dog”.

The Court found that the employer’s conduct was “reprehensible in the extreme” and quite vile. The hurt, humiliation and psychological harm caused to the employee was taken into account and the damages awarded were at the high end of usual amounts ordered for such matters.

The employer was ultimately ordered to pay $125,000 in damages and penalties for its failure to pay out proper entitlements and the cruel and threatening manner in which the dismissal was carried out.

Take out Point: Employers need to pay notice and correct and conduct terminations with respect and sensitivity.

See:  Seyer v Gatwood Management Pty Ltd


Jen's Difficult Conversations in the Workplace

Difficult Conversations – Strategy + Scripts + Documentation

Important conversations require planning. Often we know they need to have a conversation but can’t find the right words.

That’s  where I come into it. I have a knack for preparing strategies, scripts and documents for:

  • Performance management conversations
  • Redundancy consultations
  • Managing toxic employees
  • Addressing bullying and harassment claims
  • Managing requests to Work From Home and Flexible Work Arrangements.

Let me take the stress out of handling these workplace issues…

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 workshop or coaching.


Jen's Mailbox

Dear Jen,

I’m hoping you can help me settle a bet with my husband.

He thinks he will be starting a new job in November 2024. I’ve told him there are certain jobs you cannot do from jail. He says that’s fake news.

I know you are not from the US, but do you know if there laws about that?

Anonymous Former First Lady

Dear Anonymous Former First Lady,

You’re right, I’m not an expert in US law, but last time I checked, you can’t run the White House from the Big House.




Jen's After Work


What I Watched (on SBS on demand)

My cop-show obsession continues with “Blue Lights”. Kinda like “The Rookie” but set in Belfast and the rookie is a woman. (And despite being in English, you may need to turn on the sub-titles).

What I Inhaled (on Netflix)

“Tour de France Unchained” is the cycling version of “Drive to Survive”. But these fearless athletes propel their jockey-like bodies down mountains at lightning speed in lycra. (Not all heroes wear jumpsuits).

What I’m Watching (on Prime)

What happens when Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney (from “The Katering Show”) decide to make a comedy version of “Broadchurch”? You get “Deadloch”, a Taswegian comedy crime drama. Hilarious, cringey, dark. Loving it.

What I Watched (on Prime) 

I thought “19 Kids and Counting” was a harmless reality show about a super religious Arkansas family with lots of kids. Enter “Shiny Happy People” – a shocking docuseries that exposes the Duggars’ role as recruiters for the IBLP church (cult). Car crash tv, but I couldn’t look away.

Podcast I’m Listening To

Who doesn’t love a podcast about Murdoch, Disney, and Peloton scandals! Check out “Corporate Gossip”.


Jen's Last Word

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