Jen's Workplace News


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

We’ve also included a bonus End of Year Party email template to send to staff.

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?

Fatigue. Everyone is worn out. Over it. The end of the year cannot come fast enough.

Take Out Point: I love the convenience of Zoom, but sometimes I just want to post someone a letter and not have to think about them for a week.

Seasonal Habit: “The Fake Deadline of Christmas”

Requiring someone to complete a work task by 24 December even though you won’t deal with it until you return from the beach in mid January.


Jens Articles and Cases


Job of the Week

Job: Beyoncé Reporter for USA Today and The Tennessean.

Location: Anywhere news breaks about Beyoncé.

Skills required: An obsession with Beyoncé’s “influence on fashion, music and culture”, her “complex business and entertainment empire” and being able to connect with the “BeyHive” fanbase.

Salary: Not disclosed, but presumably, the successful applicant – Caché Janae McClay – a “seasoned entertainment journalist” who “has worked for NBC News, BBC News and TMZ” isn’t being paid in Lemonade.

See: Beyonce Reporter Job

End of Year Party Preparation

It’s that time of year again. End of year workplace functions are being organised.

Whilst parties are meant to be a fun reward for a year of hard work, there’s been way too many examples of #careerendingmoves.

If you don’t want to have to talk to your friendly employment lawyer in the post-party days, weeks and months, set clear behavioural expectations in advance.

Here’s a pre-party starter template that can be personalised for your business.

Download the Bicknell Law & Consulting email template for upcoming festivities.

Job Applicants Asked To Send TikTok Videos Instead Of Cover Letters And CVs

Hilton Hotels are asking job seekers to send in TikTok videos instead of cover letters and resumes. Hilton’s Human Resources Director, Mary Hogg says this will encourage “people to be their real, authentic selves”. The trend for video job applications for client-facing roles has been “slow off the mark…but it can attract the right people” according to Robert Half director Nicole Gorton.

Take Out Point: Whilst Boomers and Gen X’ers are perfectly capable of creating TikTok’s, will they? Are employers using tech-phobia to filter out applicants of a certain age?

See: TikTok Videos Replace Resumes

Nanny Complains Because Not Flown First Class

An employer was left shocked after receiving a complaint from the family nanny who said she was treated disrespectfully by being seated in “Comfort+” whilst accompanying the family on an overseas vacation. Even though she only had to work a few nights, the nanny threatened to quit and ghosted the parents on the trip to Costa Rica, other than to talk about the child.

Take Out Point: I get it. We all want to turn left when we get on a plane…but this nanny got to sit on her own whilst the parents looked after the kid. I’d take that as a win.

See: Employer Doesn’t Fly Nanny First Class

CEO Blasted For Proposal That Job Seekers Should Pay To Apply For Jobs

CEO of US Cannabis Company Grow Sciences has suggested that people should pay a ‘small fee’ before being considered for a job. His LinkedIn post proposed that the disincentive could prevent employers being overwhelmed by unsuited job applications. The idea was immediately shut down and labelled “ridiculous”, “tone deaf” and “terrible”.

Take Out Point: I’m guessing that this post effectively reduced the job applications this CEO now needs to deal with…

See: CEO Proposes Pay to Apply Idea


Fixed Term Contracts – New Laws 6 December 2023

From 6 December 2023, strict new laws on Fixed Term Contracts come into effect. The new rules include:

  • Fixed Term Contracts can’t be longer than 2 years.
  • Fixed Term Contracts can’t have an option to extend more than once.
  • Consecutive Fixed Term Contracts must meet a number of criteria.
  • Fixed Term Contract Information Statements must be provided to any employee entering into a Fixed Term Contract.

Take Out Point: Businesses who engage employees on Fixed Term Contracts need to understand the new laws.

See: New Rules For Fixed Term Contracts

Sexual Harassment – Positive Duty Enforceable From 12 December 2023

From 12 December 2023, the Australian Human Rights Commission will have the authority to enforce compliance with the positive duty of employers to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sexual harassment.

Take Out Point: Employers must be proactive under these new laws. Guidelines on complying are in the links below. And if you are still unsure about whether your workplace is ready, call us for a chat.

See: Checklist – What Every Business Needs to Know About Sexual Harassment Positive Duty
And: AHRC Guidelines for Complying with the Positive Duty


Apprentice Slapped Whilst Hanging Upside Down From a Crane at Wild Workplace Christmas Party

A young apprentice employee was filmed being repeatedly slapped whilst tied up and suspended upside down from a crane at a work Christmas Party. The devastated employee said he “felt like a piece of meat about to get cut”. The Melbourne based employer pleaded guilty to operating an unsafe workplace and faces a maximum fine of $80,595.

Take Out Point: Workplace Health and Safety Laws apply to workplace events such as Christmas Parties.

See: Apprentice Slapped at Work Christmas Party

Employee Claims Employer Bullied Her By Refusing Work From Home Request

An employee sought to work from home and claimed that her employer bullied and discriminated against her because they refused to let her do so. The Fair Work Division of the Federal Circuit and Family Court found that the employee had no legislative or contractual right to work from home.

Take Out Point: Employers ultimately have discretion to direct whether or not an employee can work from home provided that the direction is lawful and reasonable.

See: Homes v Australian Carers Pty Ltd (No 2)

FireFighter Keeps Job After Posting Only Fans Video and Naked Women Meme in Facebook Group for “Sickos”

A Firefighter employed on a NSW Navy Base was fired after participating in a private Facebook group named “Sickos”. The Firefighter shared an Only Fans video of a woman in a bikini top and a Meme showing the backs of three naked women captioned “new, used and worn shock absorbers”.

The Full Bench accepted that the racist, sexist and pornographic posts in the Sickos Group had the potential to create a hostile environment for women. However, they concluded that the “nature of the posts alone” did not establish a connection to the firefighter’s employment and noted that the employer had not delivered adequate training on sexual harassment.

The Bench ultimately held that the “abject stupidity of sharing pornographic or other offensive material” was not in of itself a valid reason for dismissal and upheld the reinstatement of the firefighter.

Take Out Point: Every case turns on its facts. To justify a dismissal, an employee’s problematic conduct must have a connection to their employment.

See: Mr Martin Pelly v Ventia Australia Pty Ltd T/A Ventia


Jen's Difficult Conversations in the Workplace

Do you know how to manage underperformance?

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.


Jen's Mailbox

Dear Jen,

I’m in my 60’s and find myself applying for new jobs.

The company I’d really like to work for wants me to submit a Tik Tak. I have no idea how to do this.

What should I do?


Dear Boomer Bob,

Methinks you are referring to “Tik Tok”.

The company either wants your application on video because they’re keen to see your fabulous personality, or they just don’t want certain people to apply.

Grab a tween to help you set up your account, do a few practice runs, and let this employer know how lucky they will be to have you!



Jen's After Work


What I Am Watching (on Apple TV+)
“The Buccaneers” is not about pirates – not real ones anyway. This “Bridgerton-esque” series is about 5 new-money American girls who head to England (on ships) to participate in the annual London (find a titled husband) season. Great cast, frocks and soundtrack.

What I Am Watching (on Britbox)
In my ongoing quest to learn to speak Scottish, I am loving “Payback”. Who knew that a crime thriller about a murdered accountant could be so gripping!

What I Inhaled (on Netflix)
“The Billionaire, The Butler, and the Boyfriend” is a docuseries about scandal. Liliane Bettencourt (Loreal owner and world’s richest woman) made front page news when she fell out with her daughter. What did the boyfriend do? Did the butler save the day? Don’t Google it, just watch.

What I’m Watching (on Disney)
Want to become a Doctor without the hassle of a 6 year degree? No problem. All 6 seasons of “The Resident” are now available on Disney. You’re welcome!

What I’m Watching (on ABC iview)
“On Take 5” Double J host Zan Rowe interviews Lin-Manuel Miranda and Noel Gallagher and others about the 5 songs they really love.


Jen's Last Word

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