Jen's Workplace News


We are back with a workplace trend, news snippets, a case about an employee dismissed for swearing, and sage advice in the “Dear Jen” column.

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?

Lately, a number of clients have sought help with scripting conversations with toxic employees. Whilst clients are often fearful of the consequences if they hold employees to account, the bigger concern is what will happen if they do nothing.

Take Out Point: Star employees and clients leave if an employee’s bad behaviour is tolerated.



Job of the Week: Smile Coach

Keiko Kawano, a smile coach from Japan, has found that since the end of COVID mask restrictions, her services have been needed more than ever. “People have not been raising their cheeks under a mask or trying to smile much. Now, they’re at a loss”. IBM Japan said that Kawano’s smile-training was “received well”.


See: Smile Coach happily delivers training


Alternative Job of the Week: Margarita Tester

A Canadian online gaming information website is offering up to US$4,000 for a weeklong, all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas, to find Sin City’s best margarita. Sadly only US or Canadian residents can apply.

See: Margarita testing job

Elon Says “Laptop Class Is Living In La-La Land”

In an interview with CNBC, Elon Musk said that “the laptop class is living in la-la land”. According to Musk, “people building the cars, servicing the cars, building houses, fixing houses, making the food, making all the things that people consume. It’s messed up to assume that, yes, they have to go to work, but you don’t. It’s not just a productivity thing, I think it’s morally wrong”.

Take Out Point: I’m a fan of workplace attendance too, but it’s “messed up” for gazillionaires who don’t have a 2-hour commute or hands-on childcare responsibilities to question the morality of others.

See: Elon Musk lashes out at staff who work from home


Bunnings To Trial 4 Day Work Week

Bunnings will be trialling different models of a 4 day week or 9 day fortnight. Full-time employees will be able to request that they spread their rostered hours, provided that they agree to work some weekend shifts.

Take Out Point: Rest assured, the Bunning sausage sizzle will be unaffected by the trial. It will continue to be staffed by community group volunteers.

See: Bunnings to trial 4 day week


The Jobs Most Affected by AI

The AFR has reported on research from economics advisory firm, Mandala Partners, regarding AI’s impact on occupations in Australia. Among those to be most affected by AI are “lawyers, management consultants, tertiary educators and logistics teams”. Roles that will be changed by ChatGPT and similar tech are “policy experts, psychologists and counsellors, judges and telemarketers” and “about 500,000 people work in the 10 occupations set to be affected most by AI”.

Take Out Point: It’s important to remember that AI will change not replace these roles. Employees in the most affected industries will need to embrace the new opportunities or be left behind.

See: Which jobs will most be affected by AI



When Swearing Amounts to Sexual Harassment and Serious Misconduct

A male employee allegedly told a male colleague during an argument “I’ll f**k you in the a*se” and “suck my d*ck”(the Alleged Swearing).

The employee denied the Alleged Swearing, but was dismissed on the basis of serious misconduct involving bullying and sexual harassment. The employee brought an unfair dismissal claim in the Fair Work Commission.

The employee had signed a declaration that he had read and understood his employer’s Bullying and Harassment Policy. At the hearing, the employee contended that he hadn’t actually seen the policy. The FWC wasn’t interested in this excuse, given the signed declaration.

The FWC preferred the evidence of witnesses to that of the employee and found that the Alleged Swearing occurred. It fell within the definition of sexual harassment as defined in the Fair Work Regulations.

The FWC was satisfied that the dismissal was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable because the employee’s conduct was “of such serious gravity”. The employee’s failure to admit his own actions left his employer “with no confidence that such conduct would not reoccur. This created an untenable situation inconsistent with the continuation of the employment relationship or contract”.

See: Warren Power v Lyndons Pty Ltd T/A Lyndons

Take Out Point: Swearing can amount to sexual harassment and justify dismissal for serious misconduct. Employers should ensure that their Bullying and Harassment Policies are up to date and that employees have signed confirmation that they have read and understood the policies.


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.


Dear Jen,

I run a large country.

I was supposed to travel to visit a fella Down Under, but I have had to change my plans and work from home.

This seems to have upset a few people.

I don’t think it’s anyone’s business if I decide to work from home.

What do you think?

Best wishes,

Anonymous President & Leader of the Free World

Dear Anonymous President & Leader of the Free World,

I think it depends on the role and how it affects others…and whether you work with Elon.




Jen's After Work

What I watched (on Prime)

In “Air”, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon tell the 1984 story of Nike’s creation of Michael Jordan’s shoe. For those who love a tale about ‘betting the farm’ on something that may not work, 80’s fashion and brick shaped cars and phones.

What I Watched (on Apple)

“Still” is a documentary film that explores Michael J Fox’s life and career. Loved reminiscing with Alex P Keaton and Marty McFly. In awe of Fox’s optimism despite living with an incurable illness.

What I Watched (on Netflix)

“Working: What We Do All Day” is an American 4 part doco hosted by Barack Obama. It looks at the lives of people at different levels of the home care, tech and hospitality industries. Interesting, but hard to watch ‘salt of the earth’ people being paid $9/hour.

What I Watched (on Foxtel/Binge)

Fabulous UK police drama “Forgotten” returns for series 5 with a case about a corpse in a chimney. Wait ‘til after dinner to watch, but make sure you do.

What I Glimpsed (on Paramount)

I knew I shouldn’t, but I just had to check out “Family Stallone”. I lasted a whole 10 minutes. Don’t. Just don’t.

Podcast I’m Listening To

In my quest to become the next Shonda Rimes, I am studiously listening to the “Queen Charlotte” official podcast. Love learning behind the scenes stuff from creative rock stars.


Jen's Last WordSorry Albo I'm working from home


Subscribe To Our Newsletter


Sign up to my mailing list for my practical & funny fortnightly workplace newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!