Hello!

 

We’ve got workplace trends and news, interesting cases, and sage advice in the “Dear Jen” column.

This edition’s freebie is a checklist of Essential Workplace Policies and Procedures… and of course, I share my recommendations for your viewing pleasure.

I hope this newsletter brings you some wisdom and joy!

 

Cheers, Jen

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

The new workplace laws are prompting many clients to wonder whether their Policies and Procedures are compliant – in particular those relating to flexible work, leave entitlements and sexual harassment.

Are your Policies and Procedures up to date?

Does your business have all the Policies and Procedures it needs to be compliant?

Here is an Essential Workplace Policies and Procedures Checklist.

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Reminder – Domestic Violence Leave Change From 1 February 2023

  • Full-time, part-time and casual employees of non-small business employers (ie employers with 15+ employees) will be able to access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave in a 12-month period. The leave is not pro-rated for part-time or casual employees.
  • Full-time, part-time and casual employees of small business employers (ie employers with 14 or less employees) will continue to be able to access 5 days of paid family and domestic violence leave in a 12-month period until 1 August 2023, when the entitlement to 10 days kicks in.

Oops – BA Flight Attendant Makes $87,000 Mistake On First Day

A flight attendant had a rough first day on the job when he accidentally activated the emergency slide on a British Airways Flight at Heathrow. The plane missed its slot and passengers were delayed for 4 hours whilst a replacement plane was found. The employee was stood down. No word as to whether he enjoyed a second day on the job.

See: Flight Attendant’s $87,000 mistake


Bosses Use Instagram To Contact Employees

According to The Telegraph London, bosses are now sending their employees messages on Instagram because Gen Z are ignoring work emails.

Wipro’s CEO says about 10% of the company’s 260,000 staff globally, “don’t even check one email per month”. Mr Delaporte said he no longer used email to deliver important messages to staff because he knew a significant proportion would not read them.

Mic drop…

See: Boss Ditches Email


Workplace Surveillance Laws

A NSW Parliamentary Committee has recommended that Workplace Surveillance Laws be updated to reflect advancements in technology. The Committee recommended that workers should have better privacy protections and opportunities to negotiate with their employers about what surveillance they should be under.

See: Impact of technological and other changes on the future of work and workers in New South Wales

 

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FWC Reinstates Employee Despite Threatening To Cut Colleague’s Throat

A mineworker had an angry interaction with a colleague which resulted in the mineworker saying “If this bloke says to go back to the trucks one more time I will cut his throat”. The mineworker’s employment was terminated.

The Fair Work Commission accepted that whilst the statement was clearly inappropriate, the mineworker did not have any intention of killing his colleague. The Commission gave consideration to the mineworker’s remorse, apology, unblemished record, the unlikelihood of him finding another job and his PTSD, as well as the colleague’s provocation.

It determined that whilst the dismissal was not unjust or unreasonable, it was harsh with respect to its consequences for the mineworker’s personal and economic situation and because it was disproportionate to the gravity of the misconduct.

No financial compensation was awarded, but as the likelihood of further aggressive behaviour was low, the mineworker was reinstated.

See: Mr Paul Weston v Coal & Allied Mining Services Pty Ltd

Take Out Point: Whilst reinstatement cases are rare, this case demonstrates that even when a dismissal was not unjust or unreasonable, an employee can succeed if the dismissal is harsh in all the circumstances.


FWC Says Employer Should Have Done More To Help Mum Balance Work And Family 

A paramedic, a young mum with three small children, asked to change her night shift arrangements so she could balance the care arrangements with her partner. Her request was denied and she was told the shift she requested “doesn’t exist”.

The Fair Work Commission found that Ambulance Victoria had no reasonable basis to deny the employee’s request for flexible work hours, saying it was obvious that more could have been done to reach a mutually satisfactory outcome. The employer’s failure to consult was a factor in the unreasonableness.

See: Ms Natasha Fyfe v Ambulance Victoria

Take Out Point: This outcome could be a sign of things to come. Under Fair Work Act amendments, from 6 June 2022 employers will be required to discuss requests with employees and genuinely try to reach agreement. Detailed reasons for any refusal will need to be provided. Employers will be obliged to inform the employee of alternative working arrangements it would be willing to make to accommodate the employee’s circumstances. Buckle up!

 

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Dear Jen

I am a retired footballer, Spice Girls fan and devoted dad of 4.

I recently got cancelled for takin’ 17 million quid for bein’ ambassador for the Qatar World Cup.

Meanwhile, Beyonce gets $35 mill to sing for an hour in Dubai. She aint bein’ cancelled.

I reckon this is work discrimination.

Can I sue Beyonce and everyone who cancelled me?

Cheers

David B


Dear David B

Have a listen to “Lemonade” and come back to me.

Meanwhile, given that you have 9 years left on your $180 million Qatar gig, perhaps forget about suing and just focus on your work.

Cheers

Jen 

 

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Want to Start the New Year on The Right Note?

If reading the Essential Workplace Policies and Procedures Checklist made you query what you need to do to comply with the new laws, please call 0411 275 920.

Or, if you are looking to start the New Year by embracing difficult conversations, get yourself 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.

If you love getting this newsletter in your LinkedIn feed or your inbox once a fortnight (with no spamming in between) please share it with fellow lovers of employment law and entertainment. They can sign up here or www.jenniferbicknell.com.au. Thanks! 

 

 

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What I Inhaled (on Stan)

In “Black Snow” a time capsule provides clues to a cold case murder. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this thriller as much as I did. Warning: it’s set in North Queensland. This seemed to add 10 degrees to my viewing temp.

What I Watched (on Netflix)

I enjoyed “Glass Onion – A Knives Out Mystery”…but I was shaken and stirred by Daniel Craig’s strong southern American accent. Felt kinda wrong, but he is so handsome I got over it.

What I Started to Watch (on Netflix)

“Break Point” is the tennis version of “Formula 1: Drive to Survive”. People who like tennis probably won’t miss the cars but I did.

What I Watched (on Netflix)

The “Bling Empire New York” cast are even more self-absorbed and unrelatable than their LA counterparts. But they make me feel good about myself. And so I watch.

What I Watched (on Foxtel/Binge)

Speaking of self-absorbed and unrelatable…“Vardy v Rooney” tells the tale of the WAGs at the centre of the “Wagatha Christie” defamation trial. Note: Bad acting and heavy Liverpudlian accents. Subtitles recommended.

 

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