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 hearing about out there in the workplace world?  

Having lawyered for 30+ years, I’ve seen a lot. But some days, even I feel like I need a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down. Not sure if it’s the (relatively) buoyant labour market, hubris, or just outliers who have been raised by wolves, but some of the disrespectful workplace behaviour I’m seeing lately has had me clutching my pearls.

Take Out Point: Make it stop!



Buzzword of the Week: “Chaotic Working”

“Chaotic Working” is referred to as the younger sibling of “Quiet Quitting”. It’s a rebellious response of disaffected employees. Instead of quitting, they express their dissatisfaction with the workplace by engaging in excessive acts of generosity towards clients.

Take Out Point: Employers, if you have noticed staff “giving away the farm” it’s time to address their dissatisfaction. Is it them or is it you?

See: Chaotic Working

Job of the Week: The Coolest Job In The World

Job: The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust is looking for a team of five to work in the “remote but hectic” post of Port Lockroy in Antarctica for 5 months from November. The island is the size of a football pitch.

Perks: Penguins. Constant daylight. Not enough room to go jogging.

Not So Perky Bits: No flushing toilets. No running water. No mobile service. Limited WIFI. No Uber Eats. Only one shop. Nowhere to escape from the other 4 people.

Take Out Point:This gig gives a whole new meaning to “remote work”.

See: Antarctic Team Applications Now Open

What You Need To Know And Do About “The Right To Disconnect”

From 26 August 2024, national system employees and employers in businesses with 15 or more employees, will have “a right to disconnect”. [For small businesses (14 or less employees) this provision will not commence until 26 August 2025].

The “right to disconnect” means that employees will have a right to not respond to their employer’s contact outside of working hours, unless doing so is unreasonable.

Employers should not wait until August to start preparing for this change. It will have consequences for the employees that are recruited now. Employment Contracts, Position Descriptions and Policies & Procedures need to clearly prescribe the expectations of every role so that employees know what they are signing up for.

The “right to disconnect” will be a “workplace right” under the General Protections provisions of the Fair Work Act. In order to avoid Adverse Action claims, it is critical that managers are trained to ensure that they are aware of the changes to the law and understand that they cannot treat employees adversely if they reasonably refuse contact outside ordinary working hours.

Take Out Note: To discuss training or preparation of documents contact Jen on 0411 275 920 or


Top Business Schools Rolling Out Training On AI

Top USA Business Schools are “leaning in” to the digital transformation and incorporating AI training into their curriculum to equip graduates for success.

Whilst many business students are anxious that they will be replaced by generative AI, officials and faculty at Columbia Business School and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business say fluency in AI will be key to graduates’ success in the corporate world, allowing them to climb the ranks of management.

Take Out Point: As venture capitalist, Brett Wilson told students of the Kogod School of Business, employees won’t lose jobs to AI, but rather, to professionals who are more skilled in deploying it.

See: Business Schools Go All in on AI

Australian Government Examining the Impact Of AI On The Workplace 

A Federal Government Committee has announced they are conducting an Inquiry into the impact of Artificial Intelligence on the labour market.

Committee Chair, Lisa Chesters MP says “Australian workplaces are changing the way they operate” and as part of the Inquiry “The Committee wants to understand what these changes mean for employees and employers, our workplaces and the way we regulate and govern our employment practices”.

The Committee will be focused on “the benefits and risks of automated decision making and machine learning in the context of work, the role of business software and regulatory technology companies, and how to ensure the safe and responsible use of these technologies”.

Take Out Point: The Committee is currently calling for submissions and would like to hear directly from workers and employers. Click on the link below to the Inquiry if you want to have your say.

See: AI Inquiry and Govt Announcement on Digital Transformation of Workplaces


A Hairy Issue: Employer Wins The Right To Insist On Clean Shaven Employees

The CEPU has claimed in the Fair Work Commission that it was unreasonable for TasWater to direct its employees to shave off their stubble, sideburns, moustaches and beards.

The employer argued that employees must be clean shaven to use their PPE as protection against inhaling hazardous substances in the workplace. The Commission held that the requirement of employees was not onerous, noting that the direction was aimed at preventing illness and death.

Take Out Point: Employees are required to follow workplace directions when they are reasonable and lawful. A direction that is needed to prevent death or illness in most cases is likely to be considered reasonable.

See: Tasmanian Water and Sewerage Corporation v Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia [2024] FWC 786 (28 March 2024)


Underpaying Employer Hit With $4m Fine – GM and HR Manager Also Penalised

Companies related to a dumpling chain (in liquidation) were ordered to pay pecuniary penalties of around $4 million as a result of underpayments to employees.

The Employer’s General Manager and HR Manager were penalised $92,232 and $105,084 respectively for their roles in the contraventions. The Federal Court found that they “deliberately deprived the Employees of their legislated entitlements and contrived to disguise their wrongdoing through the creation of a false set of records”.

Take Out Point: The Courts are willing to slug individuals with personal fines where they have knowingly been involved with breaches of the Fair Work Act.

See: Fair Work Ombudsman v DTF World Square Pty Ltd (in liq) (No 4) [2023] FCA 341 (9 April 2024)

Full Federal Court Rules On Redundancy

A Full Federal Court has clarified what amounts to a “genuine redundancy” in a recent ruling in which it held that the termination of 22 mine workers were not genuine redundancies.

The Court found that some, if not all of the workers could reasonably have been redeployed to roles taken by contractors as part of a major restructure by the business.

The Full Bench stated that the Fair Work Act “requires that the possibility of redeployment should be assessed according to what ‘would have been’ reasonable”.

Take Out Point: Redundancies must be “genuine”. Reach out if you need any assistance navigating the law around redundancies.

See: Helensburgh Coal Pty Ltd v Bartley [2024] FCAFC 45 (5 April 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.

Dear Jen,

My boss wants me to learn to use AI.

She reckons it will make my job easier and give our clients a better outcome, but I think it’s all a conspiracy to put me out of a  job.

Can I refuse?

Cheers Worried Wally 

Dear Worried Wally 


And while you’re at it, be sure to refuse to take your typewriter home because your horse doesn’t like the extra weight.

Don’t be worried. Be prepared. Change is a coming…and it’s exciting.

Cheers Jen



Previous newsletters are available at our website. To catch up on earlier legal updates or viewing recommendations, head there now!

Jen's After Work

I don’t normally have the attention span for 2 hour movies (although somehow I have no problem watching 6 hour long episodes of a series. Go figure).

But…I made two exceptions last week.

What I Watched (On Amazon Prime) 

It’s been ages since I watched a great rowing movie, so imagine my excitement when I heard that George Clooney was directing “The Boys In The Boat”. Based on a true story. Stars our own Joel Edgerton. Watch with your partner and popcorn.

What I Watched (On Netflix)

“Scoop” is a movie about Prince Andrew’s misguided (ahem, career ending) interview on the BBC in 2019. Rufus Sewell and Gillian Anderson are brilliant, as are the very talented hair and make-up team.

Check out Rufus’ transformation in this link: Rufus Sewell Transformation

What I’m Watching (On AppleTV+) 

Michael Douglas stars as founding father Benjamin Franklin in, you guessed it, “Franklin”. You don’t get your face on a $100 bill for no reason. In 1788, Franklin convinced France to fund America’s war with Britain. Beautifully filmed on location in Paris and Versailles. Sadly, no random raps from Lin Manuel Miranda, but watch anyway.

What I Inhaled (On ABC iView)

“The Suspect” is a London based thriller about a psychologist with a secret. I could tell you more…but it’s a secret.

What I’m Watching (On Stan) 

Remember the “Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger? Well, she’s baaaaack. Nine years after leaving our screens, Stanger and some other matchmaking dude, join forces in “The Matchmaker”. Is it car crash tv? Yes. Should you watch? Yes. Especially on those days when you just need to escape the real world.


Jen's Last Word

A bad day at the office…

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