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?  

“Quiet Cutting” is a cruel and passive aggressive trend. It involves employers quietly cutting an employee’s workload, responsibilities, role or compensation to prompt an employee to quit their job. This trend has the potential to backfire in the form of a costly adverse action claim.

How about having honest candid conversations people!

See: Quiet Cutting Trend



Buzzword of the Week: “Unretirement”

Since the pandemic, Australians have been re-joining the workforce after retiring. Between 2019 and 2022 more than 179,000 people over the age of 55 went back to work – but not necessarily in their former professional or trade roles. Have you noticed the number of friendly older folk at Bunnings and Coles lately?

Take Out Point: This trend is no surprise given the cost of living crisis, skills shortage, workplace diversity… and the genuine desire of grandparents to avoid providing unpaid day care services.

See: The Great Unretirement

Job of the Week: London’s Poet Laureate Of Bridges

Skills Required: Thou must yield a love of London Bridges, a thorough knowledge of London Bridges, and an ability to write poems about London Bridges.

The London City Bridge Foundation charity is advertising for a unique position of a poet who can write about London’s most famous bridges.

The role attracts a salary of $10,000 GBP along with travel expenses to write eight poems about London bridges and attend fancy cultural events.

See: London’s Poet Laureate Of Bridges


US Podcaster Claims Aussie Workplaces Are Toxic And Full Of Backstabbers

Cryptocurrency trader and US expat, Elijah Schaffer has attracted a lot of online attention after he accused Aussie workers of being backstabbers who sabotage you if you are successful.

Elijah says that the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” leads to many Australians becoming “extremely destructive” and seeking to ruin their colleague’s lives when they spot them achieving success. Elijah wasn’t entirely negative, noting that most Australians also “love to drink, they love to do drugs, they love to go out on the weekend and they love to get smashed”.

Take Out Point: Not happy here Elijah? Allow me to drive you to the airport.

See: Aussies Slammed For Workplace Culture


McKinsey Employees Offered 9 Months Pay To Leave

McKinsey and other management consulting firms are looking to reduce headcount, delay start dates and reduce hiring rates to reflect declining client demand. McKinsey is offering 9 months’ pay as well as career-coaching services, to some UK staff who’d like to leave. In the US, some of their consultants have been warned they are running out of time to be promoted.

McKinsey says that “These actions are part of our ongoing effort to ensure our performance management and development approach is as effective as possible, and to do so in a caring and supportive way.”

Take Out Point: This approach is pragmatic and kind – but unaffordable for most employers.

See: Consulting Firm Offers Employees Nine Months’ Pay to Leave



Employer Found To Have Discriminated Against Worker With Criminal History

A single mother of two children was placed on leave and restricted from accessing her company’s IT systems after her HR manager discovered she had a criminal record of violence and drug-related offences.

The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal found the employer had directly discriminated against the employee on the basis that they had failed to consider the employee’s specific circumstances or whether the criminal record was relevant to the employee’s job. The Tribunal was satisfied that the criminal record was irrelevant.

Take Out Point: Whilst the legislation is different in each State and Territory, as a general rule, an employer can only refuse to employ a person on the basis of their criminal record if it is relevant to the performance of the inherent requirements of their job. Seek advice if unsure.

See: Complainant Dt232023 V The Australian Capital Territory Represented By The Community Services Directorate (Discrimination) [2024] ACAT 17


How Do You Know If It’s Bullying Or Reasonable Management Action?

An Apple employee was given a letter of warning. He was not happy with the outcome of the investigation and so he sought a stop bullying order from the Fair Work Commission. The Commission concluded that the treatment of the employee was not bullying, and there was no risk of ongoing bulling.

Different management styles can lead to upset employees, but the Commission noted that “the incompatibility of personality styles as a phenomenon within the workplace, and any resulting friction that can occur, does not constitute bullying under the Act.”

Take Out Point: Reasonable management action conducted in a reasonable manner is not bullying. Give us a call if you need advice on how to navigate lawful performance management.

See: Whiteford [2024] FWC 552 (3 March 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 has hired a few oldies. They’ve come out of retirement to work in our office.

They keep smiling and talking to me. It’s freaking me out.

What should I do?


Gen Z Gen

Dear Gen Z Gen

I take it you have not seen the cinematic masterpiece that is “The Intern”?

People like Robert de Niro have a lot of life experience and wisdom to share – especially with those of you who spent your formative socialising years at home and online during the plague.

Go to office and hang out with the de Niros. Trust me, they will teach you a thing or two!

Gen X 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

Public Service Announcement: Wannabe Doctors and Firefighters like me are giddy about the fact that “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Station 19” are back on Disney. Oh the joy!

What I Watched (On SBS)

“The Vanishing Triangle” is a 6 episode thriller set in Ireland in the 90s. A newspaper reporter believes the person who murdered her mother 20 years ago may be responsible for a spate of killings of young women. She convinces a Detective (Tom from “Downton Abbey”) to help her investigate. Based on a true story. Divine Irish accents.

What I’m Watching Mindlessly (On Netflix)

Season 2 of the ridiculous “Physical 100” has dropped. In this Korean reality show, athletes compete in indoor “Survivor-like” quests to determine who has the “most perfect physique”. It’s badly dubbed. It’s slow. The host is an electronic-talking eye. And yet, for reasons I do not remotely understand, I watch.

What I Adored (On Stan)

“Big Mood” is a laugh out loud (and at times dark) comedy starring the fabulous Nicola Coughlan (“Bridgerton” and “Derry Girls”). Two besties from East London juggle life in their 20s, career issues and bipolar disorder.

What I Inhaled (On Britbox)

“Mrs Wilson” is based on a true story. (In fact, the lead actress plays her real life grandmother). After spy and novelist Alec Wilson unexpectedly dies in 1963, his devoted wife is forced down many rabbit holes when another Mrs Wilson arrives on her doorstep. Lots of secrets. Loved it. Much Googling ensued once finished.

What I’ve Started Watching (On Apple TV+)

“Palm Royale” is about a woman’s desire to join a fabulous Palm Beach Club in the late 60’s. Shallow and vacuous? Yes. Fabulous clothes, set design and casting. Absolutely. Stars Kristen Wiig, Ricky Martin, Alison Janney, Laura Dern, and Carol Burnett.


Jen's Last Word

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