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 seeing out there in the workplace world?

More and more disillusioned corporate-types driving Ubers.

Buzzword of the Week: “Survive to ‘25”

This is a term that a lot of businesses and freelancers are using. Times are tough in many industries. People just want to get to next year – survive to ’25 – when they hope things will have turned the corner.

See: Survive to ’25

Job of the Week: Crisp Taster

Aldi is looking for one very lucky snack connoisseur to take on “the role of a lifetime and become [their] official Crisp Taster”. The lucky applicant for UK’s “most spud-tacular job” will be required to taste and review the current and new crisp flavours to help inform future crisp flavours.

Take out: You had me at free crisps.

See: Aldi is hiring a crisp taster to be sent free bags of crisps to test


Workers Sacked For Mouse Jiggling

At least three workers have been fired by a major US bank, Wells Fargo after they were found to have sneakily falsified their work activity. The employees were “discharged after review of allegations involving simulation of keyboard activity creating impression of active work”.

Simulating “keyboard activity” has been a growing problem for companies with the rise of “mouse jigglers” which trigger movements of mouse cursors to assist lazy employees avoid detection by employee monitoring software.

Take Out Point: Bossware 3. Mouse Jiggler 0

See: Top bank fires workers for sneaky work from home trick

What You Need To Know About New Workplace Law Changes 

The new financial year has brought in a bundle of new workplace laws. See our Quick Guide on major new changes you need to know about.

From 1 July 2024

  • The National Minimum Wage will increase by 3.75%. This means the new National Minimum Wage will be $24.10 per hour, or $915.90 per week.

See: FWO  Minimum Wages

  • There will be an updated Fair Work Information Statement that employees will be required to provide to new employees before or as soon as possible after they start employment.

See: Fair Work Information Statement

  • The high income threshold in unfair dismissal cases will increase to $175,000 and the compensation limit will be $87,500 for dismissals occurring on or after 1 July 2024.

See: Unfair Dismissal Cap

  • The Superannuation Guarantee rate will increase from 11% to 11.5%.

See: ATO  Super Guarantee

  • Government Parental Leave Pay will increase from up to 100 days to up to 110 days.

See: Services Australia – Paid Parental Leave

  • A new offence of industrial manslaughter along with additional penalties for breaches will come into effect under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

See: DEWR – Industrial Manslaughter and Other Work Health and Safety Reforms

And Get Ready For The 26 August 2024 Changes… 

  • The new Right To Disconnect Laws commence for employers with more than 15 employees. Eligible employees will have the right to refuse unreasonable employer or third-party contact outside of working hours.

See: FWO – Right To Disconnect 

  • There are multiple changes to definitions and protections for Independent Contractors.

See: FWO  Independent Contractor Changes

  • A new casual employee definition will be introduced to the Fair Work Act.

See: FWO – Casual Employment Changes

Take Out Point: If you’re not ready, get ready. If you need help, let us know.

Bed-lam Over in Mattress Case Over Trade Secrets

Sleeping Duck has sought orders in the Federal Court for the disclosure of documents held by former staff members relating to its trade secrets. The Company is chasing down emails, SMS, WhatsApp and other social media messages from former staff who corresponded with another furniture company, Eva. These proceedings follow a recent ruling in favour of Sleeping Duck against a claim by one of the former employees that he had been frozen out of the mattress business.

Take Out Point: Companies can seek court order if they suspect that former employees have misused their trade secrets.

See: Sleeping Duck asks competitor to ‘give back’ trade secrets

McDonalds Gives AI Chatbots The Flip 

McDonalds has ended its test of employing chatbots to take orders at its US drive thru locations. What was touted as the exciting start to the future of the fast-food industry, ended in hilarious TikTok videos about failed orders.

Videos that went viral included women laughing uncontrollably at $250 worth of McNuggets being added to their order and other clips showing ketchup and butter packets being served with ice cream.

Take Out Point: Call me old fashioned, but I prefer a human rather than a bot asking me if I “want fries with that”.

See: McDonalds Ends AI Drive-thru Trial


NSW New Industrial Manslaughter Bill

The NSW Parliament recently passed the Work Health and Safety Amendment (Industrial Manslaughter) Bill 2024 into law. The new legislation provides for an industrial manslaughter offence punishable by gaol terms of up to 25 years for individuals and fines for companies of up to $20 million.

Take Out Point: The new law doesn’t change workplace obligations for NSW employers, however these tougher penalties are designed to deter unsafe workplace practices.

See: NSW Industrial Manslaughter Bill


Alleged Bullying Claim Dismissed By FWC

The Fair Work Commission dismissed an Application for a “stop bullying order” against a manager who was accused of bullying, yelling, abusing, belittling, unduly criticising, intimidating and threatening five cartage workers engaged by Fedex.

The Commission was not satisfied there was sufficient evidence to support the claims and found that the manager’s conduct in each of the complaints raised by the Applicants was “reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner”. It also found that the manager’s conduct did not create a risk to health and safety.

Take Out Point: Holding a worker to account for their conduct is lawful as long as it is done in a reasonable manner.

See: Zoran Momirovski, Anthony Douglas, Roberto Serafini, Peter Naumcevski, Matthew Egan [2023] FWC 3299 (8 December 2023)

Jen's Difficult Conversations in the Workplace

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.

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 Newsletter Readers  

On 24 July I am heading to the Paris Olympics to compete for the “Most Enthusiastic Australian Supporter” Medal.

If you need me to do workplace law things for you whilst in the same time zone, please reach out before then.



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

Jen's After Work

News Flash! My favourite show in past few years is “The Bear” (about a Chicago chef, not a bear). All episodes of season 3 have dropped on Disney. Yes Chef!!!

What I Am Watching (On Disney)

“Clipped” is a series based on the true story of the controversial owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, Donald Sterling. Tapes of his racist comments are released, impacting the team’s players and the NBA and America as a whole. The fabulous Jacki Weaver plays Sterling’s wife. A must watch – even if you’re not a basketball fan.

What I Inhaled – Even Though I Tried Not to Watch (On Netflix) 

Many are surprised that “America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders” has bumped “Bridgerton” from top of the Netflix charts. Alas, not I. Australians love ‘only in America’ shows that combine extreme athleticism with cultish tendencies. Warning: a deep dive on Google about cheerleader pay rates will follow consumption of this series.

Movie I Loved (On Netflix) 

I don’t normally watch movies, but I’m a sucker for Washington political thrillers about lobbyists played by Jessica Chastain. “Miss Sloane” is gripping from start to finish.

What I Watched (On ABC iview)

“Ladies in Black” is a series based on the 2018 movie of the same name. Set in the dress department of a posh department store. Great cast (including Miranda Otto, Debi Mazar), fabulous set, and an interesting (terrifying) look at 1961 Australia.

What I Am Watching (On Netflix)

I love NYC real estate p#rn. In “Owning Manhattan”, Ryan Serhant (“Million Dollar Listing New York”) and his team show us plenty of ahh-mazing NYC real estate…in amongst Kardashian-like drama. Not for everyone, but if you can stomach the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders show, you will like this. 

Jen's Last Word


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