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


The unemployment rate may have “officially” fallen to 4% but my inbox disagrees.

Unsolicited LinkedIn messages. Incessant emails from the retailers I haven’t (yet) unsubscribed from. Random texts from the business that gave me a facial 10 years ago.

Take Out Point: It’s clear businesses are hurting so it’s hard to be cross, but I can’t help but think that these constant interruptions are counter productive. [I’m talking to you LinkedIn strangers who think you can improve my (magnificent) website].

Job of the Week: IKEA Roblox Employee 

Location: Virtual Store in the Online World Of Roblox

How To Apply: IKEA is calling for applications for UK or Ireland based Gamers to earn real money to work as employees in a new virtual IKEA Store in the online Roblox game. Applicants will need to answer questions like “How do you feel about being turned into pixels” or “If you were a pixelated IKEA furniture, which one would you be and why?”

Successful applicants will be required to serve virtual meatballs and help others find fake furniture.

See: IKEA to Pay Roblox Players To Role Play As Employees in Virtual Store


Fair Work Ombudsman Budget Boost To Target Corporate Employers

The Fair Work Ombudsman has been allocated a $27.5 million boost in funding to pursue large corporate employers for not complying with the Fair Work Act by under paying staff. The Government’s latest Budget Paper states this task includes the monitoring and remediation of employers who self-report underpayments of staff.

Take Out Point: This funding matches sends a message that the FWO will continue to be pursuing companies that are guilty of underpayments.

See: Employment and Workplace Relations 2024-25 Portfolio Budget Statements 

Elon Musk Threatens To Ban iPhones At His Companies

Elon Musk has slammed Apple’s plan to integrate OpenAI technology with their devices. Commenting on X (formerly Twitter), Musk described the plan as an unacceptable security violation and wrote “If Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS level, then Apple devices will be banned at my companies”.

Take Out Point: Musk’s announcement no doubt has nothing to do with his falling out with former co-founder of OpenAI Sam Altman. Toys, pram Elon?

See: Has Musk Banned Apple?

Meanwhile Elon is also busy chasing overpayments after X bungled the currency conversion from US to Australian dollars when paying out sacked Australian Twitter staff.

See: Elon Chasing Overpayments From Australian Sacked Twitter Staff

Are Medical Certificates Necessary? 

Newcastle based GP, Dr Max Mollenkopf has criticised the need for GPs to provide medical certificates for employees who don’t need treatment but need to be able to provide the paperwork to their employers. Dr Mollenkopf says he sees two or three patients a day who turn up just for a certificate and that this practice “can take clinical time from people who are genuinely sick.”

Take Out Point: The right to request medical certificates can deter misuse of sick leave entitlements, but this begs the question – how can we avoid employing people we don’t trust?

See: Why This GP Wants Employers To Stop Asking For Medical Certificates

SafeWork NSW To Target Psychosocial Hazards in NSW Workplaces

SafeWork NSW has recently released its Psychosocial Health and Safety Strategy to ensure NSW businesses properly respond to, manage and prevent psychosocial hazards in the workplace. Psychosocial hazards are hazards that cause psychological harm such as bullying, traumatic workplace events and onerous job demands.

The strategy involves the launching of initiatives such as providing practical support to help businesses enforce psychosocial regulations and visits from SafeWork inspectors conducting “psychosocial WHS checks” to workplaces with 200 or more employees.

Take Out Point: Employers need to manage psychosocial risks in the same way that physical risks to health and safety are dealt with under workplace safety laws.

See: NSW Health Psychological Health And Safety Strategy  2024-2026

Mother Furious Over Babysitting Invoice Issued By Her Sister 

An incensed mother has taken to TikTok complaining about an invoice she received from her sister who babysat the mother’s child for a weekend. The invoice itemised charges for everything the young child ate and touched including 5 toilet flushes, A$15 for wetting the bed and A$10.50 for “using electricity to play video games”.

The sister justified the invoice explaining “Times are getting hard and I think it is only fair we charge for stuff that [the child] used while being here”.

Take Out Point: Not sure what is worse – one family member charging for childcare or the other outing her on TikTok. #cosi livs at it again!

See: My Sister Sent Me An Invoice For Babysitting My Daughter

Private Schools Push Back On Right To Disconnect Laws

The Association of Independent Schools of NSW, who represent some of Australia’s most exclusive schools, has called on the Fair Work Commission to restrain the impact of the right to disconnect laws on their teaching staff.

In a submission to the FWC’s review of modern awards, the Association has asked for the “retention of flexibility” in order for schools to be able to call on their staff to run co-curricular activities and attend overnight school trips.

Take Out Point: The Commission is required to insert a right to disconnect term into all modern awards by 26 August 2024. Businesses need to do their homework to get ready for these laws.

See: Private schools oppose right to disconnect for teachers


Employee Dismissed For WhatsApp Whinge

A bar supervisor at the Dolphin Hotel in Sydney was sacked after she criticised her employer in a WhatsApp group chat with her colleagues. The employee claimed that her dismissal was unfair because she thought her gripes were being aired in a private group chat outside of work. The Fair Work Commission disagreed, finding the Chat Group was clearly related to working at the Hotel and that her defiance of her employer’s directives to “work together” were unacceptable.

Take Out Point: Bad mouthing the boss has rarely led to any successful career progression.

See: Breanna Roche v The Trustee For The Dolphin Hotel Unit Trust

Fat Shaming Worker Gets Fired

A gardener for a landscaping company was dismissed after he swore at co-worker, called him a liar and accused him of being a “fat exploiter of foreigners”. Amongst other complaints, the errant employee also sent a bizarre text message to a colleague claiming to be one of Australian’s wealthiest men and said he was flying to his billion-dollar resort in Port Douglas.

The Fair Work Commission noted that the gardener’s conduct contravened the employer’s workplace bullying policies, and held that irrespective of the polices, “it is entirely unacceptable for a person to ‘fat shame’ a coworker. There is no justification for it.

The FWC found although there were deficiencies in the termination procedure, this was outweighed by the seriousness of the conduct. Even though the employer gave the employee two weeks’ pay in lieu of notice, the FWC found that the conduct constituted not only misconduct but serious misconduct that warranted summary dismissal.

Take Out Point: Whilst serious misconduct can warrant immediate dismissal, proper termination processes put employers in a strong position to defend unfair dismissal applications.

See: James Chol v Vivesco Pty Ltd [2024] FWC 1220 (9 May 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.

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 Jen,

I’ve received a job application from someone who is absolutely fantastic – she’s so much better than all the other applicants. The only problem is that she has a strange name.

Whilst I know I can’t blame her for her parents’ folly, I really don’t know if I can employ someone called ABCDE. (Apparently it’s pronounced “Absidy”. Who does that to a kid)?

What should I do?

Cheers, Dave Normal Name

Dear Dave Normal Name

There’s a reason ABCDE is the best applicant. Think about what she has had to endure with that moniker. She’s clearly resilient.

Don’t blame her for her parents’ folly.

ABCDE – you’re hired!

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

What I Inhaled (On Netflix)

I can’t remember the last time a show about a puppeteer was atop the Netflix charts, but alas, everyone is watching “Eric”. Benedict Cumberbatch plays a dysfunctional father whose son goes missing in New York City in the 1980s. Couldn’t stop watching.

What I Inhaled (On Britbox)

“After the Flood” is a crime mystery thriller set in a small English town. Police investigate the death of an unidentified man found in a lift after a flash flood. It’s better than it sounds. Really.

What I Watched (On Stan)

“Trailblazers” is a doco film about the fight for equality by Australia’s female soccer players. One for the Tillies fans.

What I Finally Finished (On Stan)

“A Million Little Things” is one of the best kept secrets on TV. Five seasons. A modern day “The Big Chill”. A tight knit group of friends in Boston is reminded that life is precious after… I miss them already.

What I’ve Started Watching (On Netflix)

It’s almost time for the best French travel show of the year (otherwise known as the Tour de France). Netflix has dropped season 2 of “Tour de France: Unchained” – aka Formula 1 Drive to Survive” with two less wheels and no engines.

Jen's Last Word

No-one can doubt Dolly Parton’s work ethic…






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