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 seeing out there in the workplace world?

The official unemployment rate is deceptively low. It doesn’t match what we are seeing in our practice.

Businesses are hurting. Employees are being let go.

Telstra’s 2,800 job cuts received a lot of press, but redundancies are occurring in businesses of all sizes and industries.

Take Out Point: Ignore the statistics, listen to, and watch what is really going on.

See: Telstra Fired Starter’s Gun On Fewer Jobs, High Costs

Buzzword of the Week: “Frolleague”

Originally coined to refer to employees who “friend” each other online, “frolleague” is the term used when neither “friend” or “colleague” accurately describes the connection.

Take Out Point: Don’t blame me, I don’t come up with these words!



Job of the Week: Executive Assistant Role

A bizarre job advertisement posted on Seek has attracted online attention after it called for a part time executive assistant who would be willing to never clock off, not take things personally, deal with profanity and have “a desire to lead from behind” for an unnamed 28-year-old CEO.

How To Apply: Don’t rush to apply, the ad has been deleted after Seek was unable to confirm the legitimacy of the “opportunity”.

See: Mystery Deepens Around Viral Executive Assistance Ad

Rejected Job Applicant Makes Surprising Discovery

A rejected job candidate made a stunning discovery after she had gone through three interviews and completed a home test for a job she applied for.

The job seeker reported to followers on Reddit she had received a “wholesome” thank you letter and a gift of mango liquorice in the post from the hiring manager.

Followers were divided. Some found the gesture professional, and others found the consolation prize lacking, with one observing “Mango licorice? Yuck, name and shame these heartless b*****ds.”

Take Out Point: I’m not going to criticise a company that takes the time to write a personal letter and encourage an unsuccessful applicant to apply again in the future. But their choice of liquorice flavour – that’s just wrong!

See: Rejected Job Candidate Stunned At Discovery

Manager’s Ludicrous Workplace Exposed

An employee was devastated when the leave that she had booked for a family holiday was suddenly cancelled. Her boss told her that a more senior employee, who applied for leave after her, for the same period, had priority.

Details of the situation were shared with a digital content creator, and in no time, 340,000 TikTok users had made it clear what they thought of this UK boss and his “stupid” annual leave rule.

Take Out Point: Whilst the Fair Work Act governs the taking of leave in Australia, as is the case in the UK, Australian employers who misbehave are only 1 viral TikTok away from being shamed.

See: Manager Slammed For Ludicrous Rule Around Annual Leave

Academics Calling For Extra Pay For Responding to Student Emails

The National Tertiary Education Union is calling for the Fair Work Commission to make sure that casual Academics receive extra pay if they have to respond to student emails outside of normal working hours.

The FWC is required to insert industry-specific rights to disconnect in modern awards with respect to the new laws that come into effect on 26 August 2024.

Take Out Point: This is just one example of a claim that will be made in the lead up to 26 August 2024.

See: Academics Seek Pay For Emails Out Of Hours


Worker Terminated After Accusing Manager Of “Lying In Front Of God”

An employee was dismissed after he verbally abused his manager, calling him a “lying prick,” a “bastard” and for “lying in front of God.” The employee argued that his dismissal was just an excuse for the business so they could avoid making a redundancy payment.

Despite the employee not being given an opportunity to respond before he was dismissed, the FWC upheld the dismissal, placing emphasis on the seriousness of the worker’s inappropriate conduct.

Take Out Point: The Commission overlooked the procedural flaw in the dismissal due to the severity of the worker’s conduct.

See: Richie John Adair v Gasweld Pty Ltd

Struggling Business Makes Unlawful Changes To Employee’s Role

A café owner under financial stress sent a WhatsApp message to a full-time staff member telling her that her position would be converted to casual with immediate effect. The employee felt her rights were violated, and her job security threatened.

The FWC acknowledged the financial challenges of the business but held that the dismissal of the employee from her full-time role was unlawful primarily because there was no valid reason for dismissal related to the employee’s conduct or capacity. The way she was told on WhatsApp was also found to be unreasonable. The employee was awarded $5,879.63 plus superannuation in compensation.

Take Out Point: Financial struggles are not an excuse to not follow lawful termination processes…and don’t use WhatsApp in the place of conversations!

See: Hui-Ming WuvPaddy & Zees Pty Ltd


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,

Last week I told my boss I’m excited about my upcoming pay rise.

He spat out his coffee, laughed and said “sorry, I thought you were serious there for a minute”.

I was serious.

Isn’t there a rule that I get a pay rise every year?

Cheers, Gen Z Gen

Dear Gen Z Gen 

Alas, no such rule exists. Nor is there a rule that you keep your job – even if you’re good at it!

Don’t believe what you see on TikTok. Companies are hurting and making cuts faster than you can say “cosi livs”.

Good luck!

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 Watched (On Foxtel/Binge)

“Inside the Shein Machine” is a doco that lifts the lid on this online fast fashion retailer whose business model is exploitation. I may have yelled at the tv a few times. Shame Shein, shame!

What I Watched (On Netflix)

“Buying London” is the British version of “Selling Sunset”. Will it win a BAFTA? Heck no, but sometimes I want nothing more than to check out what that lazy 500,000,000 pounds I have lying in the bank can buy me.

What I Watched (On Stan)

Season 3 of “Hacks” has dropped. This under-rated, under the radar show is hilarious – which is fortunate given that it is about a fabulous female stand-up comedian. Jean Smart is simply awesome!

What I Watched (On Netflix)

In “Bodkin” an American podcaster travels to a small Irish town to investigate a cold case. He gets more than he bargained for when he is joined by a feisty London based journalist. For those who love murder mysteries told through divine Irish accents.

What I Watched (On Netflix)

“Ashley Madison: Sex Lies & Scandal” is a doco about the Canadian dating website created for married people seeking affairs with other married people, and the fall out when the site is hacked. I’ll never understand why people agree to be interviewed for these shows but am so glad they do!


Jen's Last Word


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