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?

A lot of brazen (and a few ignorant) employees who are stealing confidential information and IP on their way out the door.

Big mistake. Trust me, you will get caught, and you will get a letter from someone like me.

Take Out Point: Clearly worded employment contracts, onboarding and ongoing education are essential to ensure employees understand their obligations, and the consequences if they don’t.

Buzzword of the Week: “Personality Hire”

A “Personality Hire” is someone hired to boost morale and bring the right “vibe” to the office. Recruitment Expert, Roxanne Calder says it’s referred to as “cultural fit” in the corporate world, and believes it’s one of the most important considerations when hiring someone. Others complain that a personality hire “isn’t so fun when they’re constantly making mistakes and you have to work twice as hard to repair their mistakes”. 

Take Out Point: “Personality Hires” are great – when they are good at their job. But we’ve all worked with that funny guy who makes us laugh… until we start resenting his long coffee breaks and low output.

See: Personality Hire



Job of the Week: Assistant/Coffee Cup Sleeve Technician

Ever dreamt of working for Kim Kardashian? Well there’s something you should know before sending in your CV.

Kim K recently admitted to Jimmy Kimmel that she makes her assistants remove the cardboard slip from her Starbucks coffee cups because “Like the cardboard getting moved off of the cup is like nails on a chalkboard to me”.

Take Out Point: No word on whether the assistant also needs to apply ice to Kimmy’s singed fingertips after her three sips of her white chocolate mocha with whipped cream.

See: Kim K’s Coffee Cardboard Handler

Woman Tattooed With Satanic Imagery And Silver Ring Septum Piercing Annoyed At Job Rejection 

A woman with multiple facial piercings and visible tattoos of Satanic imagery and a skull and horns on her face and neck, has confronted TJ Maxx after her job application with them was rejected. The store denied that her “body art” was the reason. The woman disagreed in a viral TikTok that has had 8.5 million views.

The majority of comments on the video backed TJ Maxx’s decision. One quipped “Most times, when you flip the bird at society, society flips one right back”. 

Take Out Point: In the words of one of the commentators on the post: “There’s a reason that tattoo artists refer to face tattoos as career enders”. 

See: Woman Claims She Was Rejected By Employer Over Tattoos

Basketball Legend Loses Lawsuit Against Sydney Flames 

Basketball Great, Shane Heal was suspended and investigated by the Sydney Flames after it was alleged that his bullying of players led to some suffering panic attacks and mental health issues.

Heal took the Flames to the Federal Court claiming he lost his job for exercising his workplace rights after he raised claims about the team’s schedule and disagreed with player signings.

The Federal Court disagreed. Justice Halley did not accept that “players’ complaints were a ‘smoke screen’ advanced by the Sydney Flames” to disguise the real reason for his suspension, describing them as “objectively serious”.

Take Out Point: If a worker is asserting a workplace right, employers can still terminate them on other grounds, if done lawfully.

See: Bullying Complaint No Smokescreen For Sacking

FTC Bans Non-Competes. What Does This Mean For Australia?

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that non-competes will be banned across the United Stated with the aim of “protecting the fundamental freedom of workers to change jobs, increasing innovation, and fostering new business formation”.

Not everyone is happy, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announcing they will be filing a legal challenge to overturn the rule.

Take Out Point: Watch this space. The Australian Government is also currently reviewing the laws on non-compete and restraint clauses.

See: FTC Announces Ban On Non-Competes and Consultation On Non-Compete Clauses And Other Worker Restraints

NSW Health Slammed With Largest Underpayment Class Action In Legal History

NSW Health has settled a class action with junior doctors who were underpaid in overtime and meal breaks between 2014 and 2020.

If the settlement is approved by the NSW Supreme Court, more than 20,000 doctors may be able to claim their share of the $230 million settlement payment by the government.

Take Out Point: Underpaying workers can be seriously expensive – even if it’s inadvertent. Let us know if you need help navigating proper pay and conditions.

See: Junior Doctor’s Underpayment Class Action 

What You Need To Know About Upcoming Wage Theft Laws

When Will Intentional Underpayment Of Wages Become A Criminal Offence?

1 January 2025

Employers Will Commit A Criminal Offence If:

  • They’re required to pay an amount to an employee (such as wages), or on behalf of or for the benefit of an employee (such as superannuation) under the Fair Work Act, or an industrial instrument.
  • They intentionally engage in conduct that results in their failure to pay those amounts to or for the employee on or before the day they’re due to be paid.

Are There Any Exceptions?

These provisions don’t apply to certain employees for:

  • Superannuation contributions.
  • Payment for taking long service leave payments.
  • Payment for taking leave connected with being the victim of a crime.
  • Payment for taking jury duty leave or for emergency services duties.

These laws also don’t apply to employers who:

  • Unintentionally underpay their employees.
  • Pay incorrect amounts by mistake.

What Are The Potential Penalties?

For Companies:

  • If the Court can determine the underpayment, the greater of 3 times the amount of the underpayment and $7.825 million.
  • If the court can’t determine the underpayment, $7.825 million.

For Individuals:

  • Maximum of 10 years in prison.
  • If the court can determine the underpayment, the greater of 3 times the amount of the underpayment and $1.565 million.
  • If the court can’t determine the underpayment, $1.565 million.

Take Out Point: Don’t be caught out. Call us if you need any help working out correct entitlements.

See: Criminalising Wage Underpayments



FWC Supports Rejection of Bank Manager’s Request For Fully Remote Work

A Bank Manager has claimed that he needed to work from home 5 days a week to help his injured yoga instructor wife, despite his wife conducting 15 high-intensity lessons per week. His employer was not as flexible, rejecting his request to work from home.

The FWC has held that the Manager’s employer denied the request on reasonable business grounds. Commissioner Platt held that flexible work applications “necessarily involves the balancing of each party’s needs” and accepted the benefits of face-to-face interaction outlined by the bank.

Take Out Point: Employees can ask to work from home, but they are not automatically entitled to do so. Businesses can reject requests on reasonable business grounds.

See: Shane Gration v Bendigo Bank

Scottish Accent Causes Employee To Get Fired

A Customer Service Officer has claimed she was unfairly dismissed after her boss misinterpreted her Scottish brogue. The worker says she told her supervisor “this is shit” and “I’m leaving to tell the [state manager]”, whilst the supervisor maintains she heard something different and thought the worker was resigning.

The FWC found that it highly likely that the worker’s Scottish accent did lead to a misunderstanding and held that the worker did not resign. The employer was ultimately found to have no valid reason for terminating the worker.

Take Out Point: Gonnae no’ dae that. Call us if you need any canny advice on workplace terminations.

See:  Audrey Campbell v Gold Tiger Logistics QLD Pty Ltd [2024] FWC 913 (9 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,

It’s always been my dream to join the military.

I have tattoos on my face, neck, scalp, ears, and hands. I’ve been told my chances of getting into the army are slim.

I don’t think that’s fair. What are your thoughts?

Tattoo-ed Ted

Dear Worried Wally 

I understand your frustration.

I once knew someone who wanted to become a police officer, but his dreams were thwarted by the fact that he was in prison.

Decisions have consequences.

Good luck!



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

Jen's After Work

Before you ask, yes, I know you are all watching “Baby Reindeer” on Netflix. I’m told it’s pretty dark. I haven’t watched it yet. I will, but for now…

What I’m Watching (On Disney+)

The 4 part docu-series “Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story” tells the story of (spoiler alert) Bon Jovi. After 40 years of screaming (I mean singing) Jon wants to keep performing but “aint gonna be Fat Elvis”. I’ve never been so anxious about the outcome of vocal cord surgery. Found myself Livin’ on a Prayer…

What I’m Watching (On Stan)

Maggie Sullivan can’t decide if she wants to be a neurosurgeon in Boston or hang out in Nova Scotia with Chad Michael Murray. I can relate. Don’t know why I haven’t watched “Sullivan’s Crossing” until now, but it’s easy, viewing. Canada is really pretty. So is Chad Michael Murray. Made by the same creators as “Virgin River” (but “Sullivan’s” hasn’t jumped the shark yet).

What I’m Watching (On Apple TV+)

Colin Farrell plays a private detective in LA in “Sugar”. He’s hired to find a legendary film producer’s missing granddaughter. 8 episodes. Enjoy.

What I’m Watching (On SBS)

Season 2 of my favourite police show set in Belfast – “Blue Lights” – has dropped. I’ve fallen in love with the characters…and their accents.

What I Am Inhaling (On Paramount)

I always loved the kooky lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni in “The Good Wife” so imagine my joy when I discovered there’s a whole show called, you guessed it, “Elsbeth”. Now working as a consultant in NYC (but still carrying 3 tote bags) our heroine is showing the NYPD a thing or two. Fabulous!


Jen's Last Word

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Employers, choose your ‘on hold’ music carefully to avoid employees being subject to abuse.

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