Have we got that on tape? The risks of covert workplace investigations

dismiss employee

By Calum Woods and Lindsay Carroll, NRA Legal Since before the introduction of the Fair Work Act it has taken more than just a valid reason to dismiss an employee. From providing an opportunity to respond, to not refusing a request for a support person – these additional ‘procedural fairness’ steps are viewed by many […]

Changes to work arrangements – who’s to blame?

work employment contract

Written by Calum Woods and Lindsay Carroll, NRA Legal In a recent application for relief from unfair dismissal, Commissioner Cribb considered circumstances where an employee requested changes to her working arrangements, and then resigned her employment when the employer was unable to accommodate those changes. The employee argued that she was forced to resign her […]

What is the ‘gig economy’ and how does it affect me?

gig economy

By Sooraj Sidhu, NRA Legal You might have heard in recent months the term ‘gig economy’ being thrown around by politicians, lawyers and leaders in workplace relations. The term, which has become buzzword of the century, refers to the burgeoning number of workers engaged in short-term or temporary positions, either through labour-hire, independent contractor or […]

Out-of-hours misconduct justified dismissal

Out of Hours misconduct

By Victoria Hansen and Lindsay Carroll, NRA Legal The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has ruled that a worker who threw a full glass of beer over the heads of his colleagues at an official company Christmas party was justifiably dismissed. This is a significant decision regarding the dismissal of employees for out-of-hours conduct. Sione Vai […]

Commission finds employer had no right to accept employee’s repeated resignations

By Alexander Millman and Lindsay Carroll, NRA Legal Following a protracted legal battle that involved an initial hearing, an appeal and a re-hearing, the Fair Work Commission has held that an employer had no right to accept the repeated resignations of a distressed employee undergoing internal investigation. Bupa Aged Care Australia Pty Ltd t/a Bupa […]

Fixed-term employment contracts – Beware of the unfair dismissal risk

By Alex Millman and Justine Ansell, NRA Legal Khayam v Navitas English Pty Ltd [2017] FWCFB 5162 Members will recall that earlier this year the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission foreshadowed that it would re-evaluate how the Commission approached fixed-term contracts in unfair dismissal cases, namely whether a contract ‘expiring’ meant that the […]

Lack of written warnings leads to unfair dismissal ruling

by Sid Sidhu and Troy Wild Ashley Duddington v Mario and Clara Enterprises Pty Ltd and Morgan Trading Pty Ltd [2017] FWC 2958 Small business employers (employing less than 15 employees) are reminded by a recent case before the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to use the Small Business Dismissal Code (the Code) when terminating employees. […]

Significant breach of policy used to justify termination

by Sid Sidhu and Angela Szczepanski, NRA Legal Teresa Margaret Murphy v Banana Coast Community Credit Union Ltd T/A BCU [2017] FWC 2688 An employee who worked as a store supervisor for Banana Coast Community Credit Union (BCU) has had her application for relief from unfair dismissal, dismissed by the Fair Work Commission (FWC). The […]

Unfair dismissal case actually “genuine redundancy”

by Sid Sidhu and Troy Wild, NRA legal Case study: Laura Wrzoskiewicz v Easy Payroll Perth Pty Ltd [2017] FWC 2469 A recent case before the Fair Work Commission highlights the meaning of “genuine redundancy” and when an employee will be unable to substantiate an unfair dismissal claim. In this case, a payroll officer who […]

Casuals can claim unfair dismissal


by Angela Szczepanski, Senior Associate, and Ben Desir, Workplace Advisor Casual employment and dismissal It is common practice for a retailer to employ casual employees due to the relative simplicity of the arrangement (e.g. paid a loading in lieu of leave entitlements). However, did you know that casual employees could have the same rights as […]

Termination of bully upheld as a fair dismissal

A mineworker, along with two other colleagues who were dismissed for bullying a fellow employee by boxing his vehicle in on a highway, failed to convince the FWC that they were dismissed unfairly. Rio Tinto subsidiary Coal & Allied Mining Services Pty Ltd (Mt Thorley) conducted an investigation into the incident.  As a result of […]

Unfair Domestic Violence Dismissal – Courts reject employer’s appeal

In a recent application for judicial review, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia dismissed Eliana Construction and Developing Group Pty Ltd.’s application stating that they had no basis for unfairly dismissing an employee who had suffered domestic violence by her partner, who was also employed at the same company. The company’s reason for dismissing the […]

MEMBER ONLY ARTICLE – High Income Threshold Increase in Unfair Dismissal Claims

On Thursday 23 June 2016, the Fair Work Commission announced it would increase filing fees, high income thresholds and compensation caps for unfair dismissal applications. For unfair dismissal claims occurring on or after the 1 July 2016, the high income threshold will be increased to $138,900 and the compensation limit will be increased to $69,450. […]

Breakdown after dismissal breathes new life into unfair dismissal claim

A former employee’s unfair dismissal claim has been given new life at a Fair Work Commission hearing. A worker was granted permission by the Commission to pursue her unfair dismissal claim, 64 days outside the 21 day statutory limit. Senior Deputy President (Snr DP) Lea Drake considered the worker’s statement in support of the application […]

IR Update: Labour Hire Unfair Dismissal Case

This recent case warns that labour hire companies cannot “abrogate [their] responsibilities to afford procedural and substantive fairness to a dismissed employee by relying on the fact that unfair treatment was meted out by another entity in which [they] had placed the employee.” Adecco Australia were found by the FWC to have unfairly dismissed a […]

IR Update: Employer’s termination of latecomer commendable

In the recent case of Rooney v Pickles Auctions [2016] FWC 858 (9 February 2016), an employer has been commended for his efforts in following due termination process. The National Retail Association consistently reminds its members of the equal weight given to a valid reason for termination as well as ensuring proper process is followed […]

IR Update: Employer set high expectations for returning injured worker

Employers are reminded to take caution when sending their employees for a medical assessment, as a recent case has brought to light the consequences of dismissing an employee on these grounds. In the case of Norman v Lion Dairy and Drinks Limited, an employee who suffered from a serious skydiving accident was asked to seek […]

IR Update: Employee prevented from serving notice period wins unfair dismissal case

A woman, who worked as an advertising sales representative, has won her unfair dismissal case due to her employer’s misunderstanding of the employee’s intentions to work out her notice period. In July 2015, the employee was under significant stress from being overworked by her employer. According to her evidence, the owner of the company became […]