The Supreme Court of Victoria has awarded an employee over $1.3 million in damages after finding that her employer was negligent in failing to provide a safe working environment and allowing her to be subjected to extensive abuse, sexual harassment and bullying by her colleagues.
The Fair Work Commission has held an Enterprise Agreement to be invalid due to formal deficiencies in the application process.
Sick leave and general protections: Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Anglo Coal (Dawson Services) Pty Ltd  FCAFC 157
A Court has recently found that a company did not take adverse action by dismissing an employee who threatened to take sick leave after having his annual leave request denied.
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia has found that a Turkish interpreter working in a hospital and suffering from depression was not subject to unlawful adverse action because of her mental disability.
Civil Penatlies: Commonwealth of Australia v Director, Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate; Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Director, Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate  HCA 46 (9 December 2015)
The High Court of Australia has ruled that courts may consider civil penalties that have been agreed and proposed by parties.
The Fair Work Commission has ordered MSS to remove a disciplinary warning from an employee’s records after a dispute was lodged under the workplace enterprise agreement.
The dismissal of a fork-lift truck driver for being overweight has been held to be not unfair by the Fair Work Commission.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has found the Commonwealth liable to pay compensation to an employee, after they suffered a stroke whilst showering in a hotel on a business trip.
The Fair Work Commission has granted a real estate agent an order to stop bullying after she was subjected to aggressive lectures, ignored, belittled and defriended on Facebook by her Sales Administrator.
The District Court of South Australia has awarded damages of $75,000 plus an award for economic loss (yet to be determined) to an employee who was defamed after a co-worker sent an email to 2,300 colleagues stating that he was homosexual and looking for someone to engage in a sexual relationship.
An employee who took his former employer’s confidential and copyrighted information without authorisation, and used it for person gain, was ordered to pay $50,000 and his former employer’s legal costs.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal has found that some of the questions asked when applying for a position on Woolworths’ recruitment website contravene the Anti-Discrimination Act in that they discriminate against potential employees on the basis of race, age and sex.
Fair Work Ombudsman v WKO Pty Ltd  FCA 1129
In the recent decision of Fair Work Ombudsman v WKO Pty Ltd  FCA 1129, the Federal Court imposed penalties on a child care operator and a director arising out of adverse action taken against an employee upon the disclosure of her pregnancy.
The NSW Administrative Appeals tribunal full bench has recently awarded a 75 year old bus driver $25,323 in compensation after he was dismissed because of his age. The dismissal occurred after a low speed accident involving the bus driver. Prior to this, in 2007, the bus driver had had his hours reduced because he was “getting old” and he was told “that it was time for him to retire”.
In May 2010 that Federal Government released its draft of the Paid Parental Leave Bill.
Under the draft Bill, from 1 January 2011, an eligible parent will be able to apply for up to 18 weeks paid parental leave at the national minimum wage, currently $543.78 per week.
Employers will be required to pay parental leave to employees who have been employed for at least 12 months prior to the expected date of birth or placement of adoption.
As part of the first reform of the Sex Discrimination Act, the Government has announced a number of proposed amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act.
Employers should take into account anti-discrimination legislation when deciding which employees to retrench, as the recent decision of Stern v Depilation & Skincare Pty Ltd  VCAT 2725 illustrates. In this decision, an employee was working part time during pregnancy due on medical grounds. The employer was found to have treated an employee less favourably due to pregnancy when she was selected for redundancy due largely to her part time status.
Workplace Relations: Fair Work Ombudsman v Zillion Zenith International Pty Ltd & Anor  FCCA 433
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia has ordered two franchisees of La Porchetta restaurant to pay fines of $167,409 each after failing to pay young employees their correct pay and entitlements and instead supplementing staff pay with free or discounted pizza and soft drinks.
The Federal Court has recently handed down its decision in the long running dispute between Endeavour Coal Pty Ltd (a BHP subsidiary) and the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia. The application concerns APESMA’s application to Fair Work Australia for good faith bargaining orders in relation to its Appin Mine in New South Wales. The Federal Court’s decision is the second appeal in this dispute.
The Federal Court of Australia recently handed down a significant decision in relatio to the protections afforded to employees against adverse action by employers. The case is significant because it demonstrates the heavy burden that employers can have managing difficult and cantankerous employees. The principal difficulty is that the burden of demonstrating compliance with the general protections provisions lies on the employer.
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