What have been the workplace relations features of 2014?  What issues will you likely face in 2015?  Here is our view.

  • The workplace bullying jurisdiction of the Fair Work Commission has been a slow starter with fewer than expected applications and decisions. However, this avenue is likely to change over coming years.
  • Unfair dismissal applications continue to rise while “adverse action” claims remain steady.  A little procedural fairness goes a long way towards heading off these types of claims.
  • The High Court decided this year that only “essential” terms will be implied into the common law contract.  This will generally mean there is no implied contractual duty for employers to comply with their own policies.  This in turn places more importance on clearly worded contracts.
  • Damages in sexual harassment and other discrimination claims are likely to increase significantly after $100,000 was awarded against Oracle Corporation plus economic loss.
  • Most complaints of workplace bullying are arising out of performance management or disciplinary action so it is important to ensure these processes are fair and transparent.
  • Employers are increasingly including post employment restraint and use of confidential information provisions in contracts and starting to enforce them in these harder economic times.
  • Other hot issues include managing the return of employees from parental leave and requests for workplace flexibility, managing the return to work of injured employees and complying with legal obligations in making positions redundant.
  • Employment law continues to remain complex and small employers in particular continue to struggle with the intricacies of employment. However, there is likely to be little change to simplify the law in the near future.

Please contact us if you would like assistance at all.

Christmas hours

Rob will be on leave for the week commencing 15 December 2014 returning on Monday 22 December 2014. Our office will be closed from midday on Wednesday 24 December 2014 and will reopen on Monday 5 January 2015.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year