Employment Disputes

In a record-breaking judgment, the Federal Court has delivered an eye-watering compensation award of over $2.2 million to an employee arising out of a general protections (adverse action) claim. The case, Leggett v Hawkesbury Race Club (No 3) [2021] FCA 1658, confirms that stress or angst over workplace interactions can result in genuine serious psychological […]

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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers were not aware of section 524 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), which enables an employer to stand down an employee, without pay, if the employee cannot be usefully employed. This includes when there has been a ‘stoppage of work’ for which the employer cannot be […]

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Consistent with its recent judgment on casual employment in Workpac v Rossato, the High Court of Australia has locked in the primacy of the contract in assessing whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Businesses familiar with the multi-factorial approach, under which all factors relating to (or the ‘totality’ of) a working […]

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As the pandemic continues to plague us, there have been some developments in courts and tribunals over the summer that shed light on the question of the lawfulness and reasonableness of vaccination requirements introduced by employers. The cases deal with three distinct issues: whether an employer must consult, and has consulted, its employees before introducing […]

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The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) has dismissed challenges to the Queensland Police Commissioner’s direction requiring staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The QIRC found the Police Commissioner had the power to issue the direction and that the Queensland Police Service (QPS) did not fail to meet its consultation obligations before issuing the direction. This […]

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The legality of Public Health Orders (PHOs) and vaccination directives aimed at managing the COVID-19 pandemic is being challenged in courts across the Eastern seaboard. The cases are being closely watched, as they involve arguments about civil liberties and human rights. In a judgment published last Friday afternoon (and watched online by over 30,000 viewers), […]

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In a very timely new decision, the Fair Work Commission has given further guidance for employers about policies mandating vaccines and, in particular, when such policies are likely to be considered lawful and reasonable. In our April 2021 blog we reviewed the previous decision of the Commission considering the validity of a mandatory flu-vax policy in Goodstart […]

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The last week has seen some developments in the COVID-19 space that give employers guidance about their potential liability for: COVID-19 contracted by employees in the course of their employment; and side effects of COVID-19 vaccination if the employer has mandated or encouraged vaccination. One NSW Personal Injury Commission case has confirmed that employees will […]

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The High Court has clarified  the common law ‘test’ for determining whether an employee is a casual employee under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) and it is significant, because it departs from the established case law.  However, the decision’s impact is limited because the common law test has been supplanted by a […]

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A recent Fair Work Commission decision has put algorithms front and centre in the contractor/employee battle, by finding that Deliveroo’s ability to ‘control’ a worker using its algorithm weighed heavily in favour of an employment relationship.   Overview Last week the Fair Work Commission delivered its latest ruling on the question of whether a Gig […]

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