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…If it quacks like a duck – Fair Work Commission rules on Foodora and employment relationships

A recent Seminar I presented, Dancing with the Gig economy – Risk, liability and responsibility in the modern workplace, drew the attention of insurers and business leaders to the inherent structural risks embedded in the emerging gig or share economy.
Blog

Modern Slavery: the implications for your business

NSW has passed the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW) (the NSW Act) and the Modern Slavery Bill 2018 (Cth) (the Cth Bill) has passed the House of Representatives and will now go before the Senate.  
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Underpayment of staff? ‘Don’t blame me – I am only the accountant’

Regardless of whether a party is a business’ owner, internal HR staff or an external consultant, all persons knowingly concerned with underpaying employees can be subject to large fines.
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If an employee cannot carry out their job, does an employer have to allow them in to work?

For those who have the privilege of reading Fair Work Commission (FWC) decisions, they can be forgiven for believing that, in that domain, employees are frequently free from the consequences of their poor (or worse) decision making.
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Foodora NoMora – implications for the gig economy

Two sets of proceedings involving food delivery company Foodora have been put on hold with the appointment of voluntary administrators to the company. These cases, if determined, could have had big implications for the gig economy.
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Employers Beware – Court opens the door to casuals double dipping

It has long been understood that casual employees are paid a loading to cover entitlements that usually only permanent employees get, such as annual leave. In finding that a casual mining employee was entitled to be paid in lieu of annual leave upon the termination of his employment the Full Federal Court has potentially opened the door to regular and systematic casual employees gaining access to these entitlements and arguably double dipping in the process.
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When can the unqualified be qualified? Non-lawyers engaging in legal practice - when is it OK and when is the law broken

Only lawyers can provide legal advice, but anyone can provide legal information. When thinking of the difference, you might ask your friend or colleague to provide information about a serious illness; however you would seek out a qualified medical professional in relation to its treatment.
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Assumed disability discrimination – a tricky path to navigate

Employers need to tread extremely carefully when they suspect an employee may be suffering from a mental illness – acting too hastily, even in compliance with policy, may expose you to a finding of discrimination.
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Those who stand and wait also serve: Rights of employers to suspend or place employees on gardening leave when the contract of employment is silent

It has long been thought that employers need to spell out in their contracts (or for it to be implied from other clauses) that they have a right to suspend or place an employee on gardening leave.
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HR managers personal assets are on the line - The fears are real and getting worse

In today’s Australian workplace relations climate, there is genuine potential for HR professionals to be personally liable to pay money where claims are successful.
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122 Modern Awards - a confusing maze for business

The Fair Work Ombudsman is vigorously prosecuting employers for breaches of awards and the Federal Court are making orders for very significant civil penalties where breaches are established.
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Exam phobia & disability discrimination

Whilst we have all no doubt experienced a fear of sitting an exam at some stage, is a phobia of sitting a College entrance exam a disability? 
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Practical tips for giving notice of termination of employment

You look to the Fair Work Act right? Yes (assuming the employment is covered by that Act) but that may not give you all the answers you need.
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Employer’s right to deny access to workplace investigation documents

A recent decision made by the Australian Information Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, has found that a government agency had the right to deny an employee access to workplace investigation documents.
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Dealing with injured employees when evidence of their capacity to safely return is light

A prudent employer, faced with an employee who has taken leave due to an illness or injury and wants to return to work, should consider what information it needs to be satisfied the employee can safely return to work.  This can prove difficult if the employee is non-communicative, refuses to provide information about the injury or condition beyond generic medical certificates or does not attend medical assessments.
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