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A recent sexual harassment case,  Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd , has generated commentary and surprise about the significant increase to the damages awarded to the complainant on appeal to the full federal court. Ms Richardson, who was the victim of repeated and cruel sexual harassment by a colleague when they were both employees with Oracle, successfully had the original award for damages of $18,000 set aside and replaced with an order of $130,000 for damages.

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Redundancies can be a difficult issue for all involved.
Understanding how to conduct a redundancy properly, fairly and in compliance with the Fair Work Act, will help to avoid a sensitive situation becoming a painful problem further down the track. If you do not follow the correct procedures when making a redundancy, you may find yourself dealing with a claim of unfair dismissal. 
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Workplace investigations are becoming more commonplace, yet there is still a lack of understanding about the mechanics of investigations, and when they are needed. Below we set out briefly some of the reasons why you would consider an investigation, the key steps in the investigation process, and the pros and cons of different types of investigations.  

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Modern Awards are an important part of the Australian employment law landscape. Modern Awards were introduced in 2010 and there are currently 122 Modern Awards covering a wide range of industries and occupations. An Award basically sets out minimum standards including base rates of pay, other entitlements and conditions of work.

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Each Australian State and Territory has its own anti-discrimination legislation. The types of prohibited discrimination vary but include such grounds as sex, race, family responsibilities and disability. There are also exceptions or exemptions to allow certain activities which would otherwise be discriminatory.

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The Federal Circuit Court has imposed a record $238,920 penalty on a company providing an airport shuttle service from Newcastle to Sydney airport, for underpaying its drivers.

Interestingly, the Fair Work investigation arose not from an employee complaint, but as part of a national compliance campaign focused on sham contracting. The penalty imposed was made up partly of breaches relating to misrepresentation of employees as contractors, and partly for failing to meet award requirements.
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We wrote in 2011 about a FWA decision involving social media misuse by a Linfox employee. The case went on appeal and the FWA full bench delivered their decision in October, upholding the finding at first instance that the employee was unfairly dismissed and finding that the orders for compensation and reinstatement were appropriate in the circumstances (Linfox Australia Pty Ltd v Glen Stutsel [2012] FWAFB 7097). The employer, Linfox, has since  filed a federal court appeal against the full bench decision, which will be heard next year.

Full bench decision: Summary

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Wednesday May 2, 2012 - Friday March 30, 2012

 

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BlandsLaw are pleased to announce a special webinar presentation for “A Country Practice” delegates and their clients. The webinar will be scheduled for the 2nd May at 4pm and will be presented by our Managing Partner, Andrew Bland and solicitor, Danica Leys.

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