BlandsLaw - Blog posts from Employees
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Is it OK to sack your employees via phone, text or email?

In most circumstances, dismissals take place during pre- arranged face to face meetings between employers and employees.  Employers are required to afford procedural fairness, and this usually involves meeting with the employee to discuss the circumstances around the termination. In saying that, there are circumstances when an employer may validly terminate an employee through less traditional means, such as through a phone call or email.

In a recent case before the FWC[1] a beauty therapist, who was summarily dismissed for serious misconduct, was advised of her dismissal in a late-night phone call which was followed up via email. Prior to the dismissal, the employee attended a disciplinary meeting where allegations regarding the employee’s unacceptable behaviour towards other members of staff were discussed.

The employee’s conduct included forcefully pushing a colleague in the chest, causing her to lose her balance and then slamming a sliding door shut in her face. Further the employee belittled and humiliated other staff members and was dismissive of her employer’s authority. The employee demonstrated no

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Determining whether your employees are award-free

In a recent case before the FWC,[1] an appeal to quash the approval of the AAA Pet Resort Enterprise Agreement considered whether employees were covered by the Miscellaneous Award 2010 as opposed to being classified “award-free”. It was submitted that the pervious commissioner erred in finding that the employees were not covered by an award.

The employer, which operates a luxury pet resort accommodation, provides pet boarding and grooming services. The employees are categorised into Level 1,2 and 3 Animal Attendants, with pay rates ranging from $17.70 per hour up to $23.00 per hour. It was the employer’s view that pet attendants were “award-free” in Queensland. During the appeal, it was argued by United Voice, who brought the appeal, that the employees were in fact covered by the Miscellaneous Award 2010. The Union contended, that to be excluded from the Award, the FWC must be satisfied that the employees must not have been traditionally covered by an award and this must have been because of the nature and seniority of

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Australia & the ‘Gig Economy’

In recent years, the popularity of online service apps such as Uber, Diliveroo and Foodora has skyrocketed and Australia has embraced the ‘gig economy’ with open arms. This new movement refers to environments where businesses or individuals contract with free agent workers (usually through an app-based platform) for short-term engagements. As a result, an increased number of workers are trading off the stability which traditional employment provides for flexibility and autonomy whereas others are simply keen to earn a little extra cash on the side.

However, workers can experience inconsistent hours of work, patchy cash flow and lack of entitlements such as paid sick leave, holidays, notice of termination and so on. Additionally, workers are expected to provide their own physical assets and are required to pay any maintenance costs out of their own pockets. There is also the question of who is responsible if something goes wrong. Issues have arisen regarding the legal implications of these kinds of arrangements including whether these workers are truly independent contractors or in

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A recent Fair Work Commission decision has addressed the potential conflict of interest involved when employees are in a relationship with each other, particularly where there is a direct reporting relationship and the employees have failed to disclose their personal relationship.

The case involved a senior manager at Westpac who was in a relationship with his direct subordinate. Not only did the manager fail to disclose the relationship, but he in fact denied it when questioned by his superiors on two separate occasions.

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