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REMINDER: WorkChoices record keeping requirements take effect 27 March 2007

The new record keeping requirements for employers come into effect on 27th March 2007.

Employers will need to ensure that compliant records are kept relating to:

  • Employer and Employee details
  • Hours worked
  • Pay records
  • Leave
  • Superannuation

Employers may be subject to inspections from the Office of Workplaces Services and heavy fines may result from non-compliance.

For a free "health check" consultation on your compliance please contact Andrew Bland on +61 2 9006 1675 or 0401 244 418.

Terminating employment during probation – why you should provide a reason

Most employment contracts contain a probation clause stating that, during the probation period (usually 3 to 6 months from the employment commencement date), either party can terminate the employment by providing one week’s notice. Even if there is no probation clause, or no employment contract, a minimum employment period applies before an employee is eligible to make a claim for unfair dismissal. For a small business with less than 15 employees that minimum period is 12 months; for others it is 6 months. The practical effect of this is that the employer can terminate the employment without cause during the minimum period simply by providing the required notice.

However, many employers do not realise that there is no minimum employment period for other types of claims such as adverse action and discrimination claims. If an employee is terminated and believes that the reason falls within the general protections provisions, they are entitled to bring an adverse action claim, with the onus then falling on the employer to show that the

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Workplace investigations can be an important and useful tool. When used in the right situations and conducted appropriately a workplace investigation can resolve a range of issues including bullying and harassment complaints. A recent case, however, has highlighted the ramifications that may occur when an investigation is not conducted properly.

In Romero v Farstad Shipping (Indian Pacific) Pty Ltd[1] a shipping officer sent an email to her superiors alleging bullying by her ship’s captain during a 12 day sea voyage. In addition to Romero’s bullying allegations, the captain separately raised issues of competency in relation to Romero.

The employer, Farstad, proceeded to investigate the issues although failed to follow their own internal policy and the processes outlined within in. Specifically, Romero’s bullying complaint was investigated as a formal complaint although it had not been formally lodged as a complaint and this had not been the intention of Romero’s email. Added to this, the captain was interviewed before Romero (the complainant) about the alleged bullying and the issues of competency

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