BlandsLaw - Blog posts from Misleading Conduct
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Finding the right employee for your company is not always easy. Sometimes it is tempting to make promises during the recruitment process in the hope that new employees will prefer your company over others, but employers need to tread carefully; false, misleading or deceptive conduct designed to induce someone to take a job is unlawful under Australian Consumer Law.

Under s 31 of the Competition Consumer Act, a person must not, when offering employment, engage in conduct that is liable to mislead on the availability, nature, terms or the conditions of the employment. Common examples of misleading conduct have involved employers making representations or statements regarding remuneration, career progression, non-financial benefits, the company’s financial position and the length of the employment period.

It is necessary to establish that the employee 

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A recent NSW Supreme Court case[1] considered the summary dismissal of a senior ANZ Bank employee. The employee was terminated for serious misconduct and then sought to sue ANZ for breach of his contract claiming over $9 million in damages.

The alleged misconduct involved a significant leak of information to a Financial Review journalist. The leak involved an internal ANZ email which was illegitimately altered and forwarded on anonymously to a journalist. The altered version claimed that there would be no more lending and that ANZ was ‘closed for business’. The journalist in turn contacted ANZ who conducted an investigation. The investigation concluded that Bartlett was responsible and he was subsequently terminated.

The court decision largely turned on the words of the executive’s employment contract. The contract provided that the executive could be summarily terminated if ‘in the opinion of ANZ’ he engaged in serious misconduct. The executive argued that ANZ needed to prove he was actually guilty of the alleged conduct or that there should be an implied

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During times of low unemployment, and critical shortages of workers in some industries, it is not uncommon for employers to find themselves in the situation where they are selling themselves and their business, to potential employees. Likewise for recruiters, who will work hard to secure the best candidates for their clients, and in doing so will be making certain representations to those candidates about the overall performance and potential of the company.

Many employers and recruiters may find themselves in a situation where they and other business are vying for the services of a particular individual. In many of these instances, it is not just the salary that a potential employee is concerned with, but other less measurable factors such as career prospects, company growth and gaining increased credibility and exposure in their particular fields. The summary of a court ruling below illustrates the importance of taking care when making representations about these particular issues, to potential employees.

In the recent case of Moss v Lowe Hunt & Partners[2010]

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