BlandsLaw - Blog posts from BlandsLaw
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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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The Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPS Act) establishes a new national system for the registration of security interests in personal property. PPS reform introduces fundamental changes to the law of personal property and is also designed to establish one central register (PPS Register) administered by the Commonwealth of Australia.‬

The aim of the PPS reform is stated to be to improve the ability of individuals and businesses, particularly small-to-medium size businesses, to use all their property in raising capital.

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In the lead up to sowing growers are no doubt recruiting their workforce. And while the common farm employment contract is nothing more than a handshake, growers need to be aware of the legal environment they enter when hiring staff. Danica Leys and Andrew Bland of Blandslaw, provide an insight into farm industrial law and a number of new developments worthy of growers’ attention.

See the full article  by Danica Leys and Andrew Bland in Farming Ahead.

On January 2011, the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA) will be replaced with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The most significant changes will be centred around the issue of unfair contract terms and the consequences of a finding a term is ‘unfair’.  Click on the following link to read further; Trade Practices Act Agribusiness

A recent tribunal decision in Queensland highlights how important it is for employers to understand the dos and don’ts of performance management. In Ram v Yes Distribution Pty Ltd and Anor[1], the employer, an Optus reseller, required a sales employee to move to their Townsville store when forced to close their Cairns store for business reasons. The catch, however, was that during discussions with the employee about this relocation the employer chose to raise performance issues as part of the discussion. The employee subsequently claimed that she had been discriminated against on the basis of family responsibilities and that her family commitments prevented her making the move from Cairns to Townsville.

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 Andrew Bland on Switzer's Business program: Linfox, social media and unfair dismissal

Hear Andrew Bland of BlandsLaw discussing with Peter Switzer the recent Linfox v Stutsel case: the Linfox employee who successfully claimed unfair dismissal after his employment was terminated, because he made inappropriate remarks about his managers on Facebook. He was found to be unfairly dismissed by Fair Work Australia because, among other things, he had inadequate knowledge of Facebook, and his employer didn't have an adequate social media policy.

SOCIAL media might be the "biggest gift" for any small business but be warned there are strings attached.

Experts have warned that, without proper training, it can do more harm than good.  And while some businesses bury their head in the sand, there is little escape.

 

BlandsLaw "has been able to mix it with heavyweight firms" thanks to its focus on the evolving social media platforms.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/news/be-socially-aware-in-business/story-fnejnq06-1226499402893#ixzz2A5M8sFhe

 

Do You Need a Mobile Devices Policy?

Smartphones have become a ubiquitous sight in public and in the workplace. IPads and tablets are similarly common now in the office. These are all examples of mobile devices, and more companies are making these devices available to their employees and allowing remote access to system servers.  Increasingly, employees have devices of their own, and expect to be able to use them at work.  Most agree that these mobile devices are an indispensable tool, and many argue that they could not imagine working or running a business without them. But few people – and perhaps fewer employers –realise  the potential hazard they hold in their hands.

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Employee or Independent Contractor? It's Not the Title That Counts

The recent case of Kuat Chee v Renown Business Solutions Pty Ltd [2012] FWA 5137 (9 July 2012)  addressed the difficult topic of when a contractor is truly a contractor, and when they are properly classified as an employee.

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When is Restraint Unreasonable?

Recently the Federal Court considered a case in which an Australia-wide 2 year restraint period for a former director and founder of an HR outsourcing business was upheld and considered to be reasonable in the circumstances.

The case reinforces the importance of employers including well-drafted restraint clauses in their employment contracts to protect their business in the event that an employee with important company or business knowledge and contacts is not able to unfairly compete with the employer when leaving the company.

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Personal or Carers Leave

Background and eligibility

Paid personal or carers leave isthe correct terminology for the phrase ‘sick leave’. All employees (other than casuals) are entitled to paid personal leave or paid carer’s leave, of 10 days per year. The entitlement to paid personal/carers leave accrues from year to year. Paid personal/carers leave is leave that is provided for an employee if, due to their own personal circumstances, they are sick or injured, or if they need to provide care or support to a member of their immediate family or household. The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) sets out who qualifies as a member of an employee’s immediate family. This definition encompasses a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of an employee; or a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee’s spouse or de facto partner.

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Annual Leave

Since 1973, a four (4) week annual leave period for the benefit of an employee has been standard practice, increasing from the initial one (1) week annual leave standard introduced in 1941. Today, annual leave entitlements now form part of the National Employment Standards (NES) providing a minimum safety net of employee entitlements.

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