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eWISE February 2020                                   
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eWise - February 2020

In The News

Political leaders are now considering submissions on the second exposure drafts of the Australian Government’s Religious Freedom Bills. Clause 42 of the proposed legislative reforms protects religious discrimination, enabling a person to say or write an honestly held religious belief even if it is contrary to federal, state and territory anti-discrimination laws.  

Under the proposed reforms, statements are permitted “unless malicious, likely to harass, threaten, seriously intimidate or vilify”, or could reasonably lead to a “serious offence.” 

The scope of “unless” protects conduct that that is based on a religious view and upsetting, hurtful or demeaning to another person, but not been determined a serious offence. In the workplace, this may enable impunity for employees who would otherwise have been fairly dismissed. If you are worried about how these bills might impact your workplace disciplinary actions, contact WISE for expert advice and investigation services. 

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In a powerful precedent against the discrimination of casual workers, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has secured $44,800 in penalties against a Perth restaurant operator and its director for adverse action against a pregnant waitress. 

Coco’s Restaurant operator Jewel Bay 2015 Pty Ltd and director Abdel Wahid Tajerddine have also been ordered to commission workplace relations training for management personnel and pay $7,000 compensation to the waitress. 

Mr Tajerddine had reduced and cancelled the waitress’s shifts in part due to her pregnancy and made highly explicit and derogatory comments to this regard. 

Under the Fair Work Act, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees on the grounds of pregnancy, race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer’s responsibilities, religion, political opinion, nationality or social origin. 

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This month, the Federal Court secured $18,000 from the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) for taking adverse action against members who refused to partake in industrial action. 

In 2015, AWU took steps to charge two members from Orica Australia, Deer Park. The members were charged for “gross misbehaviour” and failure to comply with a “resolution or direction lawfully passed or given” under AWU rules regarding industrial action.

AWU dropped the charges upon commencement of the FWO Sandra Parker’s investigation. 

At this time, AWU was in negotiation with Orica Australia in relation to a new Enterprise Agreement for Deer Park Workers. 

FWO Parker states that “all workers, including union members, have the lawful right to choose whether they will or will not participate in protected industrial action.”

“It is unlawful for unions and employers to take adverse action against any worker for exercising that right and we are prepared to take enforcement action to protect these integral workplace rights.” 

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If you are interested in reading our blogs they are released weekly on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn social media pages - simply search for WISE Workplace on your chosen social media platform.  


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Sacked on Leave: Procedural Fairness and Unfair Dismissal

By Vince Scopelliti

The rules around when staff can be terminated while they are on leave can be a source of consternation for management and human resources professionals. 

Read the full article

 
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How to Navigate Counter Allegations in Investigations

By Vince Scopelliti

It is not unusual when investigating allegations such as sexual harassment, bullying or theft for the person accused of the misconduct to make a counter allegation.

Read the full article

 
   
 
 
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Racial Discrimination at Work

By Vince Scopelliti

We are all familiar with the more obvious signs of workplace discrimination; but with targeted racism and xenophobia spreading faster than the Coronavirus, it is vital to be aware of the more nuanced and subtle acts of discrimination at work.

Read the full article

 
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Unfair Dismissal: Case Studies from the FWC 

By Vince Scopelliti

Perhaps one of the most vexed issues employers face is how to terminate employees without exposing the organisation to the risk of a successful unfair dismissal action.

Read the full article

 
 
     
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What's On

 
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Conducting Workplace Investigations - Advanced (3-days)

Location: Sydney

Date: 17 - 19 March 2020 

Location: Perth
Date: 4 - 6 May 2020 

Location: Hobart
Date: 25 - 27 May 2020 

Location: Canberra
Date: 10 - 12 June 2020 

Location: Brisbane
Date: 9 - 11 September 2020 

Location: Sydney
Date: 19 - 21 October 2020

Location: Melbourne
Date: 16 - 18 November 2020 


Investigating Abuse in Care (4-days)

Location: Melbourne
Date: 20 - 23 July 2020


Location: Sydney

Date: 3 - 6 August 2020 


For more information on Investigating Abuse in Care

Investigating Workplace Misconduct (1-day)

Location: Adelaide
Date: 13 March 2020


Location: Brisbane

Date: 29 April 2020


Location: Sydney

Date: 14 May 2020


Location: Melbourne
Date: 17 June 2020

Location: Perth


Location: Hobart

Date: 13 August 2020


Location: Darwin

Date: 16 September 2020


Location: Melbourne

Date: 6 October 2020


Location: Canberra

Date: 23 November 2020 

Date: 29 July 2020


For more information on Investigating Workplace Misconduct

Investigative Interviewing (3-days)

Location: Melbourne
Date: 2 - 4 September 2020


For more information on Investigative Interviewing

 

 

 

 

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