Allens

Employment & Safety

Our experienced Employment & Safety legal team regularly publishes articles and updates – the full list of publications appears below. Read up on the challenges, changes and complex legislation now governing the modern workplace. If you'd like to be notified when we add new employment and safety publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

Read about Allens' team track record in employment and safety law.

Employment & Safety Publications

  • Focus: Employment & Safety

    5 June 2017

    We consider redundancy payments when employees are not offered suitable alternative roles; whether payroll providers can be liable as an accessory when a client breaches modern award conditions; and whether employers should consider voluntary job swaps before dismissing employees whose positions have become redundant.

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  • Focus: Employment & Safety

    8 May 2017

    In this issue: we look at how post-employment restraints can be unenforceable if a company does not comply with the employment contract itself; a decision of the Federal Court that confirms an employee who is on long-term sick leave must continue to have regular contact with their employer; and a successful appeal against a Fair Work Commission decision because the Commission did not consider whether an employer should have had legal representation.

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  • Client Update: Abolition of the 457 visa program - what this means for employers

    20 April 2017

    The Turnbull Government announced on 18 April 2017 that it is abolishing its 457 visa program and replacing it with a new Temporary Skill Shortage visa program. Implementation of the visa reforms commenced immediately and are to be completed in March 2018. Partner Veronica Siow provides a snapshot of the key changes.

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  • Focus: Employment Law

    3 April 2017

    In this issue we look at the timeframes for employers to comply with the Federal Government's Code of Tendering and Performance Building Work 2016; the court's view of where right of entry discussions with workers can take place; and a company's duty of care to its employees in an 'unforeseeable' situation like an attempted murder.

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  • Client Update: Franchisors and holding companies liable under Vulnerable Workers Bill

    2 March 2017

    The Federal Government has introduced a Bill that will make franchisors liable for breaches of employment law by franchisees. Partner Simon Dewberry and Managing Associate Andrew Stirling report.

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  • Linklaters Insights: A cross-border guide to starting a business

    23 December 2016

    Our global alliance partner Linklaters has compiled a guide for foreign investors who are looking to start a business in selected jurisdictions.

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  • Focus: Employment Law

    6 December 2016

    In this issue we look at the Fair Work Ombudsman's decision to prosecute a sham contracting offence even after the employer had rectified the underpayments; the enforceability of post-employment restraint of trade clauses; how a new ABCC will look like after its journey through the Senate; and the importance of negotiating an enterprise agreement only with employees who have commenced work.

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  • Focus: Increased whistleblower protections, and more to come...

    24 November 2016

    The Federal Parliament has passed an industrial relations bill that includes significant increases to the whistleblower protections applicable to unions and employer organisations. In what would be a comprehensive overhaul of Australia's whistleblower laws, the Federal Government has separately agreed to support the introduction of equivalent (or better) whistleblower protections in the public and private sectors. Partner Rachel Nicolson, Senior Associate Chris Holland and Lawyer Karina Plain report.

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  • Focus: Employment law

    26 October 2016

    In this issue we look at negative social media comments about an employer that led to an unfair dismissal; a large damages award for a workplace injury and breaches of the Fair Work Act; and a case that helps clarify how the Fair Work Commission will practically apply the Better Off Overall Test following the Coles decision.

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  • Focus: Employment Law

    10 October 2016

    In this issue: we look at whether employers have a right to direct employees to perform higher duties; an employer's consultation obligations during a redundancy process; how an employer's failure to give a balanced view to employees resulted in it being forced to the bargaining table; and a decision that casts doubt on the effectiveness of set-off clauses in contracts for employees who are covered by a modern award.

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  • Focus: Employment Law

    19 September 2016

    In this issue: we look at how redundancies can breach enterprise agreement provisions; whether union officials can exercise their right of entry entitlements before or after work; reasonable notice terms in employment contracts; and the processes a labour hire company should follow before dismissing an employee.

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  • Client Update: Beware the risks of converting casuals to permanent employees

    16 August 2016

    A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has ruled that prior service as a casual counts as service when calculating redundancy pay. The decision is completely at odds with what employers would expect. Partner Simon Dewberry, Managing Associate Andrew Stirling and Senior Associate Tristan Garcia report.

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  • Focus: Employment Law

    9 August 2016

    In this issue we look at a recent case that shows why unfair dismissal laws need an overhaul; the appropriate use of unpaid internships; avoiding redundancy obligations by obtaining acceptable employment; and the expanding scope of the Fair Work Act's accessorial liability provisions.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    11 July 2016

    In this issue we look at a Fair Work Commission decision that highlights the issue of costs in relation to a vexatious claim; the consequences for employment law in the wake of the Coalition's return to power; and an enforceable undertaking to reimburse a large number of underpaid employees.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    1 June 2016

    In this issue we look at the problems of overselling a company's performance to attract new staff; new Federal Government policy that will make franchisors and parent companies responsible for their franchisees' and subsidiaries' breaches of the Fair Work Act; and the importance of following procedural fairness when dismissing an employee.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    5 May 2016

    In this issue we look at an adverse action case; why a redundancy does not necessarily constitute a termination; the importance of a consistent process to deal with bullying in the workplace; the fairness of a dismissal for failing workplace drug tests; and when a company can prevent an employee from going to work for a competitor.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    29 February 2016

    In this issue: we look at a dismissal case emanating from poor behaviour at a company Christmas party; the importance of the employment contract in determining whether a reduction in an employee's pay and duties results in dismissal; an employer's difficulty in justifiying a summary dismissal; and the implications of a company's redeployment policy.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    18 December 2015

    In this issue: we look at sham contracting arrangements; gambling addiction as a possible protected attribute under anti-discrimination law; who is liable for costs associated with bullying claims; a failed general protections claim; when a lawful direction will be deemed reasonable; and employers' responsibilities in relation to an extension of parental leave request.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    19 November 2015

    In this issue we look at the unusual role social media can play in bullying at work; valid dismissals that can be procedurally unfair; consultants' reports and unfair dismissal proceedings; requirements for notices of entry; obtaining permission to appeal in the Fair Work Commission; vague job security clauses being binding on an employer; and low threshold for admitted adverse action.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    13 October 2015

    We look at what 'reasonable management action' is; when a complaint will be 'in relation to' employment; the personal liability of human resources managers and other senior employees; the FWC's approach to dismissals resulting from serious safety breaches; and the validity of a safety regulator's directive that a coal mine only use light vehicles retrofitted with roll protection.

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  • Client Update: Productivity Commission identifies major deficiencies in workplace relations framework

    4 August 2015

    The Coalition's industrial relations policy for the last election included a proposal to have the Productivity Commission review and make recommendations about improving the Fair Work Act so that the Coalition could take the recommended changes to the next election. The proposal is now unfolding, with the Productivity Commission releasing its draft report today. Partner Simon Dewberry and Managing Associate Andrew Stirling look at what the report means for you.

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  • Focus: Workplace relations

    24 July 2015

    In this issue we look at whether conduct by an employee out-of-hours can justify dismissal; what adjustments an employer must make to accommodate an employee's disability; what 'obtaining alternative employment' means for employers who want to apply to reduce their redundancy obligation; and obtaining permission to have legal representation before the Fair Work Commission.

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  • Fact sheet: What price to pay for social media in the workplace?

    24 June 2015

    There's an assumption that everyone is on social media these days, even when they're at work – and they probably are. Many startups embrace social media, but, as an employer, you will need to understand and manage the risks that come with the use of social media in the workplace.

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  • Focus: New guidance on restructuring your workforce in Vietnam

    23 April 2015

    Dismissing employees, whether for under-performance or misconduct, has always been a difficult task in Vietnam given the strongly pro-employee labour legislation. However, the Government has recently issued new legislation in an attempt to level the playing field and create a clearer avenue for companies to legally dismiss employees for under-performance. Partner Linh Bui, Senior Associate Mai Loan Nguyen and Associate Hai Nguyen report.

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  • Focus: Sensible changes proposed to the Australian taxation of ESS interests

    27 March 2015

    Improvements to the Australian taxation of employee share schemes (ESS) have been proposed in new tax legislation before Parliament. One of the important changes is that Australia will be moving back to rights to acquire shares generally being taxed on exercise of those rights. Partner Sarah Bernhardt and Senior Associate Shaun Cartoon, members of Allens' Head Office & Governance team, report on the proposed ESS tax changes and how they may potentially impact on the design of employee share plans from 1 July 2015.

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  • Linklaters Insights: Hong Kong court rules that dismissal effected to avoid paying discretionary bonus amounts to breach of contract

    24 March 2015

    The Hong Kong Court of First Instance recently found Bank of America liable to pay damages of US$500,000 to a former senior employee in respect of the annual discretionary bonus that the court held would have been awarded to her (ie the equivalent of over 360 per cent of her annual remuneration package) had she not been dismissed before the bonus payment date.

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  • Focus: Workplace relations

    4 March 2015

    In this issue we look at recent important decisions concerning calculating payment of accrued leave on termination; redundancy of senior executives; the redundancy risk posed by attempts to forcibly relocate employees; 'disaggregating' lawful and unlawful reasons in adverse action termination claims; and how an employer with a valid reason for dismissing an employee may still be liable under unfair dismissal laws.

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  • Client Update: Reforms proposed for Western Australia's resources safety legislation

    14 November 2014

    Western Australia's Department of Mines and Petroleum has invited submissions into the future of the State's safety legislation covering mining, petroleum and major hazard facilities. Special Counsel Eleanor Jewell and Associate Katie Gardiner report.

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  • Linklaters Insights: New board pay rules - are they working?

    29 October 2014

    FTSE 100 companies have consulted far more widely with their shareholders on board pay and there have been far fewer shareholder 'revolts' on pay as a result. These are among the key findings of a Linklaters report analysing how FTSE 100 companies - throughout the 2014 AGM season - have reacted to the new directors remuneration legislation which came into force a year ago this month. It is also predicted that the AGM season in 2015 will be an even quieter one than this year in terms of board pay.

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  • Focus: Back to a future for employee share scheme options

    17 October 2014

    Dust off your old employee option plans, as options look set to make a comeback. In consultations with Treasury earlier this year, we were informed that the Federal Government was considering introducing a special tax regime for 'start-ups' but that there was limited appetite to reverse any of the 2009 tax changes that largely resulted in the death of options for Australian employees. So, it was to our pleasant surprise that, on 14 October 2014, the Government announced that, from 1 July 2015, Australia will be moving back to the global norm of employee options granted by all companies generally being taxed on exercise. Special concessions for start-up companies are also proposed. Partner Sarah Bernhardt and Senior Associate Shaun Cartoon, members of Allens' Head Office & Governance team, report.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    17 September 2014

    In this issue we look at the recent watershed appeal decision on damages in sexual harassment cases; further signs from the Fair Work Commission that employers need to show caution when dismissing employees with mental illnesses; proving the reasonableness of redeployment in redundancy; the implications of failing to specify notice entitlements in employment contracts; and legal professional privilege and investigation reports.

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  • Focus: Term of mutual trust and confidence not implied into Australian employment contracts

    10 September 2014

    A landmark High Court decision has determined that a term of mutual trust and confidence is not necessary and should not be implied at law into employment contracts in Australia. Special Counsel Eleanor Jewell reports.

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  • Focus: Workplace Health & Safety Quarterly

    5 August 2014

    We look at the circumstances surrounding the prosecution of a business for using hazardous chemicals; the courts move to increase penalties for WHS breaches; a new monetary threshold for principal contractor duties in Victoria; and the growing use of enforceable undertakings as an alternative to prosecutions under model WHS laws.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    25 June 2014

    We look at the circumstances where a court may not grant an injunction to restrain an employee from working with a competitor; the Fair Work Commission's position on legal representation; a case that helps clarify when restructuring roles will create genuine redundancy; whether a gift to employees who worked during a strike can be construed as adverse action; an assessment of the first six months of the new anti-bullying jurisdiction; and an employer's right to proper information about an employee's illness.

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  • Focus: Work Health & Safety

    23 April 2014

    In this issue we report on amendments to Queensland's WHS laws; new harmonised WHS laws to be introduced in Western Australia; the Fair Work Commission's decision upholding saliva drug testing as the most appropriate method; and the first WHS model laws prosecution.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    27 February 2014

    We look at a union's contravention of the general protection laws; new legislation that will expand the powers of the federal building industry regulator; the Fair Work Commission's ruling on urine testing and its implications for employers; a Fair Work Commission ruling affirming reinstatement as the primary remedy in cases of unfair dismissal; a decision supporting state governments' building and construction codes of conduct; discerning adverse action from lawful industrial action; and guidance on requiring compliance with a social media policy applying outside the workplace.

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  • Focus: Occupational Health & Safety

    10 December 2013

    In this issue we look at the continuing debate on the merits of saliva versus urine drug testing; the introduction of on-the-spot fines for WHS breaches in the ACT; revised national codes of practice for the construction and stevedoring industries; the need to properly particularise an offence when prosecuting a WHS offence; changes to right-of-entry laws in Queensland; a case that highlights an employer's duty of care even where there are multiple entities with simultaneous control of a workplace; and the substantial changes to Queensland's workers' compensation scheme.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    9 December 2013

    We look at employees' workplace rights under the adverse action provisions of the Fair Work Act; when employers may stand down employees; the scope of an order requiring industrial action to stop; whether wearing a union t-shirt in the workplace is industrial action; the offshore reach of the Fair Work legislation; and changes in the way employers should respond to defective adverse action claims.

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  • Allens insights: New bullying laws should not ignore employers

    22 November 2013

    The first day of 2014 will see the beginning of a new regime to tackle the problem of workplace bullying.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    20 November 2013

    In this issue we look at a High Court decision that considers when an injury will have been suffered in the course of employment; whether employer-provided accommodation can be regarded as a payment under Fair Work legislation; the context of a dismissal mitigating a valid reason for termination; the fine line between an abrasive personality and bullying in an unfair dismissal case; and the circumstances under which an employer can ask for an independent medical assessment of an employee.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    9 September 2013

    In this issue: we look at an employee's termination for expressing political views on Twitter; whether an employee could rely on the protection of company policies inconsistent with terms in his employment contract; an adverse finding against an employer for disciplining an employee over health and safety issues; when redistribution of work responsibilities will amount to repudiation; unreasonable refusal to offer part-time employment following parental leave; and the distinction between contractual and other employment obligations.

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  • Focus: Occupational Health & Safety

    22 August 2013

    We look at the Queensland State Coroner's findings into the deaths of workers under the Federal Government Home Insulation Program; an unresolved debate around drug testing in the workplace; the New Zealand Good Governance Practices Guideline for Managing Health and Safety Risks; federal legislative amendments that create a new bullying jurisdiction; and New Zealand's most significant reform of its workplace health and safety system in 20 years.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    30 July 2013

    We look at the risks of dismissing an employee on the basis of a sham redundancy; the need to clearly document changes to employment arrangements; when legal representation before the Fair Work Commission will not be granted; an employer's duty of care in relation to workplace bullying; and a case illustrating the difference between adverse action and unfair dismissal.

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  • Client Update: Key changes to bullying laws

    28 June 2013

    Laws were passed yesterday to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to introduce new anti-bullying measures allowing individual workers to bring an action to stop workplace bullying. Employers should ensure they have a policy and procedures in place to respond to bullying claims. Partner Simon Dewberry and Law Graduate Timothy Leschke report.

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  • Focus: Key changes to working conditions for offshore oil and gas projects

    3 June 2013

    A proposed amendment to Australia's migration legislation seeks to ensure that foreign offshore oil and gas workers will require a 457 visa and be subject to Australian employment law. If this change is made, owners and operators of offshore oil and gas projects will need to ensure they and their contractors are aware of, and comply with, their obligations regarding visas and the application of Australian employment laws. The proposed amendment will also most likely increase the scope for union activity on these projects. Special Counsel Eleanor Jewell reports.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    17 May 2013

    We report on union eligibility rules; what constitutes an offer of acceptable alternative employment; the consequences of an employee's refusal of a settlement offer; an ATO ruling on ordinary hours of work; and whether a complaint about employment made to an employer can constitute a 'workplace right'.

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  • Client Update: Coalition releases industrial relations policy

    10 May 2013

    The Coalition released its industrial relations policy yesterday. Overall, the policy does not contemplate radical changes and instead confirms the Coalition's intention to work within the existing industrial relations framework. However, there are several interesting issues arising from the policy, particularly in relation to unions' rights of entry and enterprise bargaining. Partner Simon Dewberry and Senior Associate Rima Hor report on the key proposals.

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  • Paper: Submission to House of Representatives Inquiry into the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013

    24 April 2013

    This paper contains details of the submissions prepared by Allens for the purpose of addressing the proposed amendments outlined in the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    19 April 2013

    We report on the clarification of when an 'arrangement' could meet the transfer of business test; changes to the Fair Work legislation; under what circumstances a termination payment is a genuine redundancy payment; issues when seeking to stay a reinstatement order; and policy requirements for avoiding vicarious liability for an employee's unlawful sexual harassment.

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  • Linklaters Insights: Withdrawal of benefit upon a breach of a settlement agreement

    14 March 2013

    The High Court of England & Wales recently confirmed that where an employer and employee had signed a compromise agreement to oversee the employee's departure, the employer was entitled to withhold a conditional benefit where the employee breached the conditions of the agreement.

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