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

  • 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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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    20 February 2013

    We look at a case that points to greater shareholder power to scrutinise executives' termination pay; the limits on the operation of restraint of trade clauses; difficulties faced by employers relying on abandonment of employment as a basis for termination; and the importance of strict compliance with prescribed legislative steps when negotiating an enterprise agreement.

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  • Focus: The Australian implications of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy

    21 December 2012

    The criminal charges arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico during 2010 are a timely reminder of the potential criminal consequences of breaching duties under Australian work health and safety laws. Partner Tracey Greenaway and Special Counsel Eleanor Jewell report.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    20 December 2012

    We look at when regulations will constitute a 'workplace law' for General Protections claims; whether employees can proceed with unfair dismissal claims against companies in voluntary administration; a new focus for gender equality laws; and a Full Federal Court decision that confirms the broad scope of when injuries will be considered to have been suffered in the course of employment.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    4 December 2012

    We look at serious misconduct relating to pay arrangements as a basis for summary dismissal; the reinstatement of an employee terminated for posting offensive comments about his managers on social media; the reinstatement of a union delegate dismissed for bullying; redundancy not being genuine because of the employer's failure to consider all available redeployment options; and two recent decisions upholding restraint clauses in employment contracts.

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  • Focus: Consolidation of Federal anti-discrimination laws

    21 November 2012

    The Federal Government has released draft legislation consolidating federal anti-discrimination laws. Partner Simon Dewberry and Senior Associate Rachel Nicolson report.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    30 October 2012

    We look at claiming unjustifiable hardship to resist a disability discrimination claim; liability for HR policy breaches; opt-out clauses and enterprise agreements; steps to avoid vicarious liability for sexual harassment; Fair Work Australia's approach to the 'better off overall' test; and amendments to the Fair Work legislation.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    13 September 2012

    In this issue we look at the issue of persistent 'surface' bargaining; when it is reasonable to check the veracity of a workers' compensation claim; consultation as a component of a genuine redundancy; and enforcing a lengthy restraint.

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  • Client Update: High Court guidance on adverse action claims

    10 September 2012

    In overturning a recent Full Federal Court of Australia decision, the High Court found that an employee does not have special protection if they are a union member or are otherwise engaged in lawful industrial activity. Partner Peter Arthur and Senior Associate Andrew Stirling report.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    10 August 2012

    We look at a Federal Court decision upholding a finding that adverse action had been taken against an aircraft engineer who made a complaint about his entitlements; an employee receiving workers' compensation for a psychological injury suffered after a negative mid-year review; the Queensland Court of Appeal restraining a salesperson from performing duties for a competitor; and a finding that a payment in lieu of notice can be a termination payment within Part 2D.2 of the Corporations Act.

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  • Client Update: Review into Fair Work Act released

    3 August 2012

    The Federal Government's review into the Fair Work Act has recommended amendments, but there is no prospect of substantive change, and whatever change does occur will be delayed while further consultation takes place. Partner Tim Frost and Senior Associate Andrew Stirling look at the main recommendations.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    29 June 2012

    We look at the Federal Court having confirmed that protected industrial action to force an employer to bargain for an enterprise agreement is allowable; penalties for unsafe work practices; a three-year post-employment restraint being held to be reasonable; and a dismissal as part of a global restructure being held to be a genuine redundancy

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  • Focus: Are you on the job while 'on the job'?

    24 April 2012

    A recent decision that has confirmed that compensation is available to an employee (injured while having sex in a hotel room during a work trip) highlights the broad scope under the current law as to when injuries will be regarded as having taken place during the course of employment. Partner John Edmond, Senior Associate Jonathan Light and Lawyer Stephen Lloyd report on the decision that has particular implications for employers and worker's compensation insurers

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  • Client Update: Revised Victorian Implementation Guidelines for construction industry

    10 April 2012

    Revised Victorian guidelines will create uncertainty for Victorian building industry participants. Partner Simon Dewberry and Senior Associate Andrew Stirling report

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    5 April 2012

    In this issue we look at the findings of the Federal Court in a sexual harassment case; the issues relevant to the enforceability of restraint clauses; what level of responsibility companies may have for the employees of their sub-contractors; and the issue of procedural fairness in dismissal processes

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  • Client Update: High Court rules on safety duty

    3 April 2012

    The High Court has confirmed that simply engaging a contractor to perform work may be a reasonably practicable way for a principal to ensure worker health and safety. Partner Simon Dewberry and Senior Associate Andrew Stirling report

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    20 March 2012

    In this issue we report on a summary dismissal of union delegates case; opt-out clauses in enterprise agreements; an adverse action claim case; and what conduct will constitute sexual harassment

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  • Focus: 'Phoenixing' reforms introduced

    29 February 2012

    The Federal Government has introduced draft laws directed at companies that engage in 'phoenix'-related activity, including imposing liabilities on the directors of those companies. Partner Simon Dewberry, Special Counsel Luke Gattuso and Senior Associate Matthew McCarthy report

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    7 February 2012

    In this issue we consider whether employees can claim redundancy payments when their roles transfer to a new employer as part of a business sale; the circumstances in which comments posted to a Facebook page might justify termination of employment; what considerations apply when an employee pursues more than one set of proceedings arising from a single workplace scenario; and we provide an update on the national work health and safety legislative framework

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  • Client Update: Fair Work Act review panel seeks stakeholder submissions

    19 January 2012

    Yesterday, the Federal Government's Fair Work Act review panel released its background paper. Partner Simon Dewberry looks at the paper and the process of making a submission

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    21 December 2011

    We look at the operation of a post-termination restraint of trade clause; an adverse action claim arising in the context of performance management by an employer; a decision allowing prepayment of annual leave entitlements under the National Employment Standards; and changes to work health and safety legislation affecting principal contractor appointments in Queensland

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    30 November 2011

    We look at work health and safety laws harmonisation; redeployment obligations in a redundancy; employer rights to determine where on-site union meetings are held; and whether asserting a right under an employment contract can ground an adverse action claim

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    8 September 2011

    We look at whether an employer has the right to dismiss an employee for not working on a public holiday; Fair Work Australia's position on intervening in the bargaining process; social media usage in the workplace; proving bullying in an unfair dismissal case; and going to court to restrain a company's board from passing a termination resolution

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  • Allens insights: Key issues in OHS Harmonisation

    1 August 2011

    The beginning of 2012 will see the commencement in Australia of harmonised occupational health and safety (OHS) laws.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    5 July 2011

    We look at a case in which an executive's termination was held to have been lawful; a development in the test for distinguishing between employees and independent contractors; new Victorian anti-bullying legislation; enforcement of a post-employment restraint; company director liability for underpayment of wages; protected action ballot orders and when they can be granted; employer negligence for failing to protect employees from psychiatric injury; possession of psychological disorder not sufficient to make performance management and dismissal unfair; and increases to the national minimum wage

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  • Client Update: Anti-discrimination laws strengthened

    27 May 2011

    Employers need to familiarise themselves with important legislative amendments to anti-discrimination laws that are likely to come into effect in July 2011. In particular, the standard for what constitutes sexual harassment has been lowered, and employers now have an obligation to protect employees from sexual harassment in a broader range of workplace contexts. Partner Peter Arthur, Lawyer Tristan Garcia and Law Graduate Edwina Watson report on the changes and what they mean for employers

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    9 May 2011

    We look at freedom of association provisions; restraints of trade involving intermediaries; the burden of proof in adverse action claims; fiduciary duties to subsidiaries; and whether an employment contract is repudiated by an employer asking an employee to assume a diminished role

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  • Client Update: NSW Bill to make immediate changes to OHS duties and directors' liability

    6 May 2011

    The NSW Government yesterday introduced in Parliament the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2011 which, if passed, will remove the reverse-onus duty provisions in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (NSW) and substantially modify the personal liability of directors. These changes are proposed to commence ahead of the Model Work Health and Safety Bill on 1 January 2012. Partner Peter Arthur and Lawyer Jonathan Adamopoulos report

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    21 February 2011

    In this issue: we look at the need for an employer to act upon its contractual obligations regarding performance bonuses; protected action ballot orders; drug and alcohol testing; proving an employee's dismissal is not for an unlawful reason; and damages resulting from an employer giving misleading information.

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  • Focus: Receivers not obligated to pay employee entitlements

    23 December 2010

    The Federal Court has clarified receivers' obligations to pay employees' leave entitlements and superannuation contributions out of the assets of a company subject to a floating charge. The court held that receivers are only required to pay Entitlements that fall due before their appointment. Special Counsel Philip Blaxill and Lawyers Bryn Dodson and Melanie Rifici report

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    22 December 2010

    we look at implied terms in employment contracts; senior employee liability for workplace breaches; criminal conviction as a reason for terminating employment; damages calculations arising from breach of an independent contract; dealing with complaints of underpayment; and the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic)

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  • Client Update: Draft Model Work Health and Safety Regulations and Codes of Practice released

    16 December 2010

    Any company or individual conducting business, regardless of whether it has any employees, will be liable under new draft regulations which are the next step towards the national harmonisation of occupational health and safety laws. Partner Peter Arthur and Lawyer Jonathan Adamopoulos report on new draft Regulations and draft Codes of Practice released by Safe Work Australia

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  • Client Update: Employee share scheme tax reporting

    24 September 2010

    The Australian Taxation Office's Employee Share Scheme working party had its winding up meeting this week. Partner Sarah Bernhardt (who was a member of the working party) and Lawyer Teresa Campbell report on the main discussion points

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    9 July 2010

    We look at whether a dismissal is a redundancy when the work is still being performed by others; where Fair Work Australia may still approve an agreement without good faith bargaining; Fair Work Australia having clarified the scope of flexibility terms; enterprise agreements should not cover positions an employer has yet to fill; notification of enterprise agreements in the digital age; and Fair Work Australia upholds the termination of an employee for refusing to work as directed

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    10 May 2010

    We look at an unfair dismissal case that dealt with the issue of an employee failing to provide their employer with relevant medical information to assist in their return to work; the scope of enterprise agreements and common law obligations; the issue of a pay rise as an example of negotiating in bad faith; and the failure to comply with mandatory notice requirements in an enterprise bargaining agreement

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  • Focus: Renewed human rights emphasis in Australian law and policy

    3 May 2010

    In response to the report on the Federal Government's National Consultation on Human Rights, the Government has released its proposed agenda on the issue, Australia's Human Rights Framework. Partner Alex Cuthbertson, Senior Associate Rachel Nicolson and Lawyer Swee Leng Harris summarise the framework's key initiatives, and their likely impact on federal legislation, policies and programs.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    7 April 2010

    We look at dispute resolution clauses in enterprise agreements; when enterprise agreements will transfer with employees; the potential consequences of workplace harassment; and whether the scope of a proposed enterprise agreement is a proper subject for bargaining

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    24 February 2010

    We look at the dangers of potential demotion during restructures and the cost to employers; the protection of employers' confidential information; the obligation for employers to provide a 'reasonable opportunity' for their employees to consider an enterprise agreement; and the states referring workplace regulation to the federal jurisdiction

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  • Client Update: High Court quashes employer's OHS conviction

    4 February 2010

    Yesterday the High Court unanimously quashed the conviction of an employer-company and its director for breaches of its OHS obligations following the fatality of an employee. The court's decision will have a significant impact on the interpretation of NSW employers' OHS duties and the way in which prosecutions are brought for breaches of all OHS legislation in Australia. Partner Peter Arthur and Lawyer Jonathan Adamopoulos report

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  • Focus: Productivity Commission's Final Report on executive remuneration in Australia

    20 January 2010

    In the midst of the traditional new year holiday period, the Federal Government released the Productivity Commission's final report on executive remuneration in Australia. Allens Executive Partner Paul Quinn and Lawyer Ben Ferguson summarise the findings of the Productivity Commission and analyse its recommendations on the reporting of executive remuneration

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    21 December 2009

    We look at whether employers can communicate directly with their employees even though they are engaged in good faith bargaining with a trade union; a case that shows that deeds of release are not absolute; and the circumstances where Fair Work Australia may suspend protected industrial action on the grounds of significant economic harm

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    3 December 2009

    We look at an employee's resignation in breach of contract; a company policy regulating activities performed outside work; restraining employees from using confidential customer lists after their employment ends; the introduction of random drug and alcohol testing to meet occupational health and safety obligations; and the NES, which commence on 1 January 2010

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  • Client Update: 'Golden Handshake' Bill becomes law

    24 November 2009

    Amendments to the Corporations Act aimed at curbing 'golden handshakes' commence today after receiving Royal Assent yesterday. Shareholder approval is now required for any termination benefits to company executives that exceed one year's base salary. Partner Peter Arthur and Law Graduate Jonathan Adamopoulos report

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  • Focus: Occupational Health & Safety

    20 November 2009

    We look at the draft Model OHS Act; principal contractors' OHS obligations to independent specialist subcontractors; the meaning of 'workplace' under sections 5 and 17 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (Cth); the costliness of breaches of federal OHS laws; lack of training and supervision leading to prosecution; heavy penalties for companies that do not address well-known OHS risks; reduction in penalties for the improvement of safety measures; and upcoming WA reforms to mine safety regulation.

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  • Client Update: AIRC removes exemption clause in Clerks and Banking Modern Awards

    18 November 2009

    On 16 November 2009, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission varied the Clerks - Private Sector Award 2010 and the Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2010 by removing the exemption provision from each Award, and replacing it with an annualised salary clause. Senior Associate Veronica Siow and Law Graduate Sarah Hampton report.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    6 November 2009

    We look at the meaning of 'reasonable additional hours'; the Productivity Commission's draft report on executive remuneration; what amounts to a sham arrangement; the incorporation of company policies into employment contracts; and lessons so far on bargaining under the Fair Work reforms

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    15 October 2009

    We look at the issue of the enforceability of a post-employment restraint; the phasing-in period for the new Modern Awards; and the validity of an employment contract where an employee has been wrongfully terminated

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  • Client Update: Non-Commonwealth licensee liable under state OHS law: High Court

    14 October 2009

    The High Court has handed down its decisions regarding the prosecutions against John Holland Pty Limited by the Victorian and New South Wales Workcover Authorities.1 The court ruled that a non-Commonwealth licensee can be prosecuted under State occupational health and safety legislation. Partner Peter Arthur and Law Graduate Jonathan Adamopoulos report

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