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Bianca Dearing

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The promotion of workplace safety was key to a recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) regarding summary dismissal of an employee for offending her employer’s drug and alcohol policy. This decision follows a recent trend in the FWC of upholding employers’ zero tolerance safety rules. A dump truck operator on a mine site was dismissed for serious misconduct after she breached a ‘cardinal rule’ of her employer’s drug and alcohol protocols that no…

A recent Fair Work Commission decision serves as a timely reminder about confidentiality obligations of employee support persons in disciplinary meetings. A union site delegate landed himself a final written warning when, after attending a disciplinary meeting as the support person for a fellow employee, he took it upon himself to forward correspondence regarding the employee to his union and members of his work group. The employer issued a final written warning on the basis…

In a somewhat surprising Fair Work Commission decision, a majority Full Bench has upheld an unfair dismissal verdict in circumstances where the employee was dismissed for running a business outside of work hours – selling products that were competitive to her employer. The employee was employed by The Body Shop in an administrative role when she also became a consultant (that is, an independent contractor) to PartyLite – a direct sales “party” business selling scented…

The Federal Government’s recent proposal to increase the age pension age to 70 by 2035 has generated a great deal of discussion, not least from employees and employee organisations about difficulties already faced by mature age workers in obtaining and retaining work. The Federal government proposes to meet these concerns in part by employer cash incentives for hiring long term unemployed jobseekers aged 50+. But should employers need cash incentives to employ mature age workers?…