Recent Cases

Tassone v Kirkham [2014] SADC 134

The District Court of South Australia has awarded damages of $75,000 plus an award for economic loss (yet to be determined) to an employee who was defamed after a co-worker sent an email to 2,300 colleagues stating that he was homosexual and looking for someone to engage in a sexual relationship.

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Unlawful Discrimination: Pay out awarded to 75 year old bus driver

The NSW Administrative Appeals tribunal full bench has recently awarded a 75 year old bus driver $25,323 in compensation after he was dismissed because of his age. The dismissal occurred after a low speed accident involving the bus driver. Prior to this, in 2007, the bus driver had had his hours reduced because he was “getting old” and he was told “that it was time for him to retire”.

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Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010

In May 2010 that Federal Government released its draft of the Paid Parental Leave Bill.

Under the draft Bill, from 1 January 2011, an eligible parent will be able to apply for up to 18 weeks paid parental leave at the national minimum wage, currently $543.78 per week.

Employers will be required to pay parental leave to employees who have been employed for at least 12 months prior to the expected date of birth or placement of adoption.

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Unlawful Discrimination: Stern v Depilation & Skincare Pty Ltd [2009] VCAT 2725

Employers should take into account anti-discrimination legislation when deciding which employees to retrench, as the recent decision of Stern v Depilation & Skincare Pty Ltd [2009] VCAT 2725 illustrates. In this decision, an employee was working part time during pregnancy due on medical grounds. The employer was found to have treated an employee less favourably due to pregnancy when she was selected for redundancy due largely to her part time status.

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Workplace Relations: Endeavour Coal v APESMA

The Federal Court has recently handed down its decision in the long running dispute between Endeavour Coal Pty Ltd (a BHP subsidiary) and the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia. The application concerns APESMA’s application to Fair Work Australia for good faith bargaining orders in relation to its Appin Mine in New South Wales. The Federal Court’s decision is the second appeal in this dispute.

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Workplace Relations: CFMEU v Pilbara Iron Company

The Federal Court of Australia recently handed down a significant decision in relatio to the protections afforded to employees against adverse action by employers. The case is significant because it demonstrates the heavy burden that employers can have managing difficult and cantankerous employees. The principal difficulty is that the burden of demonstrating compliance with the general protections provisions lies on the employer.

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