Workplace Relations: FWA refuses to make bargaining orders

The bargaining landscape confronting employers remains uncertain. In rejecting the CFMEU's application to have bargaining orders made against Tahmoor Coal, however, Commissioner Roberts of Fair Work Australia found that an employer is not in breach of its good faith bargaining obligations simply because, after extensive negotiations, the employer concludes negotiations are at an impasse. Commissioner Roberts stated that in this case, having reached this conclusion, the employer was entitled to refuse to meet further with the union.

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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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The Corporations amendments

The Corporations Law now contains important restrictions on a corporation's ability to make very large termination payments to outgoing executives. Shareholder approval will now be required for executive termination payments in excess of one year's salary. The new provisions will apply to employment arrangements entered into after 24 November 2009.

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