Latest News In Workplace Law
Federal coalition’s 2 April 2019 Budget provides for federal labour hire scheme and dedicated sham contracting unit within the Fair Work Ombudsman
In its budget announcements, the federal government has announced its plans to establish a federal labour hire registration scheme, as well as a team within the Fair Work Ombudsman dedicated to enforcing and litigating sham contracting laws.
The labour hire scheme, unlike the current schemes in Queensland and Victoria would be limited to the industries of horticulture, cleaning, meat processing and security. The sham contracting unit will be funded with $6.4M over 4 years, and Federal IR Minister Kelly O’Dwyer has said that the government will clamp down on sham contracting and will impose tougher penalties for those who breach engage in sham contracting.
Former health executive awarded more than $1.4M in damages for discrimination
Metro Health North Hospital (Metro North) has been ordered to pay $1.4M to a former health executive for contravention of the Anti-Discrimination Act (Qld) 1991. Dr. Christopher Davis was the only qualified candidate for geriatrics position at Metro North. However, was then advised that the position had been withdrawn. Dr David had been an MP in the Newman LNP government, and was dismissed as assistant health minister for criticism the then State government publicly.
Dr. Davis argued that he was forced into an early retirement as a result and was denied the role based upon the premise that he held “political beliefs or engaged in political activities”. QCAT Member Clare Endicott found Metro North contravened state anti-discrimination laws and ordered Metro North to pay more than $1.4M in damages to Dr. Davis.
Davis v Metro North Hospital and Health Service & Ors  QCAT 18
Commissioner questions the reliability of evidence submitted by Employer
Former owner-operators of Foot & Thai Massage Pty Ltd are facing potential gaol time for allegedly providing false evidence to the Fair Work Commission during an unfair dismissal hearing in March last year (see here). Deputy President John Kovacic flagged similarities between the account of events submitted by the owner-director and supervisor. Kovacic suggested “one possible explanation is that the owner-director discussed his evidence with the supervisor during the luncheon adjournment”. Kovacic submitted copies of the evidence to the FWC general manager to consider whether either party has contravened section 678 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
Bartolome Durado & Delo Be Isugan v Thai Massage Pty Ltd  FWC 1533
Fair Work Commission: A reminder for employers regarding abandonment of employment
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has sent an important message to employers regarding the abandonment of employment process. In a recent case, Zadlea Pty Ltd t/a Atlas Steel (Atlas Steel) withdrew Orry Thompson’s visa sponsorship when they “hadn’t heard from him” for three days. FWC Commissioner Gregory found that Atlas Steel missed crucial steps in the abandonment of employment process. Notably, that Atlas Steel failed to make any attempts to contact Mr. Thompson and this “would be a minimum expectation of any reasonable employer in the circumstances”. Commissioner Gregory ordered Atlas Steel to pay Mr. Thompson more than $7,000 in compensation for loss of income.
Orry Thompson v Zadlea Pty LTd T/A Atlas Steel  FWC 1687