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Workplace Sexual Harassment [Powerful Video]

A major issue for any employer is how to prevent workplace bullying and sexual harassment.

Under Occupational Health and Safety and anti-discrimination law, employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace.

This short video explains:

  • What is workplace sexual harassment.
  • The social and economic effects
  • What employers should do.

Feel free to share the video with friends and colleagues using the sharing buttons below.

 

 

Get $30 and a free transfer when you use CurrencyFair to send money overseas via this special HRwisdom offer code: https://www.currencyfair.com/?channel=RCFL11

Get $30 and a free transfer when you use CurrencyFair to send money overseas via this special HRwisdom offer link.

 

Workplace Sexual Harassment Video

 

Remember, it is important to be proactive when it comes to this area.

The Australian Human Rights Commission explains:

[quote] Employers have a duty of care for employee health and well-being whilst at work. Any employer that allows bullying to occur in the workplace is not meeting this responsibility.  Workplace bullying is verbal, physical, social or psychological abuse by your employer (or manager), another person or group of people at work. Workplace bullying can happen in any type of workplace, from offices to shops, cafes, restaurants, workshops, community groups and government organisations. Workplace bullying can happen to volunteers, work experience students, interns, apprentices, casual and permanent employees. Some types of workplace bullying are criminal offences. [/quote]

For more information, click here to download a government resource for employers.

The resource aims to assist small, medium and large employers to understand and meet their legal obligations under the Sex Discrimination Act. It also provides practical guidance on how employers can prevent sexual harassment and how to respond effectively when it occurs. In addition, the resource discusses recent legal developments concerning workplace sexual harassment and canvasses some of the new and innovative approaches to addressing sexual harassment.

Legal Responsibilities of Employers [Checklist]

The Australian Government regularly makes changes to the legal responsibilities of employers, particularly in the area of wage rates.

Today we are sharing a government checklist of the legal responsibilities of employers.

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FREE WORKPLACE LAW ONLINE BRIEFINGS: 

See available session times here: Free Workplace Law Briefings For Employers [/box]

Legal Responsibilities of Employers – A Checklist

1. Are you providing the National Employment Standards (NES) that are relevant to your employees?

  • 38 hour standard week Legal Responsibilities of Employers
  • Unpaid parental leave 
  • 10 days paid personal/carer’s leave 
  • Notice of termination and redundancy 
  • Long service leave 
  • Flexible working arrangements 
  • 4 weeks paid annual leave 
  • Community service leave 
  • Public holidays 
  • Fair Work Information Statement

2. Do you know the award(s) or agreement (if any) that covers your business?

3. Do you know how to find the rates of pay from your award or agreement?

4. Do you know the correct:

  • penalty rates? 
  • casual loadings (if any)? 
  • overtime payments? 
  • meal breaks? 
  • allowances (e.g. uniform, travel)?

5. Are you providing accurate time and wage records for you employees?

Do you:

  • record start and finish times? 
  • keep time and wage records for seven (7) years?
  • provide pay slips within one (1) 
  • working day of employees being paid? 
  • know what to include on a pay slip? 
  • maintain a record of leave entitlements?

6. Do you know about your responsibilities when dismissing staff including:

  • unfair dismissal laws? 
  • what to do if a position becomes redundant? 
  • minimum notice periods? 
  • final payment requirements?

7. Do you know what an Individual Flexibility Arrangement is?

8. Are you aware of your options for making an enterprise agreement with employees?

9. Are you aware that the Fair Work Act 2009 provides General Protections including the right to be free from unlawful discrimination, undue influence, coercion and misrepresentation?

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FREE WORKPLACE LAW ONLINE BRIEFINGS: 

See available session times here: Free Workplace Law Briefings For Employers [/box]

How To Get Help?

If you have questions you need answering, you have two main options:

Remember, be proactive to minimise the risks.

HRwisdom

Employment Restraint of Trade – Advice From A Lawyer

Writing an employment contract? In this special article, a guest expert takes a look at the concept of employment restraint of trade.

George Haros is a highly experienced workplace lawyer and today he is answering some tricky employment contract questions:

  • What is a restraint of trade clause?
  • What should we make of the Emeco v O’Shea case?
  • Will your restraint of trade clause be enforced?
  • What you can do to get it right?

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FREE LEGAL BRIEFINGS: 

See available session times here: Free Workplace Law Briefings For Employers [/box]

Over to George . . .

What is an employment restraint of trade clause?

An employment restraint of trade clause is commonly found in an employment agreement and used by employers in an attempt to protect the employer’s business interests.

Employment Restraint of TradeWhy is a restraint of trade clause important?

A restraint of trade clause attempts to regulate an employee’s conduct while still engaged in the employment relationship or a former employee’s conduct once the employment relationship has ended.

However, employers must also take extreme care when considering the inclusion of such restraint clauses.

Where the clauses are ambiguous or too broad, a court may find the restraint unenforceable.

The main principle is that the restraint can only be upheld if it protects the legitimate interests of the employer, and the clause is not wider than is reasonably necessary to protect those interests.

Although there is no precise rule as to what restraint terms are considered reasonable; what is required in each case is an evaluative judgement taking into account the specific circumstances of each party and their relationship.

The Emeco v O’Shea Case

The recent case of Emeco v O’Shea [2012] WASC 348 demonstrates how the Courts of Western Australia have considered restraint clauses.

Emeco v O’Shea [2012] WASC 348 Facts: Emeco operated in the highly competitive industry of dry hiring mobile mining equipment in Australia and internationally.

Mr O’Shea was employed by Emeco as a business development manager for 21 months.

As a senior employee, he built up close relationships with important clients of Emeco and was entrusted with confidential information.

After Mr O’Shea resigned from Emeco, he immediately took up employment with one of Emeco’s major competitors, National Plant and Equipment (NPE). Emeco sought an injunction to enforce the restraints in Mr O’Shea’s employment contract, amongst which he would be prevented from working for Emeco’s competitors, soliciting any of its clients, or providing services to any of its clients within Western Australia, for a period of 6 months after the termination of employment.

The Decision: Endelman J accepted that Emeco’s legitimate interests included its customer connections and confidential information, and Emeco was entitled to restrain its employees to the extent necessary to protect its legitimate interests.

The Court found that in Mr O’Shea’s role as a business development manager at Emeco, he retained confidential information about the business and its individual clients, which could be used to the detriment of Emeco.  

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FREE WORKPLACE LAW ONLINE BRIEFINGS: 

See available session times here: Free Workplace Law Briefings For Employers [/box]

On that basis, the Court held that it was reasonable for Emeco to restrain Mr O’Shea from undertaking employment with any competitor, including NPE, for a period of 6 months. However, the non-solicitation and client restraints were found to be unenforceable due mainly to the broad definition of “client”, which covered both actual and potential customers of Emeco, and were not limited to those with whom Mr O’Shea had personal contact.

The Court was therefore of the opinion that these restraints could go further than was reasonable to protect the legitimate interests of Emeco in protecting those customer connections developed by the employee. As a part of its judgment, the Court also considered the fact that the restraint clauses were subject to the express qualification that Mr O’Shea will not engage in the restrained activities “without the prior written consent of Emeco”.

This qualification implies that Emeco would not unreasonably withhold consent, and was a factor that played some part in the Court’s determination that the competitor restraint was reasonable. However, the Court also noted that such qualification could not operate to make a very wide restraint clause enforceable.

Will your restraint of trade clause be enforced?

Based on the case law in this area it is clear that whether or not your clause will be enforceable will depend on the construction of the restraint clause and of course, the circumstances.

The onus is on the employer to prove that the restraint clause is valid and enforceable where a business can demonstrate that it has a legitimate interest to protect and that the clause is reasonable.

What you can do to get it right?

Consider:

  1. Is there a genuine and legitimate interest that needs protecting?
  2. Is your restraint clause for a time period that is longer than necessary to protect that interest?
  3. Does the restraint clause cover a geographical area that is larger than necessary to protect that interest?
  4. Take particular care to ensure that the restraint is not so broad as to prevent the employee from working at all; and For Employers, seek advice on the construction of your clause.

[box type=”alert”]

FREE WORKPLACE LAW ONLINE BRIEFINGS: 

See available session times here: Free Workplace Law Briefings For Employers [/box]

Thanks to George for this excellent information.

HRwisdom

Workplace Law Explained (For Free)

Did you know these workplace law facts . . . ?

  • Last year there were over 14,000 claims of unfair dismissal.
  • On average, unfair dismissal claims take over 150 days to resolve.
  • Compensation for an employee who suffers from ‘Adverse Action’ is uncapped.
  • In Adverse Action, the onus of proof is against you, the employer.
  • The process of making employees redundant is always a challenging one.

Attend a free ‘Workplace Law Explained’ online briefing with leading Australian employment lawyers.

Webinars Now Closed

Sorry, the webinars have now finished.

Workplace Law

Instead, click here: employment law advice.

Workplace Law Explained

The highly experienced Australian workplace lawyers will talk you through:

  • Unfair Dismissal: What are the risks and what you should do.
  • Adverse Action: What are the risks and what you should do.
  • Redundancies: What are the risks and what you should do.

HRwisdom

 

Workplace Law Employer Briefings

Workplace Law Employer Briefings

HRwisdom recently undertook a survey of Australian employers to find out what were the key issues in the area of workplace law.

The following issues were the clear leaders:

  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Adverse Action
  • Managing Redundancies
  • Managing Underperformers

We have now begun a series of free online employer briefings to help you with these topics.

Update On Workplace Law For Employers

UPDATE: The webinars are now here: Free Employment Law Webinars

 

How To Really Freak Out Your Workforce

Employers everywhere are facing many different challenges and this makes staff motivation very difficult.

Some companies are struggling with the decline of the manufacturing sector and related job losses.

Organisations in the resources-rich states are facing rising labour costs and skills shortage issues.

Businesses in the retail sector are trying to protect tight profit margins and decreasing sales volumes against the flight to online shopping.

No matter what the economic environment or challenges, all organisations need to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of their workforce.

Maximising this efficiency and effectiveness can be done in all sorts of ways such as:

  • Employee Value Propositions (EVP)
  • Process improvement programmes
  • Training and development
  • Employee engagement initiatives
  • Employee retention systems
  • Performance improvement plans

There are all sorts of ways to successfully manage your workforce and many of these good ideas are discussed in the free HRwisdom Employee Attraction & Retention Guide.

 

Not Our Recommended Approach To Staff Motivation

One method of staff motivation that is NOT RECOMMENDED is to give employees $10 if they can successfully guess which of their colleagues is the next to be fired.

In a post a couple of years ago on the US ABC News website, details were reported of a court case in the United States in which an employer found himself in hot water for trying to motivate his staff by running a “firing contest.”

Apparently the employer sent a company-wide memo telling staff they could win if they successfully guessed which of their colleagues would be fired next.

Once the winner had been chosen, the contest started all over again.

Unfortunately for the business, a number of staff resigned after they realised the whole thing was not actually a joke as they first thought.

Some might call this an “interesting” approach to employee engagement and employee retention.

Staff MotivationThe judge called it “egregious and deplorable.”

Either way, this employer won’t be winning any Employer of Choice awards anytime soon.

And in case you’re wondering, yes there were penalties involved.

The employer was required to pay large fines for issues relating to what we in Australia might refer to as constructive dismissal and harassment.

So, if you are thinking about implementing this novel method of employee motivation, perhaps you may be better serviced sticking with the good ol’ Employee Of The Month award until something better comes along . . .

You can download the HRwisdom Employee Attraction & Retention Guide now.  

HRwisdom

Understanding The Reasons Why Employees Underperform

Employers often ask us for information on the reasons why employees underperform.

Reasons why employees underperformToday the HRwisdom Blog is sharing some useful information for you to use.

However, first we should remind you to always seek legal advice before you commence any performance management proceedings which might ultimately end in termination of employment.

Depending on your location, click the appropriate link to get our recommendations for specific workplace law advice:

Each of the sites above contain a link to a free downloadable performance management documents, HR templates including a written warning letter template for you to use in your organisation.

As for information and hints on how to handle employee underperformance, we recommend following the details below as advised by Fair Work Australia.

Underperformance or poor performance can be exhibited in the following ways:

  • Unsatisfactory work performance, that is, a failure to perform the duties of the position or to perform them to the standard required
  • Non-compliance with workplace policies,
  • Rules or procedures
  • Unacceptable behaviour in the workplace
  • Disruptive or negative behaviour that impacts on co-workers.

Underperformance is not the same as misconduct.

Misconduct is very serious behaviour such as theft or assault which may warrant instant dismissal.

In cases of misconduct employers should seek specific legal advice about how to proceed before taking any action.

What are the reasons why employees underperform? 

There are many reasons why an employee may perform poorly.

Some of the common reasons include:

  • An employee doesn’t know what is expected because goals and/or standards or workplace policies and consequences are not clear (or have not been set)
  • Interpersonal differences
  • There is a mismatch between an employee’s capabilities and the job they are required to undertake, or the employee does not have the knowledge or skills to do the job expected of them
  • An employee does not know whether they are doing a good job because there is no counselling or feedback on their performance
  • Lack of personal motivation, low morale in the workplace and/or poor work environment
  • Personal issues such as family stress, physical and/or mental health problems or problems with drugs or alcohol
  • Cultural misunderstandings
  • Workplace bullying.

Underperformance should be dealt with promptly and appropriately by an employer, as employees are often unaware they are not performing well and so are unlikely to change their performance.

Best practice employers understand that issues that are not addressed promptly also have the potential to become more serious over time. This can have a negative effect on the business as a whole as it can affect the productivity and performance of the entire workplace.

Helpful hints

Dealing with underperformance can be challenging and confronting for employees and employers alike, but it does need to be addressed.

Managers need clear procedures, organisational support and the courage and willingness to manage the issue.

Provide training to managers on how to handle underperformance issues. It may be helpful to include role play workshops in the training material so that managers can learn how to approach matters in real-life scenarios. Well trained managers are better able to identify and address issues of underperformance.

If performance problems arise, it is crucial that they be resolved early. The longer that poor performance is allowed to continue, the more difficult a satisfactory resolution becomes, and the more the overall credibility of the system may suffer.

Not every underperformance issue needs a structured process. Explore other options for improving performance, such as the use of continuous feedback.

Remember that for performance management to be successful, the culture of the business should be one which encourages ongoing feedback and discussion about performance issues in open and supportive environments.

Ultimately, of course, an employee may choose to submit a complaint or claim against you (e.g. unfair dismissal, discrimination) even if you follow a very clear and proper process.

This is why we recommend you seeking early expert advice from here:

HRwisdom

Bizarre – Why Did They Fire This Punctual, Top Performing Employee?

Because you’ve been working hard all week, here at HRwisdom we thought we’d congratulate you by reminding you of some of the fun things we’ve shared here recently.

However, something we read recently has us wondering if indeed you have actually been working hard all week?

Why the wild accusation?

Well, what would you think if, after a little digging, you discovered the following details about the daily routine of your top performing employee?

“9am, arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours, watch cat videos; 11.30am, take lunch; 1pm, eBay; 2pm-ish, Facebook updates, LinkedIn; 4.40pm-end of day, update email to management; 5pm, go home.”

Perhaps you’d consider issuing a written warning letter?

This is exactly what has happened at a US firm but it gets even better.

It turns out, that, unbeknownst to his employer, the top performer had outsourced his job to China.

Why did they fire this employee?

May we suggest that you check out the full story at the Irish Times newspaper where’ll you discover how this employee had not only “spent less than one-fifth of his six-figure salary for a Chinese firm to do his job for him,” had had also set up similar arrangements with other US employers in his home town.

We’re quite sure that this probably answers the question: why did they fire this employee?

Whilst we are impressed with the world-wide success of Tim Ferriss’s book, The Four Hour Workweek, we think it’s possible that this employee may have gone one step too far.

Back to our congratulating you on a week’s work well done, here are some of the fun HR things we’ve shared on HRwisdom recently . . .

The world’s first job interview (HRwisdom on Facebook)

How to welcome your new staff from overseas

The office Christmas party from hell (HRwisdom on Facebook)

Teamwork video

Dilbert – the new management book

Stay tuned next week as we have some powerful information coming to you on how to get the best out of your workforce.

HRwisdom

Free Information Sessions On Workplace Law For Employers

HRwisdom will soon be rolling out free information sessions on workplace law for employers on a variety of employment law topics. Click to tweet this to your colleagues.

Update On Workplace Law For Employers

UPDATE: The webinars are now here: Free Employment Law Webinars

 

 

For a short time only, you will be able to tell us which topics you would like our guest experts to discuss.

To request a particular topic or vote on the broad topics below, please click here.

When the free employer briefings are ready, we will let you know by email.

So, make sure you have used the form over on the right to keep informed.

  • Unfair DismissalFree Information On Workplace Law For Employers
  • Managing Redundancies
  • Adverse Actions Claims
  • Enterprise Agreements
  • Contracts of Employment
  • Organisational Restructuring
  • Divestments. & Acquisitions
  • Workplace Health & Safety
  • Workers Compensation
  • Trade Unions
  • Managing Underperformers
  • Modern Awards
  • Employment Law For Small Business
  • Employment Law For The Public Sector

Employment Law Advice Video


HRwsidom

Download End Of Probation Letter (Unsuccessful) Template

At HRwisdom, we always recommend being proactive and having standard employment contracts, employee letters and Human Resources policies and procedures ready so that you can manage your staff properly in the eyes of the law.

End Of Probation LetterWe also know that managing staff can take up so much of your time.

So, HRwisdom has made things a little easier for you:

We have found for you a free download of an End of Probation Letter template to be used for an unsatisfactory employee.

You can download this unsatisfactory employment probation letter template for free. (Click here to Tweet this free download) More on this below.

We have also discovered a paid service which gives you all the staff management policy and procedure templates you need. To learn more, click here.

Due to the complexity and ever-changing nature of workplace law in Australia, HRwisdom often draws upon legal experts to provide high quality workplace relations advice through the HRwisdom Blog and through other methods.

You are encouraged to take good advantage of the resources shared on this site and to always be proactive when it comes to staff-management in general.

End of Probation Letter Template For Unsuccessful Employees

Just download the template, just login using your normal email address (no password required).

HRwisdom

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