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eWISE June 2019                                     
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eWise - June 2019

In The News

In June, WISE Managing Director, Vince Scopelliti will be taking part in the 'Vinnies CEO Sleepout'. He will be sleeping outside on one of the longest nights of the year in order to raise money to provide people experiencing homelessness, with vital access to food, accommodation and support services, such as counselling, employment and health

Your support and donations to his page would be greatly appreciated! 

In The News

This month, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) announced their priorities for the coming year, which will direct the agency's compliance work and enforcement outcomes. 

In the address, Ombudsman Sandra Parker outlined a stronger approach to enforcement. 

In 2019/2020, the priority industries and/or issues the FWO will focus on are:

Fast food, restaurants and cafes
Horticulture and the harvest trail
Supply chain risks
Sham contracting

Ms Parker highlighted that vulnerable workers are and will continue to be a priority for the FWO, along with matters of significant public interest

"We will use our new powers and publicly name employers who break the law to get the message out that it is not acceptable to underpay workers or deprive them of their entitlements. Employers who do this will get caught", Ms Parker said.

It was confirmed the regulator's Compliance and Enforcement Policy will be updated to reflect this new approach.   

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Uber Australia has had it's recent FWO investigation completed regarding its engagement of drivers. 

A large amount of evidence was examined, including drivers' contracts and log on/off records. It was determined that the weight of evidence establishes that the relationship between Uber Australia and the Drivers is not an employment relationship. 

As a consequence, the FWO will not take action against Uber, in relation to this matter. 

Ms Parker warned that this investigation related solely to Uber Australia and was not an investigation of the 'gig' economy more generally. Individuals with concerns regarding their employment arrangements should contact the FWO, who will continue to assess allegations of non-compliance on a case-by-case basis. 

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A recent childcare case in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has again highlighted the need for balanced workplace investigations. 

In November 2018, a child care worker was dismissed from the centre she work at, for allegedly threatening a co-worker, in front of a parent. In the FWC decision Commissioner McKinnon upheld the dismissal, but drew attention to the fact the inadequacy of the investigation risked a different outcome. 

The two main inadequacy concerns relate to how a staff member's personal out-of-work history is handled and subsequently used as investigation evidence. Secondly, how an investigation cannot have a short-sighted focus on the respondent, in that failing to investigate the behaviour of the other parties involved.

Fortunately for the centre, they were only reprimanded for their actions, however this could have been much worse. WISE regularly discusses procedural fairness and best practice investigation processes through our blogs and newsletters. The key considerations to ensure your investigations are sound include;

  • The respondent knows all allegations made against them
  • The respondent is given reasonable opportunity to response to the allegations (including the option to utilise a support person of their choosing in interviews)
  • Confidentiality is maintained
  • The investigator is impartial and considers all relevant evidence. 

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If you are interested in reading our blogs regularly they are released weekly on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn social media pages - simply search for WISE Workplace on your chosen social media platform.  


Performance Management vs Bullying: Where's the Line? 

By Vince Scopelliti

Employers often face a quandary in dealing with underperformers, and whether to place them onto a performance management program. 

It's essential that any such move can always be considered to be 'reasonable management action' in response to inappropriate behaviours or inadequate or unsatisfactory performance, and not simply a way of bullying an employee. 

Read the full article


What Should You Include in a Whistleblower Policy? 

By Vince Scopelliti

Whistleblower protections have been top of mind for many Australian organisations recently, following a number of changes to the law. 

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistle-Blower Protections) Bill 2017 is due to come into effect from July 2019. 

Read the full article


How to Deal with an Uncooperative Respondent

By Vince Scopelliti

When conducting investigations in the workplace, senior staff and human resource managers often have to deal with uncooperative respondents.

Understandably, this can significantly hamper the progress of the investigation.

Read the full article


Can Employers Investigate if Complainants Ask Them Not To? 

By Vince Scopelliti

One of the more difficult aspects of managing an employment relationship is appropriately dealing with complaints, both from the perspective of the complainant and the accused. This is made even more complicated when a reluctant complainant brings something to the attention of Human Resources or management, then does not want it investigated.

Read the full article


What's On


Conducting Workplace Investigations - Advanced (3-days)

Location: Brisbane
Date: 10 - 12 September 2019 

Location: Sydney
Date: 16 - 18 October 2019 

Location: Melbourne
Date: 12 - 14 November 2019 

Investigating Workplace Misconduct (1-day)

Location: Perth

Date: 29 July 2019 

Location: Hobart
Date: 13 August 2019 

Location: Darwin
Date: 16 September 2019 

Location: Canberra
Date: 19 November 2019 

For more information on Investigating Workplace Misconduct

Investigating Abuse In Care (4-day)

Location: Melbourne
Date: 23-26 July 2019 

Location: Sydney
Date: 6-9 August 2019 

For more information on Investigating Abuse In Care




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