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Perspective

Tumultuous Couple of Days in IR

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It was a pretty quiet at the FWC last week but some great new cases have come through, focusing on business and the right way to manage people. Also the US Supreme Court unexpectedly honoured some liberal legislation – a very positive outcome in a highly politicised Court under the Trump administration.

Importance of Procedures

An Under Manger of mine dishonestly made claims for overtime not worked (allegedly balancing up hours worked – he suggested a custom and practice), and was in clear breach of a procedure he knew about and understood he had to comply with. The FWC, in Westlake v Illawarra Coal made it clear he was a person in a position of trust who deliberately and knowingly breached a procedure for personal benefit. It was a obvious case of serious misconduct.

The three key lessons here:

  1. He held a position of trust and autonomy;
  2. He knew the procedure, knew he had to comply with the procedure and
  3. He obtained personal benefit by his breach of the procedure

Decision update from the USA Supreme Court

The Court upholds law that says it is unlawful to discriminate against a person with the LGBTQ under the Civil Rights Act 1964. It was a 6 to 3 decision with a stacked conservative bench  and with Justice Neil Gorsuch voting in the majority (a Trump appointed Judge).

Managing Impairment

The simple rule in impairment for employers is ‘don’t be bloody minded’. There is no win in doing what is obviously unfair. In Walsh v Hunter New England Health District, a nurse of 40 years work had acquired hearing impairment and had fitted a left ear cochlear implant and right hearing aidHer evidence, was that morning shifts were very busy an the noise made it difficult for her and night time darkness caused her balance issues. The Hospital obtained a neurologist advice saying she was fit for all duties but clearly the evidence for her was it caused difficulty, discomfort and stress. So when did the Hospital roster her? Mornings and nights. The NSW CATAEO division found for Ms Walsh. This outcome should come as no surprise.

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