The Federal Court has awarded an employee over $1.2 million in damages for his employer’s breaches of the Fair Work Act. This award came after the employee successfully sued the employer for over $600,000 in common law damages for a workplace injury.
“The FWC has held that an employer who refused to answer the calls, emails and text messages of an injured employee when she sought to return to work repudiated her employment contract and unfairly dismissed the employee,” writes Emily Harvey of the Maree Hayes v Austrend International Pty Ltd T/A Austrend Group (U2016/6469) case.
Quick advice on knowing when to report incidents, illnesses and injuries to WorkSafe NZ, “the penalties for not reporting are onerous. It is better to call WorkSafe, and be told that they’re not interested, than get prosecuted for failing to report”, writes the team at Hesketh Henry.
Learn from recent cases where “an employer can reasonably rely on the employer’s obligations under work health and safety laws to direct an employee, on reasonable grounds, to attend an IME” from Cooper Grace Ward’s Annie Smeaton and Sandra Barry.
“Not only is it a legal requirement to report all incidents internally and, when applicable, report them externally, it demonstrates to workers that the organisation takes safety issues seriously,” writes the team at Dibbs Barker’s People & Workplace services group.
This quick read from the Lander & Rogers team highlights issues with managing absenteeism in Australia’s workplaces. Importantly, it also teaches us some top tips on how to conduct a return to work meeting with employees.
Swaab Attorney’s Richard Ottley answers this question by first reminding us that “the default position with respect to medical certificates is that they are to be given the utmost weight and accepted, except in the most “unusual or exceptional circumstances”. This is a must read detailed Q&A on the ill and injured topic.
Alison Maelzer provides us with valuable insights on the topic of managing ill and injured employees. “The Employment Court pointed out that there is nothing wrong with employees on sick leave recuperating away from home,” she writes. But read what the Court does have an issue with.
Bell Gully’s Tim Clarke tells us that an investigation is “almost always required where the matter is complex”. In this ELM exclusive interview he informs us that “typically an investigation is required where there are allegations of a sensitive nature, such as allegations involving senior management, bullying or sexual harassment.”
Companies found guilty of breaching the primary duty offences in the OHS Act may have higher sentences imposed, given this more serious offence will now be outside of the available sentencing range for primary duty offences; read more with Sam Jackson of Sparke Helmore.