HR Horrors and Australian Employment Law Update

Author Angela Franks
November 3, 2022

On Wednesday 22nd October, we welcomed back Cilla Robinson, Partner in Workplace Relations, Employment & Safety at Clayton Utz, for another edition of HR Horrors and Australian Employment Law Update.

The webinar covered key updates in the employment law space such as the latest Repect@Work amendments, including the introduction of the positive duty and what it may mean for an organisation, insights on the future of work in Australia following the Jobs and Skills Summit, as well as the ever popular HR Horrors, in the context of unfair dismissals, bullying, redundancies, and performance improvement plans.

Jobs and Skills Summit

Key focus areas of the 2022 Jobs and Skills Summit that were spoken about included enterprise bargaining, BOOT (Better Of Overall Test) changes, and flexibility.

“The current enterprise bargaining landscape is going to significantly change, and it will be an increasingly employee and union friendly landsacpe that employers will be forced to operate in.”

Fair Work Ombudsman annual report 2021-22

The report demonstrated that there has been a significant increase in the number of cases that the FWO had litigated, up 80% since last financial year (a record number of cases). The FWO recovered over $532 million in 2021-22.

“This is the warning to “get your house in order” as they are really cracking down on underpayments”

Repect@Work amendments

Since the release of the Report into the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces in 2020, which outlined 55 recommendations, there have now been some legislative changes to the fairwork act and discrimination laws.

In late Sept 2022, the Australian Government also introduced changes in the anti-discrimination and human rights legislation by way of the Respect@Work bill. Most significantly this bill creates a “Positive Duty” for employers to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and victimisation in the workplace.

HR Horrors

Some of the enduring HR Horrors that we are continuing to see include performance management, performance improvement plans(PIPs), bullying, and misconduct in the workplace. Cilla gives some advice on some of the common pitfuls than HR professionals face and how to help alleviate the horrors.

“Top Tips for Performance Improvement Plans(PIPs) – It’s so important to have rigour around formal and informal processes. Frequent and informal check in’s really do help, identify issues early.”

You can download the slides here and/or watch the recording below.

A huge thank you once again to Cilla for her time and expertise, and to all those that attended the webinar. We hope that you took away some new knowledge to help you navigate the world of HR and employment law.

If you have questions that haven’t been answered or want to discuss anything related to hiring and recruitment, please get in touch with our Frazer Jones team in Australia.

We look forward to bringing back HR Horrors in 2023.


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