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Gladstone worker suspended for speaking with Bill Shorten

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Gladstone worker suspended for speaking with Bill Shorten

The facts

On 23 April 2019, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten campaigned at the Queensland government-owned Gladstone Ports. At a free barbeque, an electrical engineer told Shorten that “It would be good to see higher-wage earners given a tax break’’. Shorten replied with “We’re going to look at that”, a claim which appeared to be at odds with his policy of slugging those with above average incomes with higher taxes.

The electrical engineer was subsequently suspended when he was told he had breached his employment contract for speaking to the media, and his pass did not work the following day when he arrived for work. His desk was also packed up and the contents returned to him.

Relevant law

Section 351 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides that:

Discrimination

(1)  An employer must not take adverse action against a person who is an employee, or prospective employee, of the employer because of the person’s race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer’s responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin.

(2)  However, subsection (1) does not apply to action that is:

(a)  not unlawful under any anti-discrimination law in force in the place where the action is taken…

(3)  Each of the following is an anti-discrimination law:…

(c)  the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 of Queensland.

Section 7 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) provides that:

Discrimination on the basis of certain attributes prohibited

The Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of the following attributes—

(j) political belief or activity

Conclusion

By speaking with an elected politician running for Prime Minister who was attending an event at his work, the worker was arguably merely engaged in political activity and/or expressing a political belief. By taking adverse action against him, the employer appears to have contravened the general protections enshrined under the Fair Work Act 2009 as well as the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991. The employer’s claim that he was fired for “speaking with the media” at first glance appears to be spurious.

Given that he was not technically fired from his work, the worker may not be able to claim for unfair dismissal as he may not have been dismissed from his employment. However, given that he soon after found a new job, a claim for breach of a general protection under the Fair Work Act 2009 may not be worth pursuing if there is not a significant gap between what he was being paid with his former employer and what he is currently earning.

One can only speculate whether someone in the Labor Party (connected either with Bill Shorten or the QLD Labor Government) urged the employer to take action against the worker for causing political embarrassment to Bill Shorten.

Professor Peter Ridd wins dismissal case against James Cook University

Posted on Categories Human rights, Industrial relations, Liberty, litigation, Unfair dismissalTags , , , , , Leave a comment on Professor Peter Ridd wins dismissal case against James Cook University

Last year, Professor Peter Ridd was sacked by James Cook University after speaking out on issues relating to climate change research.

He took James Cook University to the Federal Circuit Court, arguing his termination of employment was unlawful.

Today, Ridd has won his case, with the Court awarding judgment in his favour:

“Handing down his decision today, judge Salvatore Vasta said that the 17 findings used by the university to justify the sacking were unlawful.

“The Court rules that the 17 findings made by the University, the two speech directions, the five confidentiality directions, the no satire direction, the censure and the final censure given by the University and the termination of employment of Professor Ridd by the University were all unlawful,” Judge Vasta said.

A penalty hearing will be set for a later date.

At a hearing last month, Professor Ridd’s barrister Stuart Wood argued his client was entitled to criticise his colleagues and the university’s perceived lack of quality assurance processes.”

This is a win for free speech and academic freedom.

 

Law firm partner sued for sexual harassment

Posted on Categories Industrial relations, Legal profession, litigation, Professional disciplineTags , , Leave a comment on Law firm partner sued for sexual harassment

Single Mum feared no job

The legal profession gets rocked by a #metoo claim.

The partner of the firm has at a minimum acted unprofessionally in this case and the implications for his career could be serious.

 

The pro-pedophile, out of touch ‘Human Rights’ Commission

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The Human Rights Commission’s decision to award compensation to a man convicted of child pornography offences shows that it is an out of touch organisation that sides with pedophiles over businesses.

Rosalind Croucher

The Australian ‘Human Rights’ Commission has courted significant controversy in recent years as a result of its decision to delay an enquiry into children in immigration detention until after the Liberal-National Coalition was elected in 2013, its former President’s repeatedly false and misleading evidence in Senate estimates and its failure to notify the students in the QUT case that a complaint had been made against them for 14 months.

The most recent controversy is the Commission’s awarding of compensation of $2,500 against bank and insurance company Suncorp for refusing to employ a man convicted and sentenced to 12 months’ jail in 2008 for accessing child pornography via a “carriage service” and for possession of child pornography.

To make matters worse, when applying for the role the man intentionally failed to disclose his criminal history.

If any organisation (other than the EU) typifies the foolish and dangerous worldview of the elites, it is the ‘Human Rights’ Commission. This organisation seems not to realise that people with serious criminal convictions usually are not of good character, particularly if they then try to deceive or mislead prospective employers as the man in this case did.

According to the Commission, a person convicted of accessing and viewing child porn should not be ‘discriminated against’ by employers when applying for jobs. On the other hand, students who complain on Facebook about being kicked out of an Indigenous only computer lab, and columnists and cartoonists who dare to express controversial opinions about Indigenous affairs should be sued, punished, dragged through the Commission’s Kaffkaesque processes and/or silenced.

This is precisely the sort of outcome we can expect more of if the ‘Human Rights’ Commission is given real power, or a Bill of Rights is ever implemented, as we warned some time ago. The ‘human rights’ of criminals, illegal immigrants and extremists will inevitably take precedence over the rights and interests of others.

JCU in Court for adverse actions against academic freedom

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Climate blogger Jennifer Marohasy provides an interesting report on Dr Peter Ridd’s case against James Cook University in the Federal Circuit Court. Ridd’s employment as an academic of the university was terminated in May due to him speaking out and defying a gag order imposed by the university.
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Lorna Jane’s comprehensive court win

Posted on Categories civil litigation, Evidence, Industrial relations, Negligence, Personal InjuryTags , , , , , , , 1 Comment on Lorna Jane’s comprehensive court win

Amy Louise Robinson was employed by activewear company Lorna Jane Pty Ltd between July and December 2012 as manager of Lorna Jane’s DFO store at Skygate near Brisbane Airport.

Ms Robinson claimed to have suffered a psychiatric injury from workplace bullying by Megan McCarthy (Lorna Jane’s learning and development manager) and haemorrhoids when lifting and moving heavy boxes of stock during the course of her employment.

Relevant law

Vicarious liability is a common law principle which imposes liability despite the employer’s not itself being at fault. The claim for psychiatric injury alleged that Lorna Jane was vicariously liable for the actions of McCarthy and also that an email from a former DFO store employee named Ms Maninnen which alleged ill-treatment of Robinson by McCarthy had put the company ‘on notice’ and that it had subsequently failed to investigate.
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Employee caught stealing alcohol ‘unfairly dismissed’

Posted on Categories Fair Work Commission, Industrial relations, Unfair dismissalLeave a comment on Employee caught stealing alcohol ‘unfairly dismissed’
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) is known for sometimes making unfair dismissal decisions which arguably are counter-intuitive and/or contrary to community standards and expectations. The following recent case, in which a Qantas employee was caught stealing and later lied about the stealing, is an excellent example.
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