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Workplace Relations Section Case Law Update: May 2019

Workplace Relations Section Case Law Update: May 2019

By Workplace Relations Section

Workplace Relations 

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The LIV's Workplace Relations Section monthly case law update provides members with a brief summary of relevant employment law and industrial relations decisions published in May 2019.

  • Fair Work Ombudsman v Zucco Farming Pty Ltd & Anor [2019] FCCA 1277
In this case, the Fair Work Ombudsman sought the imposition of penalties upon Zucco Farming Pty Ltd, which ran a stone-fruit farm in Victoria. Several Malaysian citizens, upon arrival in Australia, obtained employment with Zucco for $16 per hour on a casual basis performing farm hand work. However, Zucco recorded in their bookwork that the workers were paid $21 per hour. The court, concurring with the Fair Work Ombudsman, applied penalties for underpayment and record-keeping contraventions upon Zucco. Read here.
 
  • Jeremy Lee v Superior Wood Pty Ltd [2019] FWCFB 2946
This case concerns an appeal of an earlier decision whereby an application for an unfair dismissal remedy was dismissed. The applicant, Mr Jeremy Lee, was terminated from his employment at Superior Wood Pty Ltd. This followed his refusal to register his fingerprints with the employer as a way of scanning the start and end of his shifts. At first instance, Commissioner Hunt concluded that the termination was not ‘harsh, unjust or unreasonable’. However, on appeal, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission reasoned that the direction to register Mr Lee’s fingerprints was not lawful. This is because it infringed Mr Lee’s rights under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). The termination, therefore, was unfair. Read here.
 
  • Australian Workers’ Union v Chemring Australia Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 750
In this case, the Australian Workers’ Union sought relief in respect of disciplinary action that had been taken or threatened against one of its members, Mr Smith, by his employer, Chemring Australia. Chemring Australia is a manufacturer of military and marine pyrotechnics. It was alleged that Chemring Australia had breached, or was about to breach, ss 50, 340(1)(a), 346(a) and 346(b) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). The events leading up to the case involved Mr Smith’s employment being suspended, following his failure to observe work instructions when disposing of volatile waste materials. The application was dismissed. Read here.
 
  • SNG v Canvas Australia Solutions Pty Ltd [2019] FCCA 1155
The issue in this case was whether the applicant, Mr Sng, was an Australian-based employee within the meaning of s 35(2) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). Mr Sng was a resident of, and located in, Singapore However, he was employed by Canvas, a ‘national system employer’ whose registered office was in Sydney. Mr Sng’s employment was terminated mid-2018 on the grounds that his role had been made redundant. Mr Sng claimed redundancy pay, though Canvas counter-argued that Mr Sng was not an Australian-based employee. Consequently, Mr Sng would not be entitled to claim redundancy pay. The court concurred with Canvas. Mr Sng was engaged by Canvas outside Australia to perform duties outside Australia. As such, he was excepted by s 35(3). The application was dismissed. Read here.

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