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Sending an innocent emoji in a text message could land you in court, because the law could see it as a threat or an acceptance of a contract.
30 Nov 2023

How an emoji can land you in court

We often add an emoji to our emails and text messages to bring a bit of levity to otherwise dull communications, but beware – icons such as the thumbs up, smiley face or gun could land you in trouble with the law. Legal impact of using emojis An emoji is an image used in texting […]
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outsourcing, employer, employee, ground crew, Qantas, sacked, dismissed, industrial action, enterprise bargaining, Fair Work Act, penalty, restructure, workforce
23 Nov 2023

Qantas acted illegally in sacking 1700 ground crew and outsourcing their jobs

The recent unanimous High Court ruling declaring Qantas’s actions illegal in sacking nearly 1700 workers and outsourcing their roles is very significant, although possibly not for the reasons most people might think. Outsourcing as a strategy to avoid industrial action The judgment does not mean employers cannot reduce the size of their workforce by outsourcing […]
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return to the office, office, work from home, WFH, employer, company, employee, worker, productivity, employment, contract, disciplinary action, dismissal, workplace, flexible work, Fair Work Act
31 Oct 2023

Can the boss force you to return to the office?

While Covid lockdowns are a thing of the past, many Australians have subsequently opted to not return to the office. The latest statistics show that on average, city workers spend one third of their work week at home, with many working from home full-time. Companies introduce mandatory office days This leaves offices largely deserted, but […]
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non-disparagement clause, contract, unfair, term, clause, penalty, fine, breach, company, business, small business, big business, false, misleading, unconscionable, harassment, coercion, safety, cartel
29 Jun 2023

Beware the non-disparagement clause

Unfair contract terms can include non-disparagement clause Soon there will be 50 million reasons to be wary of the non-disparagement clause in contracts, as the federal government has increased penalties under Australian consumer law for breaching unfair contract terms. This can involve including a controversial non-disparagement clause in a contract, aimed at stopping people saying […]
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foreign workers, migrant worker, worker, employer, employee, exploitation, mistreatment, minimum wage, underpaid, underpayment, visa, working visa, temporary visa
22 Jun 2023

Tougher penalties for employers to protect foreign workers

The federal government is moving to protect foreign workers and new migrants who are at risk of exploitation by bringing in new laws making it a criminal offence to coerce a person into breaching their visa conditions. New laws to protect foreign workers Employers or agents who coerce migrants or foreign workers into breaching their […]
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AI, artificial intelligence, ChatGPT, regulation, law, hallucination, AI control, AI system, AI regulation, digital, technology, deepfake, National AI Centre
15 Jun 2023

New laws coming to curtail artificial intelligence (AI)

Lawyer’s use of AI program confirms its unreliability A New York lawyer was embarrassed to admit using artificial intelligence (AI) program ChatGPT when preparing his courtroom legal argument, after it was exposed to have cited several court cases that didn’t exist. When the judge and opponent lawyers couldn’t find the cases, the lawyer discovered ChatGPT […]
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21 Apr 2023

Guilty or not guilty – could computers replace judges in a court of law?

Weighing up the pros and cons of a case, discarding irrelevancies, assessing the likelihood of statements being the truth or a lie… it’s all in a day’s work for a judge in a court. But could computers replace judges, if programmed correctly? Could a computer weigh the evidence and decide whether the defendant is guilty […]
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13 Apr 2023

Shelf life of zombie agreements set to expire shortly

What is a zombie agreement? The term “zombie agreements” is used to describe ageing workplace agreements that will be declared deceased by the end of 2023. Fortunately, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be pursued and devoured by the living dead when you turn up for work. Any workplace agreement that was made before the […]
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workplace surveillance, surveillance, monitoring, employer, employee, Covid, workplace, Privacy Act, Workplace Surveillance Act, webcam, keystroke, screenshot
15 Mar 2023

Workplace surveillance and employee monitoring on the rise

British and US surveys have found that since Covid lockdowns, when many more people started working from home, the number of businesses that undertake workplace surveillance and monitor employees’ activities is estimated to have more than doubled. A UK Trades Union survey found one in seven workers said surveillance had increased since the start of […]
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human trafficking, slave, slavery, sex slave, sexual slavery, trafficker, human trafficker, offender, co-offender, victim, violence, coercive control, psychological control, isolation, sex work, passport, debunk, myth
28 Feb 2023

Human trafficking myths exploded

Hollywood movies tend to depict evil human traffickers as dastardly foreign men with big moustaches who kidnap or use unscrupulous trickery to lure unsuspecting women into a sordid life of sex slavery in far-off lands. However, a new study has exploded those common myths of human trafficking in Australia. Women often play leading role in […]
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facial recognition technology, FRT, facial scanning, biometric data, suspects, crime scene, passport, privacy, surveillance, police, facial recognition, human rights, freedom of assembly, unregulated, right to privacy
14 Feb 2023

Clear laws needed for use of facial recognition technology

Police and security services are making ever more use of facial recognition technology, which can identify individuals via CCTV by scanning an individual’s face and matching it to images held in a database. No dedicated laws in Australia for facial recognition technology Facial recognition technology (FRT) can be useful, but Australia does not have clear […]
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send troops, deploy troops, army, defence, conflict, armed conflict, war, war zone, parliament, cabinet, prime minister, governor general, Defence Act, military, Federation
09 Feb 2023

How does Australia decide to send troops to war?

Did you know that only one person makes the decision in Australia to send troops to fight wars? That decision may be based on fear of imminent attack, in response to a request for support from an ally, a first strike against a perceived enemy, or perhaps just to keep a powerful ally on side. […]
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illegal interview questions, interview, job interview, job applicant, candidate, discrimination, employer, employee, Fair Work Act, protected attributes, interviewer
24 Jan 2023

Are you hiring? Beware of illegal interview questions

Job interviews are daunting – you need the job, but it seems all the power lies in the hands of the company’s interviewer. It’s their task to elicit as much information about you as possible to see if you’re right for the job. However, there are limits to what prospective employers can ask you, with […]
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sacked on probation, sacked, probation, dismissed, unfair dismissal, employer, employee, employment, Fair Work Act, ombudsman, wages, entitlements, notice
10 Nov 2022

Can I be sacked on probation?

“Can I be legally sacked on probation? I thought I’d have to be caught stealing from the office, dodging work or really stuffing up an assignment, but no, I was fired for no reason at all. Is that legal?” Is it legal to be sacked on probation? The short answer is yes – you can […]
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business vehicle, criminal, record, tradie, fine, offence, camera, vehicle, sub-contractor, council
28 Sep 2022

Tradies beware – a business vehicle can have a criminal record

Often for tradies, an inescapable part of doing business – especially in the Sydney metropolitan area – is receiving fines for parking and related offences, and driving matters. However things are changing, and some tradies are learning the hard way about “full road-use recording of offences” – meaning, your business vehicle can have a criminal […]
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27 Sep 2022

Lying on your CV – it’s tempting, but don’t do it

When you are looking for a job and find one you really want or need, it may be tempting to exaggerate your skills, and unfortunately, some people end up lying on their CV. Is there anything wrong with lying on your CV? As the end of the year approaches, many school leavers start applying for […]
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right to disconnect, work, after hours, employer, employee, switch off, work from home, overtime, unpaid, enterprise agreement
13 Sep 2022

Should we have the right to disconnect?

France has done it. So have Italy, Ireland, Germany and Spain. Recently Belgium did it too. Now there are moves in Australia to do the same. We are talking about the right to disconnect from work after hours. Out-of-hours work contact increased during pandemic The phenomenon of employers contacting employees outside working hours has grown […]
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bad reference, job, employer, employee, employment, defamation, Defamation Act, qualified privilege, recruitment
02 Sep 2022

Can I sue over a bad reference?

You miss out on getting a job and later find it was due to a bad reference from the person you nominated to act as your referee. Referees are supposed to give a prospective employer a full and frank appraisal of their former employee’s work performance while they were employed by the referee. They should […]
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