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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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unfair contract, contract, consumer, small business, franchise, penalty, breach, consumer law, competition, turnover, legislation, unfair term, standard form, standard form contract, cyber hacking, cyber security, data collection, data use, data retention, data
07 Jun 2023

Unfair contract penalties increased to protect consumers and small businesses

Tougher penalties for unfair contract terms and consumer law breaches Legislation has passed federal parliament to increase penalties for unfair contract terms and breaches of consumer law. Maximum penalties for breaches of consumer law increase from $10 million to $50 million. (Please see Speech on the Treasury Laws Amendment (More Competition, Better Prices) Bill 2022, […]
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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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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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greenwashing, greenwash, consumer, ASIC, ACCC, environmental claims, green claims, green credentials, Santos, environment, net zero, clean energy, false, misleading, advertising
12 Jan 2023

Businesses warned against “greenwashing”

Businesses have been warned by corporate and consumer watchdogs about “greenwashing” and told they will have to be ready to substantiate any environmental claims they make when marketing their goods and services, or face severe fines under consumer law. ACCC actively targeting businesses that are greenwashing The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it is […]
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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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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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misleading advertising, deceptive conduct, customer, consumer, Trivago, Uber, Consumer Law, website, cost-per-click, breach, penalty
08 Sep 2022

Misleading advertising can be very costly

Some recent, high-profile cases have highlighted the significant fines for businesses found guilty of misleading advertising. The $44.7 million fine imposed on travel group Trivago by the Federal Court for misleading customers demonstrates that making false claims in advertising can be very costly. Trivago breaches Australian Consumer Law with misleading advertising The global hotel booking […]
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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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modern slavery, slavery, forced labour, child labour, Modern Slavery Act, anti-slavery, repay debt, fulfil visa requirement, forced marriage, slavery risk
01 Jun 2022

Response to modern slavery law disappointing, report finds

When the government brought in the Modern Slavery Act in January 2019, it was hailed as a critical first step by Australia towards tackling the global problem of modern slavery. The government proclaimed it would transform the way businesses respond to modern slavery by requiring companies to report on how they take effective action to […]
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independent contractor, contractor, employee, employer, worker, employ, Fair Work Act, contract, self-employed, benefit, entitlement, control test, payout, job security
31 May 2022

Independent contractor or employee? Why it’s a bit of a legal circus

Laws and their interpretation evolve over time, but few more quickly than the area of law dealing with the terms and conditions under which a person is engaged to undertake work for another person, or a company. Whether a person is an “employee” or an “independent contractor” can be a very vexed question. The answer […]
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electronic surveillance, privacy, productivity, boss, worker, employer, employee, work from home, Covid, pandemic, workplace surveillance, tracking, computer, camera, monitor, covert, technology
02 Mar 2022

Can your boss use electronic surveillance to monitor you when you’re working from home?

We know the boss can monitor everything we do in the workplace, whether they do it in person or via electronic surveillance. They can keep tabs on your computer use, time spent in the tearoom, smoko breaks and long boozy lunches. They can also track websites you’ve visited, chats with colleagues or phone calls to […]
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