Author: Editor

30 October: Workplace Relations Update for Executives On-the-Go

Fair Work Commission finds defriending on Facebook can contribute to workplace bullying facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS In this edition: Fair Work Commission finds defriending on Facebook can contribute to workplace bullying; More than $20,000 in penalties awarded for an employee’s $181 loss; and Gender pay gap measure proposed for Fair Work Act. Fair Work Commission finds defriending on Facebook can contribute to workplace bullying While defriending a colleague on Facebook won’t alone satisfy the threshold of ‘bullying’ under the Act, a recent decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) makes it clear that in addition to other, repeated unreasonable behaviour, it may contribute to a finding that bullying has occurred at work. In this case an application for a ‘stop bullying order’ under the Fair Work Act 2009, was made by RR, a real estate agent who alleged to have been repeatedly bullied by two superiors in her workplace, culminating in the ‘defriending’ of RR after a heated dispute between herself and the co-director. The allegations RR alleged 18 separate instances of unreasonable bullying behaviour experienced at work from November 2013 to January 2015. The FWC found that eight of these allegations were substantiated. They included: RR felt belittled and humiliated when she attempted to sign for a package at the workplace and the co-director aggressively said that RR was not to sign for parcels; the co-director’s deliberate and unreasonable delay in...

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Resilience, efficiency, innovation and fairness: The Federal Government responds to the Murray Report

facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS The Federal Government has issued its response to the final report of the Financial System Inquiry led by David Murray, which was published in December 2014 (the Report). The Government has accepted all but one of the Report’s recommendations and has created a timeline for the enforcement of key goals. The only recommendation rejected by the Government was the recommendation to prohibit limited recourse borrowing arrangements by superannuation funds. In addition to agreeing to the majority of the Inquiry’s recommendations, the Government’s response sets out an agenda for improving the financial system to achieve its commitment to the recommendations. Common features of its response and how to achieve change include: an increase in legislation across various sectors of the industry to enhance confidence and resilience including introducing a professional standards regime for advisers; revised mandates for regulators including expanding ASIC’s mandate to include competition in the financial sector; and multiple projects for the Productivity Commission. An increase in legislation, including the introduction of a professional standards framework for financial advisers will be beneficial to consumers but it will also increase the legal and compliance obligations of financial services entities. Five key priorities for its agenda The Government’s improvement agenda identifies five key priorities to achieve: the resilience of the financial system; the efficiency of the superannuation system; innovation in the financial system; fairness in the...

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Volkswagen’s Diesel Crisis: Are You Prepared for a Business Disruption-Related Risk Event?

facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS As the Volkswagen ‘diesel scandal’ continues to unfold, taking corporate scalps as it goes, its consequences starkly demonstrate the old adage that an organisation’s reputation can take decades to build but a moment to destroy. While Volkswagen’s crisis management response has been praised by some as a ‘textbook’ response, this praise is in the context of another scandal suffered by the company two years ago when its response was less satisfactory. The fact that Volkswagen has had two global crises in three years is a statistic that no organisation would like to be able to claim. And despite Volkswagen’s non-disastrous handling of the recent crisis, there is a consensus that significant reputational damage has already occurred and will continue to plague the company for years to come. The organisation’s handling of this ongoing global crisis is a reminder to all organisations to test their own Business Continuity Management (BCM) plans or, if they don’t have a Plan, develop and implement one as a matter of risk-management priority. The crisis In what some have called the ‘diesel dupe’ Volkswagen has admitted to cheating the emissions tests for 11 million of their diesel cars across the world. The German car giant developed and installed devices in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve emission results and bypass compliance...

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6 October: Workplace Relations Update for Executives On-the-Go

Tackling the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the workplace facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS In this edition: Tackling the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the workplace; The Fair Work Commission urges workers to make bullying claims through alternative channels; and Compensation for unfair dismissal reduced by one third due to ‘significant and repeated misconduct’. Tackling the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the workplace The Rugby World Cup is upon us again, and with it the endless speculation, celebration and commiseration that every major sporting tournament inevitably brings. Events of this scale almost inevitably intrude into the workplace, whether in the form of debate between colleagues, fatigue in the office the morning following a 1:30AM Wallabies match, or personal leave for the truly dedicated fans. As always, workplace managers should be mindful of the opportunities presented and risks posed by an event such as this. Respectful patriotism  Firstly, although the performance and quality of the various teams is a hot topic globally, these discussions must be kept respectful in the workplace. This is especially true given that the teams represent nations, and comments can be seen as insensitive or offensive to office members of different nationalities. Negative comments about a team’s performance are inevitable in such a large tournament, but comments that are unnecessarily harsh or directed towards a country as a whole are inappropriate. Managers should clearly outline what behaviour...

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21 September: Workplace Relations Update for Executives On-the-Go

Cyberbullying ‘at work’ and what it means for employers facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS In this edition: Cyberbullying and the workplace: do you have policies and training in place?; Employee’s child sexual offences justified school’s termination of employment Court of Appeal overturns $2.2 million Workers’ Compensation payout. Cyberbullying ‘at work’ and what it means for employers Recent research produced by Edith Cowan University in Western Australia emphasises the importance of employers taking a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to cyberbullying in the workplace and introducing training to help employees identify and manage cyberbullying if it occurs. The question is, when does cyberbullying occur ‘at work’? We previously wrote a blog on a recent decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) which has shed some light on how to answer this difficult question. In addition to the University’s research, that FWC decision provides some important guidance for employers on the steps to take to help address the issue of cyberbullying in the workplace. What is ‘cyberbullying’? The researchers from the University defined ‘cyberbullying’ as repeated acts of intentional aggression perpetuated by an individual or group against a victim using digital technologies and communication tools such as email, mobile phones, instant text messaging and social networking sites. Cyberbullying is a particularly insidious form of bullying because it can happen anonymously, at any hour, anywhere and reach a vast audience. The choice of anonymity afforded to...

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ASIC Fires Compliance Warning at Responsible Entities and Superannuation Trustees

Responsible Entities facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS ASIC has fired a warning to responsible entities (REs) and superannuation trustees highlighting various compliance issues following recent surveillance activities. Perhaps most importantly for REs, ASIC found notable concerns regarding: the adequacy of internal processes; failures to comply with established internal procedures; inconsistencies between funds’ governing documents and internal policies; and inadequate record keeping to demonstrate compliance with licensee obligations. Responsible Entities Taking a closer look at the RE sector, ASIC highlighted three key compliance concerns. Disclosure and Advertising Materials –  As part of its surveillance, ASIC found more examples of misleading or deceptive marketing materials. ASIC’s current focus on advertising materials seems to be a common trend across the financial services sector in general, although ASIC seems to think that the problem within the RE sector was exacerbated by the absence of effective controls over the authorisation and review of promotional materials. So, what is an effective control according to ASIC? In the first instance the regulator expects that licensees “develop, maintain and comply with documented processes”. These processes should include methods to review and approve advertising material to ensure that they fully comply with legal requirements and best practice. This sounds straightforward enough but the objective test of whether certain material is misleading and deceptive, coupled with the rapid expansion and availability of media tools used to communicate marketing messages (Facebook,...

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Financial Services Update: Fraudulent services provided by AFSL holder lead to tragedy

Fraudulant services provided by AFSL holder lead to tragedy facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS In this edition: Fraudulent services provided by AFSL holder lead to tragedy; Sustainable investments are more important than ever; and September is the last month for transitional arrangements for financial adviser register. Fraudulant services provided by AFSL holder lead to tragedy In June this year, the Executive Chairman of Oceanic Asset Management (OAM) David Jones and his wife Jeanette took their own lives leaving a suicide note admitting they had been defrauding investors for years. OAM holds an Australian Financial Services licence and is licensed to provide funds mangagement advice to wholesale clients. According to ASIC, OAM appears to have been operating a number of unregistered managed investment schemes. The Joneses ran Mulato Nominees out of the same office building as OAM, a company marketed as a ‘highly successful private investment company specialising in unearthing investment opportunities at the smaller end of the Australian quoted market, predominantly resources orientated’. The Joneses defrauded numerous UK-based investors who had put their life savings through Mulato Nominees and associated companies.  The local press reported that in the suicide note found at their home in Perth,  the couple said that they had tried to overcome the losses they had caused in the hope of a recovery, but this was without success and they could not live with the guilt and...

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24 August 2015: Workplace Relations Update for Executives On-the-Go

Fair Work Commission issues ‘stop bullying’ order facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS In this edition:  Fair Work Commission issues another (rare) ‘stop bullying’ order; ‘Repair, Not Replacement’: Productivity Commission  Draft Report; and  Employee unsuccessful in compensation claim following party held at    employer’s premises Fair Work Commission issues ‘stop bullying’ order The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has issued another of its very rare ‘stop bullying’ orders, a power it was given in January 2014, to make anti-bullying findings and orders. While the vast majority of claims made to the FWC are conciliated at an early stage, the few matters that have made it to a hearing have led to decisions which identify what does not constitute bullying within the FWC’s purview. The most notable of these is that the FWC will only consider matters where the bullying is still ongoing, and it is work-related. This new case appears to be a textbook illustration of what constitutes bullying.  It also illustrates the multi-pronged approach that the FWC uses to ensure that the bullying is stopped and does not recur in that organisation. In this case the parties have not been identified; their anonymity was agreed as the parties supported the outcome, it ensured their acceptance of the admission, and the anonymity was conducive to the resumption and continuation of ongoing working relationships between the applicants and the employer. The application There were two...

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Financial Services Update: Don’t be afraid of breach reporting

Don’t be afraid of breach reporting facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS In this edition: Dont be afraid of breach reporting; ASIC enforcement report; and New digital disclosure measures.   Don’t be afraid of breach reporting ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer has emphasised that financial services firms should not be fearful of reporting breaches. In fact, the Commissioner has said that ASIC understands that it is normal for a certain number of breaches to occur and therefore firms with an empty breach reporting log are far more likely to attract attention. It’s believed that recent media reports including those related to IOOF allegedly breaching their reporting obligations by not issuing warnings to senior staff, may be prompting some firms to under-report or to at least equivocate their logs. ASIC released further guidance on breach reporting in May to remind all AFS licence (AFSL) holders that they must notify ASIC in writing of any ‘significant’ breach (or likely breach) of their obligations under sections 912A and 912B of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) as soon as possible, or within 10 days of becoming aware of the breach or likely breach. The regulatory resource also clarified what a ‘significant’ breach was and which forms a licensee needs to fill out. Whether a breach is significant will depend on individual circumstances however factors which can help to determine that a breach is ‘significant’ include...

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New compliance standard: AS/ISO 19600:2015

facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS The ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management – Guidelines (ISO 19600) has now been adopted in Australia as AS/ISO 19600:2015 (AS/ISO 19600). The Australian Standard was approved on behalf of the Council of Standards Australia on 2 June 2015 and it was published on 22 June 2015. AS/ISO 19600 replaces the former Australian Standard for Compliance AS 3806:2006 (AS 3806) and should be considered to be the Australian and international benchmark for compliance programs. We’ve previously written about the origin of ISO 19600 and the motives for introducing a new compliance standard. That blog is available here. AS/ISO 19600 and ISO 19600 AS/ISO 19600 is identical to, and has been reproduced from, ISO 19600. The extent of duplication is evidenced by the fact that in AS/ISO 19600, references to the ‘International Standard’ have not been replaced with the words ‘Australian Standard’ and so readers are instructed to regard references to the International Standard as references to AS/ISO 19600. We have previously written about the structure and content of ISO 19600 and how it differs to AS 3806. That blog is available here. For a refresh, the key differences include: a new approach to compliance: whilst AS 3806 spoke of a compliance ‘program’, AS/ISO 19600 speaks of a compliance ‘management system’; new structure: AS/ISO 19600 refers to seven key themes each with multiple elements, compared to the four key...

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