||Issue No. 138||31 May 2002|
Interview: The Star Chamber
Politics: The Odd Couple
Media: Audiences Before Politics
International: The Off-Side Rule
Economics: The Fake Persuaders
History: Terror Tactics
Poetry: Food, Modified Food
Review: Spiderman Spins Out the US
Satire: England's World Cup Disaster: Star Hooligan Breaks Foot
Cole Suffers Credibility Crisis
Councils Armed To Drown Sweatshops
Bracks Crew Not Family Friendly
Waterfront Truth One Step Closer
Speedy Flow-On for NSW Workers
Star Sin-Binning Prompts Inquiry Call
New Chief Puts ABC Back In The Picture
Gravy Train Gets Richer For Max and Mates
Reward For Delegate Who Stood Up
Casino Workers Hit Mat Leave Jackpot
Drug Haul Sparks Security Warning
East Timor’s MPs Take Australia On
ACTU Officials Denied Visas Into Fiji
Commemorate 100 Years of Votes for Women
The Locker Room
Week in Review
In Defence of Latham
Swans A Pathetic Con-Job
Labor Council of NSW
Bracks Crew Not Family Friendly
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found the State Government indirectly discriminated against one of its workers by failing to implement a work plan that would have allowed her to retain her job while fulfilling carer responsibilities.
The worker, a full-time Hansard sub-editor, had asked to work part-time from home so she could care for her ill son. The Victorian Government said she could, but then failed to follow through with its plan.
The Tribunal found that by effectively giving the worker no choice but to continue working full-time, the Government had imposed an unreasonable condition on her with which she could not comply.
The decision was first made in 2000 but it was appealed in the Supreme Court on the grounds the Tribunal had not taken into account the impact of the decision on the worker's colleagues. It was remitted back to the Tribunal where it was upheld.
The decision is seen as a warning for employers to ensure they are adhering to their own family friendly policies.
But some unions are saying that while the decision can be seen as a small win for the worker, it does little to change general workplace practices enough to ensure it does not happen again.
NSW Labor Council's Alison Peters says the case still leaves the onus on individual workers to blow the whistle on bosses who fail to uphold their own policies but "most people just don't have the time and energy to go through all this".
The Hansard worker struggled for more than two years to get a final ruling on her case and ultimately lost her job. She has so far been awarded $161,300 but there is little assurance her former employer will act differently if the situation arises again.
A resolution passed at ALP State Conference attempts to put the onus back on employers by requiring them to submit in writing any reasons why they cannot fulfil their own family friendly policies. Another encourages unions to continue placing family friendly policies into agreements.
Peters says it is also crucial unions keep taking an active role in ensuring workplace policies are being properly implemented.
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