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  Issue No 38 Official Organ of LaborNet 05 November 1999  




Labour Review

What's New in the Information Centre

By Neal Towart - Labor Council Information Centre

View the latest issue of Labour Review, our resource for students, delegates and officials.

In the Firing Line over Hiring

In the USA, employers have been held liable if they have not investigated the employee's background for a history of a tendency toward violence. This concept is referred to as negligent hiring. This can apply to off duty employees as well. The law in the USA has emerged from the old master-servant relationship, part of which holds that an employer has a duty to exercise ordinary and reasonable care in employment and selection of its employees.

Australian courts may well be prepared to extend the employers duty of care to cover such circumstances.

(Employment Law Update; newsletter 150, 15 October 1999)

Human Rights Decisions now Enforceable

Federal Parliament has finally passed the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Act. This was necessary after the Brandy case of 1995, when the High Court found that the Human Rights Commission did not have the constitutional authority to make enforceable decisions. This means that HREOC no longer has the power to conduct unconciliated complaints under the Racial Discrimination Act, Sex Discrimination Act and the Disability Discrimination Act. That power is now vested in the Federal Court. This is an improvement because previously people would have had to take proceedings to the Federal Court after getting a ruling from HREOC on damages (thus extra costs). Cost of bringing human rights cases to the federal Court will be limited to a one off charge of $50.00.

(Employment Law Update; newsletter 150, 15 October 1999)

Bullying in the Workplace

Paul McCarthy of Griffith University estimates that 350,000 Australians are systematically being bullied at work. The hidden cost to Australian industry could be as high as $3 billion.

He looks at what bullying is, showing that it goes beyond discrimination and includes physical and psychological abuse. Action is needed because of costs to those being bullied as well as the cost to economic performance. Suggestions for action are included.

(Work Alert; no. 17/1999, 22 October 1999)

Bullying: it's an OHS Liability

Employers can be held liable for employee bullying of co-workers. Peninsula Prestige Cars was fined $45,000.00. Company people, when faced with such situation are oftern shocked to discover what bullying has taken place, but ignorance is not a defence in these cases.

(Occupational Health and Safety Bulletin; vol. 8, no. 181, 27 October 1999)

Victimisation on the Rise in NSW

Victimisation complaints have doubled in NSW in the past twelve months, which is indicative of serious management failure, according to Chris Puplick, Anti Discrimination Board president.

(Discrimination Alert; issue 98, 26 October 1999)

All out at 50 for Australian Executives

Ageism is endemic across all levels of the workforce, with no senior executives employing over 50 year olds in executive or management positions, according to a survey by Drake Management Consulting. Banking and finance were the worst examples in the private sector with 81.5% of executives favouring 30-40 year olds. In government hiring, 90% favoured 30 somethings. Only in education was maturity valued over youth, with almost 95% favouring 41-50 year olds.

(Discrimination Alert; issue 98, 26 October 1999)

The Waterfront Dispute and the Economic Analysis of Law

David Ruschena

During the interlocutory stage of the waterfront dispute, the MUA sought an injunction to stop Lang Corp moving its assets away from Patrick companies. The case went before North J. and in his final summary, John Middleton QC for Patrick argued, that regardless of whether a conspiracy existed, the appropriate penalty for such actions would be a claim to damages, which in this case amounted to a redundancy payout and full payment of superannuation entitlements. North J. replied that such a position was tantamount to allowing the company to pay its way out of a breach of law. "if the rich and powerful can 'buy their way out of the law' then where does that leave the legal system".

(Alternative Law Journal; vol. 24, no. 4, August 1999)

Troubleshooter/Odco case reappears: Fox v Kangan Batman TAFE

The Full Bench of the AIRC has overturned Cmr Simmonds decision and found that the TAFE had the right to dismiss Ms Fox, and she could not claim unfair dismissal against the TAFE, because she had been engaged by a labour hire company, Advanced Australian Workplace Solutions (AAWS). By overturning Cmr Simmonds decision the AIRC has confirmed that companies who use the services of workers from Labour hire companies have no responsibility for those employees, even though they set the workers duties, hours of work and daily directions. The ACTU will appeal the decision.

(Industrial Relations and Management Letter; vol. 16, no 10, November 1999


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 38 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Peter Reith
We�ve fought him for the last four years, perhaps it�s time to try to understand him.
*  Education: The Boston Strangler
If the teachers' salaries "offer" had been any good, John Aquilina, the Minister for Good News Only, would have made the announcement and been seen to promote it.
*  Economics: Key Indicators
A new ILO publication provides real cross national comparisons which show that Australian workplaces rate very well on productivity, wages and non wage measures
*  Unions: Dili's Union Presence
The International Federation of Journalists� Safety Office for the Media in East Timor (SOMET) is conducting an investigation into the recent killings of two journalists in East Timor.
*  History: Maritime Dispute Records
A Joint ACTU � ASSLH project will identify and preserve as many records as possible arising from the 1997-98 Maritime Dispute.
*  International: Western Mining into Guns and Gold
An Australian mining company, Western Mining Company Limited (WMCL), has effectively won the support of the Philippines army in its battle with traditional owners in Southern Mindano.
*  Satire: Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene
Gay scientists today released a study which, they claim, at last identifies the �Christian Gene".
*  Labour Review: What's New in the Information Centre
View the latest issue of Labour Review, our resource for students, delegates and officials.

»  Reith : Directly Elect the ACTU President Too
»  Unions Launch Search to Fill Games With Local Workers
»  Public Servants Offered Quadruple Time for New Years Eve
»  If You Want to Protest - Dump the Preamble
»  Six Minutes To Clean a Classroom: Cleaners Draw the Line
»  New Labour Advisory Council Meets
»  Teachers Pay Site Doesn�t Give Full Story
»  Bankstown Students Win Union Support
»  Workers to Use AGM to Call Telstra to Account
»  Unions On Line Conference
»  Foxy Officials to Crash Backlot
»  POSITION VACANT - APHEDA, Union Aid Abroad.

»  Guest Report
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Piers Watch

Letters to the editor
»  Lines of Demarcation
»  Referendum? No Dam(n) Choice!
»  With Friends Like These ...
»  Get Real

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