Our legal experts will keep you up to date on all relevant and current developments.

Work Health and Safety Duties and Dealing with Bullying in the Workplace by Non-workers

It is common for businesses (particularly those in the service industries) to experience bullying and harassment when interacting and dealing with complaints from customers and other non-employee workplace participants in the business. 

This can cause stress and anxiety for staff in the work environment.

These issues have come to the forefront as businesses continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing their own policies and procedures for ensuring a safe place of work - and also by ensuring that public health orders are complied with.

How workers can avoid statutory limits on damages: Employers have real risks of uncapped damages, but SIRA/ICARE policies may still respond (Leggett v Hawkesbury Race Club Limited (No 4) [2022] FCA 622)

The 30 May 2022 decision in Leggett v Hawkesbury Race Club Limited (No 4) [2022] FCA 622, handed down by a single Judge in the Federal Court of Australia, has highlighted numerous issues which give pause for thought – specifically regarding how employers should manage their risk, and how injured workers should bring claims for damages for personal injury.

Where an employer is exposed to damages for breach of provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 or other Commonwealth legislation (such as anti-discrimination law, as well as in negligence), the Federal Court is not restricted in the way it assesses damages by the limitations in the NSW Workers Compensation Act 1987.

With this in mind, employers within the NSW workers compensation scheme may be entitled to indemnity from Icare and SIRA if the breach of the Fair Work Act 2009 arises from an “injury” to the worker. 

The Court has made it clear though, that a worker cannot double dip - and must account for any state compensation received

Sexual Harassment Update in the Fair Work Commission

A recent decision of Deputy President Beaumont in the Fair Work Commission (Application by Ranmeet Kaur [2022] FWC 487) has examined the scope of the FWC’s power to make orders to stop sexual harassment which were introduced under amendments to the Fair Work Act in 2021.

The case examined both the jurisdictional requirements necessary for the FWC to make orders and the evidentiary requirements for it to be satisfied that a contravention had occurred, warranting the making of orders.

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