Workplace Helpdesk

This is one of the most useful benefits of your subscription to the Employment Law Practical Handbook. It’s a free service for subscribers and yours to use as often as you need.

Here’s how it works…

If you have a question and you can’t find the answer you need in your handbook, you can email our Workplace Helpdesk with your short query and get a response from our employment law experts within 72 hours.

Our team will give you the answers to all your short employment law queries, so you can be confident you’re getting professional advice to help you achieve the best possible outcome.

To give you an idea, here’s some sample questions the Workplace Helpdesk has fielded – and how our experts responded…

Question: When can an employee use carer’s leave? Does the employee need to be caring for an immediate family member?

Answer: Carer’s leave is available for employees to provide care or support to a member of their immediate family or household because of a personal injury or illness or an unexpected emergency.

The definition of ‘immediate family’ in the FW Act is as follows:

  • A spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee; or
  • A child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of a spouse or de facto partner of the employee.

Question: Can we legally ask a job applicant to provide their history of previous workers’ compensation claims?

Answer: You need to ensure that any information requested from job applicants or employees relating to health and medical conditions is genuinely required for a non-discriminatory purpose, such as meeting health and safety obligations or demonstrating the ability to perform the key tasks of a position. Otherwise, asking a job applicant or employee questions about previous injuries, workers’ compensation claims or their health could lead to a complaint to the anti-discrimination agency in your State.

Question: If an employee receives a pay increase and discloses the fact on Facebook, do we have the right to dismiss the employee? The employee did not reveal any monetary details.

Answer: Assuming the employee could access unfair dismissal laws, the breach of confidence may prove a valid reason for dismissal. This would depend on the extent to which it was reasonable for the employee to appreciate that what he or she did was a breach of confidence and would lead to disciplinary action. However, even if the action is a valid reason for dismissal, dismissing an employee on these grounds may still be found to be unfair if you do not give them the opportunity to explain the conduct and/or because it was a disproportionate response to the incident.

As you can see, the responses you get will be clear and comprehensive.