Conduct and Performance

Do I Really Have To Do That? Are Employees Obliged To Do Everything Their Employer Tells Them To Do?

There is an implied term in every employment contract which requires an employee to comply with lawful and reasonable directions from their employer. Often, written contracts of employment will include an express term to this effect. The term goes to the core of the employment relationship. It gives effect to the right of employers to exert ‘’control’ over an employee’s performance and conduct at work. This includes the employer’s ability to dictate what the employee will be doing during their employment, how they will do it, when they will do it and where they will do it.

General Protections: Why Employers Should Take Heed

A claim for breach of the general protections, or as it is otherwise known, “adverse action”, is the lesser known of two predominant claims brought by employees in circumstances where their employment is terminated. While most employers are familiar with the threat of an unfair dismissal claim, fewer understand the risks associated with taking adverse action against an employee.

Managing Employee Bad Behaviour

Employee ‘bad behaviour’ is something most employers hope they do not have to deal with. For the most part, employees may not be suitable for the role, may perform poorly or the business just cannot support the role being performed anymore. These are all traditional and normal reasons for the resultant termination of the employee’s employment. However, most bosses find it challenging to deal with employees who are in breach of their employment contract or obligations because of their bad or inappropriate conduct. This article considers employee bad behaviour by examining the conduct that can get employees and their employers into trouble if not dealt with appropriately.

Managing Risk At Work Christmas Parties In The Era of COVID-19

As Australians emerge from lengthy lockdowns and are making their way back to the workplace, we are expecting a number of companies to hold their end of year work Christmas party as a way to reconnect their staff before the new year. In this alert, we explore the various ways employers can mitigate the risk associated with work Christmas parties and safeguard the business especially in the era of COVID-19.

Performance Management How To Do It Right?

This time of year is typically when both employers and employees buckle down for mid-year performance appraisals. It can be a stressful time for some for many reasons. From an employer perspective, performance management and annual or bi-annual reviews instill dread as managers are tasked with conducting individual performance reviews. However, despite the angst and stress that accompanies performance reviews, not much else is achieved as a result of the review, other than to tick the relevant box stating they have been done. This surely cannot be the purpose of performance reviews. It certainly does not constitute appropriate performance management and the consequence of failing to have hard conversations can be costly.

The Government’s Response to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s Report on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

We have written previous articles regarding the #metoo movement and sexual harassment and what this means in the context of employment law. Community expectations are rapidly changing in this area especially as the issues of sexual harassment and sex discrimination have come to the fore in recent times as a result of the increased media attention following allegations being aired about sexual assault and inappropriate conduct in our Federal Parliament.  Sex discrimination issues continue to garner political and media attention, with the lens of sex discrimination being applied to the treatment of Australia Post’s former CEO, Christine Holgate by the Federal Government.

COVID-19, Working from Home, Mental Health Challenges and the Office Christmas Party!

As we have covered in previous client alerts, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a raft of unique challenges for employers striving to maintain safety, efficiency and productivity, and employees who, perhaps for the first time in their working lives, are now consistently working from home. For many of these employees, feelings of social isolation have led to reports of anxiety and depression, and with the Silly Season just around the corner, this means some serious red flags for employers. In this client alert we examine some of the current difficulties, and projected difficulties that COVID-19, will have on employees, and how best employers might deal with them.

Working From Home: Some Insightful FWC Decisions

For many of us, working from home at least some of the time this year has become the norm. For quite a significant number of employees, working from home has become a regular and permanent (or at least current) way of working. We have written previous client alerts regarding the steps employers should take to ensure they are meeting their legal obligations if they have employees working from home. In this client alert, we examine some recent cases in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) which have had to deal with the legal implications when working from home, is not all its cracked up to be.

The Reasonable Notice Trap – The Importance of Written Contracts

As the nation begins to emerge from the COVID pandemic and businesses slowly recommence their ‘as usual’ activities, employers are understandably keen to return to commerce as soon as possible. No doubt, many sectors of industry were hit hard by the pandemic; industries such as hospitality, retail, travel and tourism, professional sports and the arts, and despite the welcome assistance of the Federal Government’s JobKeeper programme, in its various forms, redundancies were inevitable.

Managing the End of Year Christmas Party – and The Aftermath Pt2

Oh my gosh – that could not have happened! We hope this is not something the business is saying after the end of year celebrations. Unfortunately, all too often a form of this reaction is all too common. In our last article, we looked at various control measures an employer can put in place to minimise the risk of inappropriate behaviour of employees at end of year or Christmas events which, in turn, minimise an employer’s exposure to subsequent legal claims and possible litigation. In this, our Part 2, we look at management of the aftermath of the event and what practical steps can be taken to minimise an employer’s exposure where an incident has occurred.


The explosion of social media use over the years presents many challenges to the employment relationship. The use of social media has blurred the boundaries between work and non-work life. This has led to many employers having to deal with situations where employees have posted something in their private capacity on their own social media accounts, which has (or is likely to have) a negative impact on the employer.


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