Terminating an employment agreement

There are many reasons why an employer and employee may want an employment relationship to end.  If the termination of the relationship is at the initiative of the employee, and the employee resigns, there is usually not any significant risk to an employer that there will be resulting claims by the employee, but this is not always the case. In this article, we examine the manner in which the relationship can be terminated and the associated risks, and how these risks may be obviated.

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.

Redundancy in a COVID World

Australia has officially entered its first recession for 29 years after the economy went backwards in the March 2020 quarter. The ongoing impact of COVID-19 has continued to have a significant detrimental effect on many businesses across a variety of industries.

In addition, the upcoming changes to JobKeeper later this month will also result in some employers no longer receiving JobKeeper payments to subsidise wages. As a result, many businesses are considering their options to safeguard their business and reduce expenditure over the coming months.

Managing the End of Year Christmas Party – and the Aftermath

A quick Google search for career ending moves at the work Christmas Party may be an amusing exercise. However, at this time of the year it serves as a timely and educative reminder to both employers and employees that poor management, planning and behaviour can make the annual Christmas festivities, and their aftermath, a very sobering experience indeed. In our experience these events are notorious for being a potential breeding ground for inappropriate workplace behaviour and may put employers at risk of litigious actions such as sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination and unfair dismissal claims.

Ill or injured employees – what can employers do?

Can an employer terminate the employment of an ill or injured employee, who has been of work for sometime and is refusing or ignoring requests to attend independent medical examinations. Disability discrimination legislation allows an employer to terminate the employment of an employee where the employee is not able to fulfill the inherent requirements of the role as a result of the disability. However, the application of this defence is often difficult, as it means the employer needs to be sure by reference to compelling evidence (usually independent medical evidence) that this is the case.

Protecting the business when executives leave

The importance of the Senior Executives team for any business cannot be underestimated. They are ultimately responsible for the culture, performance and success of the business. However, what happens when a senior executive leaves the business. Have you considered how this may impact the business? What are the matters that any responsible business should consider in circumstances where a senior executive leaves?

Following on from our last article in relation to how to motivate senior executives, in this week’s article, we look at the factors an employer should consider ensuring the business is protected when senior employees wish to resign, or the business chooses to remove them.

Workforce Planning in a Slowing National Economy: A Timely Refresher on Change Management and Redundancies

With the Sydney housing boom slowing, in combination with a weakened Australia dollar and political instability as a consequence of the Turnbull government being ousted, it is no surprise that big corporates with large footprints in Australia are thinking about, and in the case of Singtel Optus (“Optus”), are in fact implementing significant restructuring and change management initiatives. As many of our readers would have seen in the news, Optus has announced plans to eliminate 400 local jobs in an effort to reduce its labour costs amid a more competitive landscape for telecommunications service providers in Australia.

Can you Dismiss an Employee by Phone, SMS or Email?

In a society where the use of technology including mobile telephones and computers has become so prevalent, it is no surprise that electronic devices are changing the way in which we communicate. There has been a growing trend where employees and employers now communicate almost exclusively via email or text message. As such, it is not unexpected that there are a number of employers who have terminated the employment of their staff by phone, text or email in order to avoid those hard to have conversations with their employees.


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.

Let’s Not Be Silly During The Silly Season

With the Christmas and New Year period upon us, many employers will be celebrating the end of 2017 with their employees. Whilst the 2016 comedy film “Office Christmas Party” is an extravagant portrayal of a Christmas function gone bad and which seems, in many ways an over-exaggeration of what really happens, in our experience these Christmas events are notorious for being a potential breeding ground for inappropriate workplace behavior. These parties and events may put employers at risk of litigious actions such as sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination and unfair dismissal claims.

Enterprise Agreements: How Do They Operate And How Can They Be Terminated?

For larger organisations, or employers who engage a multifaceted workforce, an enterprise agreement (“EA”) can be a very sensible and practical instrument to simplify the terms and conditions of employment for its workforce. It is not uncommon for employers to have a number of modern awards applying to their employees and thus creating complexity and administrative difficulties. In addition, as modern awards are not focused on individual businesses but apply across industry, many of the terms are often difficult and costly to implement and on the whole can be a challenge for a business to ensure compliance.

Termination of Employment: Key Learnings for Employers

The termination of the employment relationship is one of the most challenging and frequently litigated areas in employment law. Unsurprisingly, the first half of 2017 has been no exception. There have been numerous cases go before our judicial system which have raised nuanced, and in some respects untested questions of law to be determined. In this legal briefing, we provide a recap on three exceptionally informative and instructive cases for employers, each dealing in their own way with a unique and distinct issue in relation to termination of employment.


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