It is important that employers are aware of the changes to the
Fair Work Act 2009 that commenced on 1 January 2014.
Cooper Grace Ward's employment and workplace relations team has
prepared a brief summary of the key changes.
New workplace bullying laws
These new laws allow an eligible worker who is bullied at work
to apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order for the bullying
The Commission must begin dealing with an application made by a
worker within 14 days of it being received.
The Commission has broad powers to deal with the dispute,
making an order that the individual or group cease the
requiring ongoing monitoring of workplace relationships;
conducting a review of the employer's policies and
requiring the employer to provide ongoing education and
training about workplace bullying.
The Commission cannot order compensation or financial
When making an order, the Commission may consider any final or
interim outcomes arising from any investigation undertaken by the
employer, the employer's procedure for resolving a complaint or
any other matters the Commission considers relevant.
If a Commission order is breached, the party affected, a union
or the Fair Work Inspector may make an application to the Court for
a penalty against the contravening person(s) up to a maximum of
$10,200 per breach.
Changes to right of entry
Changes to the right of entry laws also commenced on 1 January
2014. These changes:
allow unions to use workplace lunchrooms for meetings where
other arrangements cannot be agreed between the union and the
oblige employers to facilitate permit holders' access to
travel and accommodation to remote locations not otherwise
The Commission also now has the power to deal with disputes
about the new accommodation and transport arrangements, as well as
about the frequency of visits to workplaces by permit holders.
Consultation about changes to regular rosters or ordinary
New consultation requirements now require modern awards and
enterprise agreements to contain a term requiring employers to
consult with employees about changes to their regular rosters or
ordinary hours in addition to the previous consultation
Winner – EOWA Employer of Choice for Women Citation 2009,
2010, 2011 and 2012
Winner – ALB Gold Employer of Choice 2011 and 2012
Finalist – ALB Australasian Law Awards 2008, 2010, 2011 and
2012 (Best Brisbane Firm)
Winner – BRW Client Choice Awards 2009 and 2010 - Best
Australian Law Firm (revenue less than $50m)
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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