In a rare instance of a court imposing the maximum penalty under the Fair Work Act, the CFMEU mining and energy division has been fined $33,000 for unlawfully implementing its overtime policy at BHP Coal's Peak Downs mine.
"Employer smarts" about the Fair Work Act's general protections laws are increasing and are likely to make more of a difference than the High Court's ruling in the Barclay adverse action case, according to former Federal Court judge, Peter Gray.
An employee made redundant while pregnant has lost her adverse action case, with the Federal Circuit Court accepting a business downturn was behind her job loss, and rejecting her claim that her employer became hostile to her because she wouldn't commit to taking only six months parental leave.
The Coalition has largely succeeded in neutralising IR as a 2013 federal election issue by promising to retain – at least for one term – Labor's Fair Work framework, but Australia's two major parties are still going to the September 7 poll with some significant policy differences, including on paid parental leave, right of entry, and construction industry regulation. Workplace Express compares their IR policies and those of the Greens, whose future hold on the Senate balance of power is uncertain.
The Federal Court has found that BHP Coal took unlawful adverse action when it sacked two CFMEU officials for allegedly harassing and bullying a mine worker who had resigned from the union, holding the claims against them weren't made out and the company's actions were "inexplicably harsh".