FWC President Iain Ross's delegate has refused to refer to the Federal Court IR Minister Kelly O'Dwyer's "revolutionary" question of law as to whether the Fair Work Act allows indirectly discriminatory terms in agreements, while also flagging potential hurdles to her quest for a review of a new fire brigade deal.
A male worker and an employer that pledged to indemnify him after he was accused of sexual assaulting a female colleague have been ordered to jointly pay her $130,000 in damages for pain and suffering and for the company to pay a further $20,000 in aggravated damages, after it conducted a "trenchant defence" of the perpetrator, who took advantage of the young woman after she collapsed at work.
Employers should be subject to a stronger onus to prevent s-xual harassment under the existing positive duty to provide safe workplaces under OHS laws, while the Fair Work Act should be amended to include explicit anti-harassment rights, according to Victoria Legal Aid.
The FWC has told an employer that it must accept responsibility for a "suboptimal" workplace culture that it could have reset before sacking two senior wharf workers who verbally abused a female colleague, but it upheld their dismissals for behaviour that "crossed the line".
The FWC has approved a Melbourne fire brigade agreement after it accepted undertakings that override terms that hindered workers going part-time and allowed their union to block flexible working arrangements, while a challenge is still on foot to an earlier finding that discriminatory deals can still get up.
The operator of a multi-billion dollar offshore gas project is being sued for gender discrimination, a former employee alleging the company paid her less than men, refused to cover travel costs, and took adverse action by downgrading her duties when she made complaints in the course of her job.
The gender pay gap has dropped from 24.7% to 21.3% over the past five years but many companies are still harbouring an "action gap", with policies in place but no accountability for implementing them, says the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
Unions are continuing to embrace affirmative action measures to increase women's participation and ensure leadership reflects membership, the FWC this week approving ASU rule changes requiring a woman to hold at least one of three new leadership positions.
On the second of 16 days of FWC hearings into an IEU equal pay claim for early childhood teachers, the union is blaming low wages for a skill shortage in the overwhelmingly female-dominated sector, while the ACTU says the case will test whether the Fair Work Act's equal pay principle can deliver.