QLD EILS Seminar: Emerging Issues in Workplace Privacy


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Maurice Blackburn's Queensland Employment and Industrial Law Section delivered a seminar on Emerging Issues in Workplace Privacy on August 22, 2013. Topics included Surveillance in the workplace, Privacy Laws, issues surrounding social media and more.

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  • Employee was transferred from one project to another because of a safety breach.At the new worksite he was doing a lower level role, supervised by someone doing the job he was previously doing.Before he was allowed on site he was undertaking an inductionWhile that induction was taking place, the Project Manager called out to speak to the applicant.The applicant said that he was “loud and hostile” towards him. The applicant claimed that he “needed to protect myself from this man that appeared by his actions to have issues with my presence on the project” so he taped the subsequent conversation with the Project Manager.The project manager said he didn’t raise his voice in that discussion. Later the applicant disclosed to his supervisor that he recorded all his conversations to cover his arse and told him that he just placed his phone on the desk in meetings, pressed record, and the participants were none-the- wiser. He then played the recording of the discussion with the Project Manager to which the Supervisor was not a party.He then showed the supervisor his software program that could covert these recorded conversations to text and used an example of an earlier conversation with this supervisor. The supervisor was very unhappy the conversation had been recorded without his consent and reported Mr Thompson who was dismissed.
  • Dispute started in the context of long and protracted bargaining and the Applicant providing a HR document to which he had been refused access as part of his evidence to the Court. He was then investigated for using his access as the IT guy to get the document. As part of the investigation he taped
  • This is where the risk lies. The SDP didn’t even consider if secretly recording the meetings contravened the state law in relation to covert recording.She simply found that it was sneaky, inappropriate and deliberate misconduct. There may be a different answer in a situation less contentious in terms of the relationship but she did find that termination with notice would be appropriate for provision of the document to the court and secretly tape recording the meeting.
  • QLD EILS Seminar: Emerging Issues in Workplace Privacy

    1. 1. EMERGING ISSUES IN WORKPLACE PRIVACY Employment and Industrial Law Section Union Seminar Thursday 22 August 2013
    2. 2. Maurice Blackburn acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which we gather, and we pay our respects to elders past and present. 2
    3. 3. WELCOME  Part 1 - Surveillance and Monitoring in the Workplace  Part 2 - Privacy  Morning tea break  Compensation Entitlements for Serious / Terminal Illnesses and Diseases  Part 3 - Employee Information and Union Right of Entry  Part 4 - Social Media and its Impact on Employment 3
    4. 4. OUR HISTORY  Founded in 1919  Maurice Blackburn – distinguished lawyer and Labor member of Parliament.  Dedicated to worker‟s rights.  Defence of underprivileged groups.  Determined to make a genuine difference for people who need help  Fight hard for best possible outcome. 4
    5. 5. OUR SERVICES  Employment & Industrial Law  WorkCover  Road Accident Injuries  Medical Negligence  Asbestos Diseases  Superannuation & Disability Insurance  Public Liability  Faulty Products  Comcare  Will Disputes 5
    6. 6. OUR OFFICES 6
    7. 7. Kamal Farouque, Principal Emma Thornton, Associate PART 1: SURVEILLANCE DEVICES
    8. 8.  Surveillance Devices  Use of tracking devices  Use of listening devices  Use of optical surveillance devices  Implications for employment relationship by secret use of surveillance devices CONTENTS 8
    9. 9. SURVEILLANCE LAWS IN QLD  Queensland relies generally on the common law regarding surveillance issues.  There is no legislation limiting surveillance in this state.  The trend of the Courts has been to favour the interests of employers over employees.  The employer‟s power to command and the employee‟s duty to obey reasonable and lawful directions provides a mechanism for the common law to justify surveillance.  From the perspective of the common law of employment there is no reason in principle why surveillance should be distinguished from human supervision.  The legal right to command would have no practical utility without the power to survey. 9
    10. 10. USE OF TRACKING DEVICES AND VIDEO SURVEILLANCE - VICTORIA There is no legislation in Qld similar to that in Victoria or New South Wales.  Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic)  Prevents the installation, use or maintenance of a tracking device to determine the geographical location of a person without the express or implied consent of that person;  Express or implied consent requires notification that the device is present and driving the vehicle, or knowledge that device is present and then driving the vehicle.  Prohibition on installation, use or maintenance of a optical surveillance device to record or observe a private activity to which a person is not a party without express or implied consent of each party. 10
    11. 11. USE OF TRACKING DEVICES AND VIDEO SURVEILLANCE “Private activity” is an activity carried on in circumstances that may reasonably be taken to indicate that the parties to it desire to be observed only by themselves but does not include: a) Activity carried on outside a building b) Activity carried on in circumstances in which the parties ought reasonably to expect that it may be observed by someone else 11
    12. 12. USE OF TRACKING DEVICES AND VIDEO SURVEILLANCE - NEW SOUTH WALES  New South Wales has legislation to control the issue of video surveillance in the workplace – Workplace Surveillance Act 2005.  This act requires:  Employees to be notified in writing of: (a) the kind of surveillance (camera, computer or tracking) prior to commencing work (b) how the surveillance will be carried out, and (c) when the surveillance will start, and (d) whether the surveillance will be continuous or intermittent, and (e) whether the surveillance will be for a specified limited period or ongoing. 12
    13. 13. USE OF TRACKING DEVICES AND VIDEO SURVEILLANCE  Camera surveillance of an employee must not be carried out unless:  cameras used for the surveillance are clearly visible in the place where the surveillance is taking place  and signs notifying people that they may be under surveillance in that place are clearly visible at each entrance to that place.  Tracking surveillance of an employee that involves the tracking of a vehicle or other thing must not be carried out unless there is a notice clearly visible on the vehicle or other thing indicating that the vehicle or thing is the subject of tracking surveillance.  An employer must not carry out any surveillance of an employee of the employer in any change room, toilet facility or shower or other bathing facility at a workplace. 13
    14. 14. USE OF TRACKING DEVICES AND VIDEO SURVEILLANCE  An employer must not carry out, or cause to be carried out, surveillance of an employee of the employer using a work surveillance device when the employee is not at work for the employer unless the surveillance is computer surveillance of the use by the employee of equipment or resources provided by or at the expense of the employer.  An employer must not carry out, or cause to be carried out, covert surveillance of an employee while the employee is at work for the employer unless the surveillance is authorised by a covert surveillance authority. An employer to apply to a Magistrate for the authority.  A covert surveillance authority that is issued to an employer or authorises the covert surveillance generally of any employees while at work for the employer but only for the purpose of establishing whether or not one or more particular employees are involved in any unlawful activity while at work for the employer. 14
    15. 15. USE OF TRACKING DEVICES AND VIDEO SURVEILLANCE - ACT  Workplace Privacy Act 2011 (ACT)  No surveillance in change rooms, toilets, bathrooms, first aid rooms, sick bay, parents room, prayer room.  Employers to notify employees of surveillance (optical and data surveillance) or seek Magistrate approval for covert surveillance – necessary to detect unlawful activity  Same for video, tracking devices and data surveillance as NSW.  Limited rights for workers to access data held on them by the employer.  Employers prohibited from surveillance when the employee not in the workplace except when employee is using employer provided computer resources, where a tracking device is in place that cannot be removed or the employer is a law enforcement agency. 15
    16. 16. SURVEILLANCE LAWS IN QLD  Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld) includes surveillance in the workplace as an industrial matter – dispute options for state system employees.  Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) regulates collection, handling and access to personal information in the Government‟s possession. 16
    17. 17. SURVEILLANCE LAWS IN QLD  Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) – misdemeanour for a person to visually record or observe a person performing a private act or in a private place without consent or where the recording is made with the purpose of observing the person performing a private act (toileting, showering, intimate sexual activity and people in part undress.)  Law enforcement is an exemption.  Penalty is maximum 2 years imprisonment.  A person who distributes prohibited visual recordings without consent also commits a misdemeanour, with the same maximum penalty. 17
    18. 18. COMPUTER SURVEILLANCE  Workplace Surveillance Act NSW says this surveillance is not authorised unless it is carried out in accordance with the employer‟s policy and the employee has been notified in advance in such a way that it is reasonable to assume the employee knows and understand the policy.  Office of the Information Commission has published guidelines on workplace email, web browsing and privacy. 18
    19. 19. USE OF TRACKING DEVICES AND SURVEILLANCE  Industrial responses may include:  Clauses in EBAs to regulate the use of tracking devices and other surveillance and the purposes for which information may be used  Consultation, no extra claims and dispute resolution clauses 19
    20. 20. USE OF LISTENING DEVICES  Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Cth) (Interception Act)  Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 (Qld) 20
    21. 21. USE OF LISTENING DEVICES – INTERCEPTION ACT  Interception Act  Prohibits the interception of communications passing over a telecommunications systems  Four elements  Listening to or recording, by any means  A communication (speech, sounds, date, text, images, signals)  In its passage over a telecommunications system  Without the knowledge of the person making the communication 21
    22. 22. USE OF LISTENING DEVICES  Covered by Part 4 of the Invasion of Privacy Act 1971  S43(1): a person is guilty of an offence against this Act if the person uses a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a private conversation 22
    23. 23. USE OF LISTENING DEVICES  Penalty:  Up to 2 years in prison or;  40 penalty units = $4,000  Exception:  s43(2)(a) Where the person using the listening device is a party to the private conversation; or  S43(2)(b) The conversation is unintentionally overheard by means of a telephone 23
    24. 24. USE OF LISTENING DEVICES What is a private conversation?  Any words spoken by one person to another person in circumstances that indicate that those persons desire the words to be heard or listened to only by themselves or themselves and some other person but not circumstances where either person ought reasonably to expect the words may be overheard, recorded, monitored or listened to by some other person. 24
    25. 25. USE OF LISTENING DEVICES  Definition of “private conversation” has a subjective and objective test  Subjective test: Parties must hold a desire for the conversation to be heard by themselves and that the desire is reasonable  Objective test: Private conversation does not include circumstances in which the parties to it ought reasonably to expect that it may be overheard by someone else 25
    26. 26. USE OF LISTENING DEVICES  If you record the information, as a party to the conversation, what can you do with it?  Can‟t communicate or publish the contents to any other person (either the recording or a transcript) unless (s45(2)):  You have the consent of all the parties to a conversation; or  In the course of legal proceedings – civil or criminal before any court, proceedings before any tribunal in which evidence is or may be given and in any part of these proceedings; or  Is not more than is reasonably necessary in the public interest or for the protection of lawful interests of that person.  An offence to publish if it doesn‟t fit these criteria 26
    27. 27. USE OF LISTENING DEVICES  If the evidence of a private conversation has been unlawfully obtained, evidence of the recorded conversation may not be given in any civil or criminal proceedings. (s46)  A person is guilty of an offence if they publish or communicate a private conversation that they have become aware of because of a recording and they were not party to that conversation.  But even if a person, party to a private conversation in the workplace, lawfully records the information it may result in other issues for the employment relationship. 27
    28. 28. EVIDENCE ACT (CTH)  S138 (1): Evidence that is obtained: a) Improperly or in contravention of an Australian law; or b) In consequence of an impropriety or of a contravention of an Australian law;  is not to be admitted unless the desirability of admitting the evidence outweighs the undesirability of admitting evidence that has been obtained in the way in which the evidence was obtained. 28
    29. 29. EVIDENCE ACT (CTH) (3) Without limiting the matters that the court may take into account under subsection (1), it is to take into account: a) the probative value of the evidence; and b) the importance of the evidence in the proceeding; and c) the nature of the relevant offence, cause of action or defence and the nature of the subject-matter of the proceeding; and d) the gravity of the impropriety or contravention; and e) whether the impropriety or contravention was deliberate or reckless; and f) whether the impropriety or contravention was contrary to or inconsistent with a right of a person recognised by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; g) whether any other proceeding (whether or not in a court) has been or is likely to be taken in relation to the impropriety or contravention; and h) the difficulty (if any) of obtaining the evidence without impropriety or contravention of an Australian law. 29
    30. 30. RECORDINGS IN EVIDENCE  The argument has been tried at FWC that as rules of evidence do not strictly apply that evidence obtained by way of unlawful or covert recordings should be admitted  The argument hasn‟t got very far 30
    31. 31. SECRET USE OF SURVEILLANCE DEVICES  Secret use of surveillance devices by employer or employee, may constitute conduct which breaches the implied term of trust and confidence (even if the conduct did not breach Invasion of Privacy Act).  FWC or Court has discretion to admit evidence (even if illegally obtained) but may exclude such evidence  Obligation to discover documents in any Court discovery process 31
    32. 32. SECRET USE OF SURVEILLANCE DEVICES THOMPSON v JOHN HOLLAND  See Daran Thompson v John Holland Group Pty Ltd [2012] FWA 10363 (Williams C):  Employee secretly taped meeting with managers  Employee played recording of meeting to another co-worker  Evidence Act provides general guidance 32
    33. 33. THOMPSON v JOHN HOLLAND  Conduct was held to be a valid reason for termination:  breached WA State legislation (no secret recordings even by parties to the conversation) and following earlier authority should not be admitted.  This separate breaches of the WA legislation – making the recording and replaying to a third party were each sufficient on their own to warrant his termination. 33
    34. 34. THOMPSON vJOHN HOLLAND  Regardless:  Non consensual taping and playing of tape was held to breach code of ethics of the employer (employees to act with integrity towards each other) and relationship of trust with other employees.  This in turn caused the relationship of trust and confidence between the applicant and the employer was destroyed by the Applicant‟s actions.  Applicant failed to provide evidence of any lawful interest of his that he was protecting by making and replaying the secret recording (because he did not make out that the project manager was threatening his employment. The conversation did not have the potential to affects his lawful interests). 34
    35. 35. SECRET USE OF SURVEILLANCE DEVICES LEVER v ANSTO  Ron Lever v Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation [2009] AIRC 784 (Drake SDP)  Long and difficult dispute between the union delegate and the employer.  Investigation into misconduct – applicant secretly recorded disciplinary meetings and was terminated, in part, because of it. 35
    36. 36. LEVER V ANSTO  Secretly taping the disciplinary meeting was misconduct which was a valid reason for his termination.  Applicant knew the employer would be outraged if he asked to tape record the meetings. He knew that it was objectively inappropriate.  Secretly recording the meetings was deliberate misconduct. 36
    37. 37. LEVER v ANSTO Lever v ANSTO [2009] AIRC 784 (Drake SDP)  [103] Applying ordinary Australian community standards I do not accept that any employee or any employer would be content to have any meeting they were attending secretly tape recorded. The ordinary conduct of personal, business and working relationships in our community is predicated on the basis that if there is to be any record of a meeting it will be agreed in advance. Anything else is quite properly described as sneaky. Its very sneakiness makes it abhorrent to ordinary persons dealing with each other in a proper fashion. 37
    38. 38. SECRET USE OF SURVEILLANCE DEVICES WINTLE v RUC  Wintle v RUC Cementation Mining Contractors Pty Ltd (No. 3) FCCA 694, 12 July 2013 (Lucev J, Federal Circuit Court).  Recording made inadvertantly  Both parties consented  Considering the Evidence Act: even if the recording has been obtained improperly or in consequence of an impropriety, or in contravention of a law, the desirability of it being admitted outweighed exclusion because:  It is the best evidence available of what occurred  An actual recording is likely to assist significantly with the question in issue regarding undue influence or pressure exerted 38
    39. 39. SECRET USE OF SURVEILLANCE DEVICES HASLAM v FAZCHE PTY LTD  Haslam v Fazche Pty Ltd t/as Integrity New Homes [2013] FWA 5593, 12 August 2013 (Wilson C).  2 recordings were made of 2 meetings between the applicant and her managers, and were made without the knowledge of the managers.  Held:  Evidence Act is relevant, but to be considered within the context of the Fair Work Act.  The recordings were made in contravention of the relevant SA legislation (Listening and Surveillance Devices Act 1972) because they were made without the knowledge of the managers. 39
    40. 40. HASLAM v FAZCHE PTY LTD  The recordings were made improperly or in contravention of an Australian law  The recordings will unlikely determine the Applicant‟s claims  Therefore, desirability of admitting the evidence does not outweigh the undesirability of admitting it – recordings not to be admitted. 40
    41. 41. Kamal Farouque, Principal Emma Thornton, Associate PART 2: PRIVACY
    42. 42. PRIVACY ACT 1988 (CTH)  The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) gives effect to Australia‟s agreement to implement guidelines surrounding protection of privacy and trans-border flows of personal data adopted in 1980 by the OECD as well as our obligations under Art 17 of International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.  It regulates the collection, disclosure and use of personal information.  The Act operates by the use of 11 Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) and 10 National Privacy Principles (NPPs).  The IPPs are somewhat limited in their application because they apply only to Commonwealth government agencies and government agencies of the ACT. 42
    43. 43. PRIVACY ACT 1988 (CTH)  The Act operates by the use of 11 Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) and 10 National Privacy Principles (NPPs).  The IPPs apply only to Commonwealth government agencies and government agencies of the ACT.  The NPPs are broader in their provision. They apply parts of the private sector except “small business operators”  NPP 1: Collection  NPP 2: Use and disclosure  NPPs 3–4: Information quality and security  NPP 5: Openness  NPP 6: Access and correction  NPP 7: Identifiers  NPP : Anonymity  NPP 9: Trans border data flows  NP 10: Sensitive information 43
    44. 44. PRIVACY ACT 1988 (CTH)- EXEMPTIONS  The Privacy Act is limited in its relevance to employees for the following reasons:  Acts or practices by a private organisation that is or was an employer, in relation to ‘employee records’, are exempted from the Act‟s operation if the acts or practices directly relate to a current or former employment relationship.  Employee records‟ is broadly defined under the Act: "employee record", in relation to an employee, means a record of personal information relating to the employment of the employee. The Act sets out a long list of examples:  Record of engagement, training, disciplining, resignation, termination of the employee  Terms and conditions of employment  Contact details  Performance or conduct, hours of work, pay, union membership, leave, taxation, banking or superannuation.  Privacy Act does not apply to a Small Business Operator ie a business with an annual turnover of $3million or less 44
    45. 45. PRIVACY ACT 1988 (CTH) – AMENDMENTS  The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 was passed in 2012. The Act will commence on 12 March 2014  The Act includes a set of new, harmonised, privacy principles that will regulate the handling of personal information by both Australian government agencies and businesses. These new principles are called the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).The APPs will replace the National Privacy Principles and Information Privacy Principles  While these reforms streamline the Act, the amendments do not alter the exemptions which limit this act from having broad applicability to the employment context. 45
    46. 46. INFORMATION PRIVACY ACT 2009 (QLD) • Regulates the collection and handling of personal information in the public sector • 11 IPPs apply to public sector agencies generally • 9 NPPs apply to Queensland Health • QLD IPPs and NPPs closely mirror Commonwealth IPPs and NPPs • no employee records exemption • Complaints for breaches of NPPs and IPPs are made to the agency, if unresolved the Information Commissioner and ultimately to QCAT 46
    47. 47. OTHER OBLIGATIONS  Privacy obligations may arise under contract of employment or EBA  Contract of employment (mutual trust and confidence term)  Emerging Tort of Privacy  Law Reform to improve obligations? 47
    49. 49. WHO DO WE ACT FOR?  Employed workers  Sub-contractors  Self-employed workers  Spouses and other family members  Dependants  Home renovators  Estates / Executors  Retirees/Pensioners 49
    50. 50. WHO CAN MAKE A CLAIM?  Not limited to workers  Not limited to those exposed in QLD, Vic or NSW  Not limited to those exposed in Australia  Those who are retired or perform home duties 50
    51. 51. WHO DO WE CLAIM AGAINST?  Employers / Head contractors  Manufacturers / producers of carcinogenic products (including asbestos)  Owners / occupiers of premises  Workers‟ compensation insurers  Public liability insurers  Both Australian and overseas insurers 51
    52. 52. THE QUEENSLAND POSITION  → Statutory (WorkCover Qld or self-insurer)  → Common law (Queensland Courts)  In Qld, there are 2 avenues of compensation available to sufferers of latent onset/terminal diseases:  WorkCover Qld (or self insurer e.g.. Qld Rail) – Statutory insurers governed by the respective workers‟ compensation legislation in Qld  District or Supreme Courts – general Courts not specifically geared for asbestos/terminal illness claims 52
    53. 53. QUEENSLAND TIME LIMITS  Workers‟ compensation claims  6 months from date of diagnosis or death (if no earlier diagnosis) – all latent onset claims  Can extend in limited circumstances but no ongoing treatment costs  Common law (negligence) claims  Dust related conditions - No time limit but must be filed within lifetime otherwise vast majority of entitlements extinguished  Non-dust related conditions - 12 months from date of diagnosis or becoming aware of material fact of a decisive character – still need to be filed within lifetime 53
    54. 54. DUST-RELATED CONDITIONS  Aluminosis  Asbestosis  Asbestos induced carcinoma  Asbestos related pleural disease  Bagassosis  Berylliosis  Byssinosis  Coal dust pneumoconiosis  Farmers‟ lung  Hard metal pneumoconiosis  Mesothelioma 54
    55. 55. DUST RELATED CONDITIONS (CONT.)  Silicosis  Silicotuberculosis  Talcosis  Any other pathological condition of the lung, pleura or peritoneum attributable to dust  Does not include illness related to tobacco
    56. 56. WHAT IS ASBESTOS?  Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals  Used for:  Building products;  Piping;  Insulation materials;  Brake lining and;  Other friction products. 56
    57. 57. ASBESTOS DISEASES  Since 1945 about 7,000 Australians have died from mesothelioma  This figure is expected to rise to 18,000 by 2020  More than 700 deaths per year in Australia from mesothelioma alone  Other asbestos related cancers may cause between 30 and 40,000 deaths by 2020 57
    58. 58. ASBESTOS DISEASES  Asbestosis  Asbestos related lung cancer  Mesothelioma  Asbestos Related Pleural Disease (ARPD)  Pleural plaques 58
    59. 59. PEOPLE MOST LIKELY TO DEVELOP ASBESTOS RELATED DISEASE  Asbestos miners  Asbestos product manufacturers  Maritime workers  Carpenters  Plumbers  Electricians  Motor mechanics  Recent trends (bystander exposure) such as home renovations, washing overalls covered with asbestos  Future trends … DIY home renovators/removal of floorings 59
    60. 60. COMMON LAW DAMAGES  General damages for the pain and suffering of the victim as a result of their illness  Loss of expectation of life  Past and future out of pocket expenses  Cost of domestic assistance provided by family members – if family provide care – plaintiff can claim – thresholds apply  Gratuitous care – provided by the plaintiff – if the victim was helping family members, child care etc., the plaintiff can claim at commercial rates – thresholds apply  Past and future economic loss  Past and future superannuation entitlements  Medical care costs, including palliative care 60
    61. 61. RECENT CASES  Amaca Pty Ltd v King [2011] VSCA 447  62 year old former machinist  Performed repair work at factory owned and operated by James Hardie & Coy in Welshpool WA  Jury awarded $1,150,000 (including $760,000 for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life)  Supreme Court of Victoria upheld decision  High Court refused leave to appeal 61
    62. 62. RECENT CASES  Mario Perez v The State of New South Wales  68 year old former diesel fitter  Employed as a diesel fitter for the Urban Transport Authority from 1978 to 1988 at Chullora Bus Depot  Exposed to asbestos engine gaskets, as well as asbestos dust during the removal of the depot‟s roof 62
    63. 63. RECENT CASES •Mario Perez v The State of New South Wales •Provided care and domestic services for: infant grandsons; granddaughters; wife •Dust Diseases Tribunal awarded $1,318,506.24 •Defendant appealed •Expedited hearing in court of appeal – heard 8/5/2013 •Rehearing in DDT – heard on 9 June 2013 •Currently waiting on outcome of rehearing by DDT Judge 63
    64. 64. SUPERANNUATION AND DISABILITY INSURANCE CLAIMS  What is Superannuation?  Superannuation has been compulsory since 1992  Almost everyone in the workforce has had superannuation at some stage  Employer currently pays minimum 9.25% of salary into a super fund (increasing to 12% by 2020) 64
    65. 65. DEATH BENEFITS  Most Super funds provide automatic life insurance to their members.  Binding and non-binding nominations  Binding nominations (automatically lapse after 3 years) – The Trustee MUST pay to the person you have nominated. Only certain people can be a binding nominee i.e. dependants  Nominated beneficiary (or non-binding) – is a guide to the wishes of the deceased but the Trustees can decide otherwise if they think appropriate. 65
    66. 66. DISABILITY BENEFITS  Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Benefits:  Insurance benefits that can be claimed if you are unable to perform the work that you are reasonably trained or qualified to do by education training and experience.  You do not have to be unable to do ALL work, just the work you have the skills to do.  Total and Temporary Disability (TTD) Benefits:  Usually called income protection or salary continuance  Usually pay a monthly benefit for 2 years, 5 years, until age 65 etc.  Multiple claims?  Yes for TPD  No for TTD/ Income Protection 66
    67. 67. TERMINAL ILLNESS BENEFITS  1 July 2007 legislative amendments  You can access your super if you have a life expectancy of less than 12 months, and any benefits released are entirely tax-free.  Later changes made by most Super Funds/Insurers mean that many people can claim their life/death insurance benefits whilst they are still alive.  How long does a terminal illness claim take?  Anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months depending on the claim and whether documents have been completed correctly. 67
    68. 68. ANY QUESTIONS?  Important that legal advice be obtained as soon as possible after diagnosis Trent Johnson Senior Associate – Asbestos and Dust Diseases  Ph: (07) 5430 8743  Mob: 0409 898 128  E: tjohnson@mauriceblackburn.com.au 68
    69. 69. Kamal Farouque, Principal Emma Thornton, Associate Thursday 22 August 2013 PART 3: EMPLOYEE INFORMATION AND UNION RIGHT OF ENTRY
    70. 70. CONTENTS  Obligations of unions officials with employee information  Restricting rights of entry in cases of misuse  Case study: baiada poultry 70
    71. 71. 71 RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF PERMIT HOLDERS RELATING TO DOCUMENTS  Section 482(1)(C) provides a permit holder with the right to inspect, and make copies of, records and documents directly relevant to a suspected contravention (other than non- member records or documents which do not substantially relate to the member‟s employment s482(2A))  The note to that section prescribes that the use or disclosure of personal information obtained under this section is regulated under the Privacy Act – but there is the exemption for employee records.  Section 504 provides that a permit holder must not use or disclose information or a document obtained by right of entry for a purpose that is not related to the investigation or rectification of the suspected contravention, subject to some exceptions.
    72. 72. 72 EXCEPTIONS TO PROHIBITIONS ON USE OR DISCLOSURE  The person reasonably believes that use or disclosure is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious and imminent threat to an individual‟s life, health or safety, or a serious threat to public health or safety;  The person has reason to suspect that unlawful activity has been, is being or may be engaged in, and uses or discloses the information or document as a necessary part of an investigation of the matter or in reporting concerns to the relevant person or authorities;  The use or disclosure is required or authorised by or under law;  The person reasonably believes that the use or disclosure is reasonably necessary for a range of specified purposes by an enforcement body (within the meaning of the Privacy Act 1988);  if the information is, or the document contains, personal information (within the meaning of the Privacy Act), the use or disclosure is made with the consent of the individual to whom the information relates.
    73. 73. RESTRICTING RIGHTS IN CASES OF MISUSE OF RIGHTS  Section 508 provides for the FWC to restrict permit rights of unions or officials (including revocation, suspension or the imposition of conditions) if satisfied that a union, or union official, has misused their permit rights  An application can be brought by an inspector, or the FWC can act on its own initiative In “exceptional circumstances” (see Re: NUW [2011] FWA 4096 - Baiada)  Misuse can include:  Repeatedly exercising rights with the intention of, or with the effect of, hindering, obstructing other otherwise harassing an employer or occupier;  Encouraging a person to become a union member in an “unduly disruptive” manner;  Acting with a collateral intent; or  Acting with an improper purpose. 73
    74. 74. CASE STUDY: BAIADA POULTRY (RE: NUW [2011] FWA 4096)  NUW embarked on a campaign at Baiada Poultry site in South Australia.  Two NUW officials entered Baiada pursuant to an ex parte FWA application and order obtained to access non-member records, and an exemption certificate issued (which allows no advance notice of an entry to be provided). The entry was purportedly to investigate underpayment contraventions.  In the entry, the officials:  Obtained access to non-member contact details, which were subsequently used to send personalised letters to employees regarding a union meeting; and  Filmed video footage of employees working at the site, which was published on the NUW website and aired on ABC‟s Lateline; 74
    75. 75. 75 CASE STUDY: BAIADA POULTRY (RE: NUW [2011] FWA 4096)  FWA held that the actions of four NUW officials constituted a misuse of rights by:  covertly filming the Baiada premises while on the premises pursuant to an Entry Order (for purposes unrelated to the underpayment investigation);  using the names of employees obtained through an order for access to non-member records on invitations to union meetings (for purposes unrelated to the underpayment investigation); and  disclosing to Baiada employees information obtained through access to non-member records.  FWA held that there is no right under the FW Act to covertly film an employer's workplace without authorisation.  Order made against NUW not to film or record workplaces while exercising right of entry (unless authorised).  Individual officials‟ permits suspended.
    76. 76. Kamal Farouque, Principal Emma Thornton, Associate Thursday 22 August 2013 PART 3: SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS IMPACT ON EMPLOYMENT
    77. 77. CONTENTS  The Scale of Social Media  Social Media defined  The blurring of public and private  Social Media, Misconduct and Unfair Dismissal 77
    78. 78. 78 THE SCALE OF SOCIAL MEDIA  It is clear that Australians are embracing social media such as Twitter, Instagram, MySpace and Facebook  In 2010, the Nillson company reported that Australians had the highest global average for engaging with social media, an average of 7 hours per month per person engagement with social media  Facebook has 11,489,380 Australian users.  25 % of these users don‟t bother with privacy settings  Twitter has 2,167,849 Active Australian Users  Since the dawn of twitter there have been 164 billion tweets  Instagram has 1,083,924 Active Australian Users  More than 5 million pictures are uploaded to Instagram every 24 hours
    79. 79. 79 SOCIAL MEDIA DEFINED  Social media refers to Internet sites and Mobile apps which allow individuals and groups to develop content and share information via online networks of people  Includes sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, MySpace and You Tube  Is a form of mass communication
    80. 80. 80 THE PUBLIC AND THE PRIVATE: THE DIMINISHING LINE  In Rose v Telstra, Ross VP analysed when out of hours conduct can give rise to a valid termination, namely when:  Objectively viewed, the conduct is likely to cause damage to the relationship between the employee and employer, or  The conduct damages the employer‟s interests, or  The conduct is incompatible with the employee‟s duty as an employee  The conduct must be of such a nature as to indicate a repudiation of the employment contract by the employee
    81. 81. 81 A RECENT EXAMPLE FROM THE NEWS…  Flight Centre employee Alex Moros wrote on Charlotte Dawson‟s (judge of Australia‟s Next Top Model) Facebook page the following comment about her and fellow judge Alex Perry: “Judges Charlotte Dawson, and Alex Perry Jeesus Christchurch guys lay off the botox and fillers!!! You two need help.”  Dawson went to Moros‟ page and worked out he was an employee of Flight Centre. She sent the following to Flight Centre management: “While we anticipate some people are going to have opinions about the show and even express their distaste for the appearance of participants and judges, Alex and I feel that posts of this nature do not reflect well on Flight Centre. I am a 47-year-old woman who has Botox. I don‟t have fillers. Whilst Andrew has every right to express his disgust at the condition of our faces, I don‟t believe our choices should be slammed by a Flight Centre employee.”
    82. 82. 82 AN EXAMPLE FROM THE NEWS…  Flight Centre has publically stated that Morow will not be disciplined in any way as a result of the incident: “We are aware of what has been said publicly. From our point of view, the comment was made on his personal account in his personal time so it is not an issue for us to be commenting on. He has formally written an apology to both Charlotte and Alex from his personal email.” Source: “He crititised her on Facebook. And she went straight to his boss.” http://www.mamamia.com.au/social/charlotte-dawson-social- media/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=charlotte-dawson-social-media
    83. 83. SOCIAL MEDIA AND EMPLOYMENT  This is the major area where social media and employment law intersect  The cases appear to fall into a few categories:  Employees expressing their frustrations with work online  A Government employee making critical comment about government policy  Employees posting questionable photos during and after work hours  Excessive use of social media during work hours  Employees using LinkedIn to promote businesses competitive with their employer 83
    84. 84. 84 SOCIAL MEDIA IMPLICATIONS FOR DISMISSAL CLAIMS: AIRING WORKPLACE FRUSTRATIONS ONLINE  Case 1: Luzsewski v Capones Pizzeria Kyneton [2009] AIRC 280  In this case, an employer attempted to have an unfair dismissal claim dismissed on the basis that it was frivolous, vexatious or lacking in substance  The employee alleged that he was dismissed because he posted a status update on Facebook saying he was “pissed off”. The employer alleged the comment related to the employer requiring his girlfriend to work  The post did not indicate at whom it was directed or mention the employer  FWA held that the employer‟s motion should be dismissed as, if this was the reason for dismissal, it was necessary to consider whether there was a valid reason for the dismissal
    85. 85. 85 AIRING WORKPLACE FRUSTRATIONS ONLINE  Case 2: Dover-Ray v Real Insurance Pty Ltd [2010] FWA 8544  In this case, it was held an employee published a negative blog on a MySpace page following an unsubstantiated sexual harassment investigation was a valid reason for dismissal  The employee wrote on MySpace that management were “witch hunters” and that she had just been through an investigation that “in the end advanced corruption”  Thatcher C held that the employee‟s conduct was a valid reason for dismissal  The employee had not only published the blog but had refused to modify or remove it within a reasonable time  It was not necessary to consider whether the employer had a social media policy or whether the employee‟s conduct had damaged the relationship of mutual trust and confidence
    86. 86. 86 AIRING WORKPLACE FRUSTRATIONS ONLINE Case 3: Damian O‟Keefe v Williams Muir‟s Pty Ltd t/a Troy Williams The Good Guys [2011] FWA 5311  Another decision where an employee‟s social media post were found to justify their dismissal  Following issues with his pay, the employee posted on Facebook that he “wonders how the f**k work can be so f***king useless and mess up my pay again. C***s are going down tomorrow”  His employment was terminated for misconduct after the post was read by work colleagues. Although the account was „private‟ and there was no express reference to the employer, the employee had 11 work „friends‟
    87. 87. 87 AIRING WORKPLACE FRUSTRATIONS ONLINE Case 3: O‟Keefe (cont)  The employee argued that the posts were made outside work hours and no mention of the employer was made on his webpage  Swan DP referred to the company‟s handbook which contained policies on bullying and harassment  She commented that even without the handbook, “commonsense would dictate that one employee could not write and therefore publish insulting and threatening comments about another employee in the manner in which this occurred”  It did not matter that the comments were made outside work hours and from a home computer
    88. 88. 88 AIRING WORKPLACE FRUSTRATIONS ONLINE Case 4: Fitzgerald v Dianna Smith t/as Escape Hair Design [2010] FWA 7358  Ms Fitzgerald wrote on her Facebook page: “Christmas „bonus‟ alongside a job warning, followed by no holiday pay!!! WHOOOOO! The hairdressing industry rocks man!!! Awsome!!!”  Ms Fitzgerald had received less than she expected as a bonus and was paid half her holiday pay by cheque rather than cash  Ms Fitzgerald‟s employment was terminated, including because the Facebook posts
    89. 89. 89 AIRING WORKPLACE FRUSTRATIONS ONLINE Case 4: Fitzgerald (cont)  Bissett C: “Postings on Facebook and the general use of social networking sites by individuals to display their displeasure with their employer or a co-worker are becoming more common. What might previously have been a grumble about their employer over a coffee or drinks with friends has turned into a posting on a website that, in some cases, may be seen by an unlimited number of people. Posting comments about an employer on a website (Facebook) that can be seen by an uncontrollable number of people is no longer a private matter but a public comment.”  held that Ms Fitzgerald‟s posts were not detrimental to the business as it did not name the workplace and there was no evidence that the 5 – 10 clients who were friends with Ms Fitzgerald had read the comments. The posts didn‟t name the employer, and were otherwise private.
    90. 90. 90 AIRING WORKPLACE FRUSTRATIONS ONLINE Case 5: Stutsel v Linfox Australia Pty Ltd [2011] FWA 8444  The most recent decision on point, which was also in the employee‟s favour, was the decision of Mr Stutsel was dismissed for making negative comments on his Facebook page about management, which management found amounted to sex and racial discrimination  The employee contended that the comments were not derogatory and that he had maximum privacy settings on his Facebook page
    91. 91. 91 Case 5: Stutsel (cont)  Roberts C held that the comments had “very much the favour of a group of friends letting off steam and trying to outdo one another in being outrageous”  Roberts C was also critical of the company‟s failure to have a social media policy  Roberts C ordered that Mr Stutsel be reinstated, finding the employment relationship could be re-established  Case was appealed to the FWC Full Bench. The appeal was dismissed  Case now before Federal Court for judicial review AIRING WORKPLACE FRUSTRATIONS ONLINE
    92. 92. 92 Case 5: Stutsel (cont)  FWC Full Bench: Justice Boulton, SDP Harrison, Deegan C  [25] The posting of derogatory, offensive and discriminatory statements or comments about managers or other employees on Facebook might provide a valid reason for termination of employment. In each case, the enquiry will be as to the nature of the comments and statements made and the width of their publication. Comments made directly to managers and other employees and given wide circulation in the workplace will be treated more seriously than if such comments are shared privately by a few workmates in a social setting. In ordinary discourse there is much discussion about what happens in our work lives and the people involved. In this regard we are mindful of the need not to impose unrealistic standards of behaviour and discourse about such matters or to ignore the realities of workplaces. AIRING WORKPLACE FRUSTRATIONS ONLINE
    93. 93. Case Study: Banerji v Bowles [2013] FCCA 1052  Commonwealth Public Servant employed as a Public Officer by Department of Immigration used an anonymous Twitter handle “@LALegale” tweeted/shared comments which were critical or mocking of the security polices of the company which ran immigration detention centres, immigration policies of the Federal Government, Scott Morrison (Shadow Immigration Minister), the Minster for Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister and employees of the Department  Department investigated her tweets and she was found to have breached APS Code of Conduct and the Departments guidelines on use of social media and proposed termination [par 30]  Social Media guidelines provided it was inappropriate for Departmental employee to:  make unofficial public comment that is or is perceived to be harsh or extreme criticism of Government, member of Parliament or political party of their policies  Strong criticism of the Departmental policies that could disrupt the workplace  Banerji sought declarations that the finding was an unlawful curtailment of her Constitutional right of freedom of political communications  GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES MAKING CRITICAL COMMENTS 93
    94. 94. Case Study: Banerji v Bowles (cont.)  Court was dealing with an interlocutory injunction application by Banjeree and held as follows:  there was no unfettered right of freedom of political communication in Australia [100]  the right of political communication may be fettered  Restriction imposed by law for limited purposes (even where they may incidentally diminish completely the discussion of issues of government or politics) may be compatible with the Constitution  It is only when the law in question is inconsistent with the intended operation of the system of government created by the Constitution that the implied constitutional protection of freedom of communication on matters of government and politics [101]  In any event, a constitutional right does not provide a licence to breach a contract of employment [102]  94 GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES MAKING CRITICAL COMMENTS
    95. 95. 95 POSTING OF PHOTOS ONLINE Case 1: Antony Dekort v Johns River Tavern Pty Limited t/a Blacksmith‟s Inn Tavern [2010] FWA 3389  The employee represented that he was unfit for duty on 30 and 31 December 2009 and sought to claim sick leave  The employer had a photograph from a Facebook page showing the employee participating in New Year‟s Eve celebrations  The employee was not able to explain his actions  His Application was dismissed as having no reasonable prospects of success
    96. 96. 96 POSTING OF PHOTOS ONLINE Case 2: Mayberry v Kijani Investments Pty Ltd ATF The Investments Trust Subway Wallsend t/a Subway [2011] FWA 3496  An employee was dismissed following a photo on Facebook of her posing in a cardboard car at work during work hours  The photo was posted on Facebook by a friend, with the caption: “Lee in mine and Lees subway car. Broom broom toot toot.”  The company alleged the employee had stolen its property to make the car and had caused irreparable damage to the company name  Macdonald C found that the employee‟s dismissal was unfair because there was no evidence of damage to the company name, the employee had not engaged in theft and the dismissal was procedurally unfair
    97. 97. 97 POSTING OF PHOTOS ONLINE Case 3  In a recent decision, two employees of a pumps manufacturer were fined $1,500.00 by the Victorian Magistrates‟ Court after uploading photographs of themselves planking at work  They were dismissed from their employment  They were charged with breaching the Victoria Occupational Health & Safety Act  No conviction was recorded
    98. 98. 98 POSTING OF PHOTOS ONLINE Case 3  In a recent decision, two employees of a pumps manufacturer were fined $1,500.00 by the Victorian Magistrates‟ Court after uploading photographs of themselves planking at work  They were dismissed from their employment  They were charged with breaching the Victoria Occupational Health & Safety Act  No conviction was recorded
    99. 99. 99 AAP, „Plankers bonkers? Workers fined for Facebook foolhardiness‟, The Age, 8 September 2011
    100. 100. 100 EXCESSIVE SOCIAL MEDIA USE DURING WORK HOURS  Richard O‟Connor v Outdoor Creations Pty Ltd [2011] FWA 3081  The employer terminated the employee‟s employment one day before his resignation was due to take effect  The employer discovered 3,000 chats in his Google mail account  Gooley C concluded that excessive use of the social media for personal reasons during work hours may constitute misconduct but there was insufficient evidence to support a finding of misconduct in this case  The company was ordered to pay the employee compensation for the day he would have worked
    101. 101. 101 LINKEDIN AND COMPETING WITH THE EMPLOYER Pedley v IPMS [2013] FWC 4282  Employee was employed as a Senior Interior Designer by IPMS  Employee had contract of employment which prevented him from competing with the IPMS  IPMS had permitted the Employee to do some small private jobs (as RevealID) outside his work hours which did not conflict with his duties as employer.  Employee sent group email via his LinkedIn to contacts including clients and recent clients of IPMS announcing that:  he was going to expand RevealID to a fulltime design practice and asking recipients to look at RevealID‟s website, social media pages, awards etc and keep “RevealID in mind”  “one of the benefits of working in a new company is that you get the operators prior “big business experience at small business rates!” and “no project is too big or small”.
    102. 102. 102 LINKEDIN AND COMPETING WITH THE EMPLOYER Pedley v IPMS (cont…)  Deegan C held that there was a valid reason for the dismissal as the sending of the LinkedIn email breached a fundamental employment obligation  Email stated that the Employee was seeking to build a full time operation which was not confined to small jobs that the employer would not perform  Employee was clearly seeking to set up a business in opposition to his employer, albeit in a small way  Employee was soliciting work from current clients of his employer  Employee‟s email went way beyond the permission previously given by the Employer to do small private jobs
    103. 103. 103 LINKEDIN AND COMPETING WITH THE EMPLOYER Whitmar Publications Limited v Gamage and Others [2013] EWHC 1881 Ch  Employer had LinkedIn accounts to promote its publishing business  Employees were setting up competing business  After resignation, the employees used contacts from Employer‟s LinkedIn account to send message with a Press Release inviting people to attend an informal function to promote the competing business  English High Court granted an interlocutory injunction restraining the employees from using the LinkedIn contact information
    104. 104. 104 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR EMPLOYEES USING SOCIAL MEDIA 1. There is no general right to privacy in Australia when it comes to social media. Employers may be able to take disciplinary action against employees if online activities has an impact on the employment relationship. 2. Be careful about bagging your boss, employer, clients or co-workers on social media, particularly with an “open” social media account or are “friends” with co-workers or clients. 3. Check social media privacy settings. You might want to consider having them set at the highest possible level and avoid having your account accessible by the public at large.
    105. 105. 105 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR EMPLOYEES USING SOCIAL MEDIA 4. Be careful in “liking” or “re-tweeting” comments which have negative impact on your employer‟s reputation. They may imply agreement. 5. Check to see if the employer has a policy regarding the use of social media. 6. If you have open social media, think about how photos you post may be perceived by prospective employers checking up on you. “The probability of being watched is directly proportionate to the stupidity of your act.” Post from Stutsel
    106. 106. 106 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR NEGOTIATING OR BARGAINING A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY  A good policy might include the following:  A definition of social media;  Application of policy – to whom and when does the policy apply;  Information about the difficulty of maintaining privacy in social media;  Advice on whether employee use of social media will be monitored by the employer;  A set of clear rules and standards that employees are expected to comply with; and  Information on the risk that social media for private communication will become public.
    107. 107. ANY QUESTIONS? Kamal Farouque Principal – Employment and Industrial Law Section  Ph: 03 9605 2823  E: kfarouque@mauriceblackburn.com.au Emma Thornton Associate – Employment and Industrial Law Section  Ph: 07 3016 0345  E: ethornton@mauriceblackburn.com.au 107
    108. 108. Personal Injury 108 This information is prepared for the purposes of the seminar conducted on 22 August 2013 only. The content of this paper is not legal advice. It is information of a general nature. Readers requiring legal assistance for their specific circumstances should not rely on the content of the foregoing but should take appropriate legal advice.