HR Law Masterclass Conference Agenda

Monday,12th March,Brisbane
Wednesday,14th March,Sydney
Thursday,15th March,Canberra
Tuesday,20th March,Melbourne
Thursday,22nd March,Perth

08:30

09:00

09:10

  • Managing complexities of cases involving mental health factors such as stress, anxiety, fatigue, and bullying
  • Best managing situations when investigative processes lead to stress and psychological injury claims or other worker’s compensation matters
  • Looking at links mental health of workers, and WH&S legislation 

09:40

  • Reviewing new WHS legislation which is resulting in increased liability for employers and labour supply companies related to:
- Your business undertakings, contract arrangements, and when employees are at host company
  sites
- Extended WHS obligations for hazard assessment and risk assessment in relation to standard
  operating procedures on other sites
  • Reassessing suitability of duties for injured parties returning to work:
- Understanding your responsibilities and acceptable limitations around adjusting position
  requirements
- Challenging fit-for-work certificates, in the context of your duty of care - Employer rights and
  legal principals relating to independent medical assessments

10:10

  • Reviewing legal implications of continuous performance managements programs as opposed to fixed, annual performance review processes
  • Understanding steps to reduce the risks of claims during a performance management / improvement process: For existing work relationships, and when new managers set new performance expectations
  • Managing recurring performance issues, after a performance improvement process has already been completed
  • How to proceed, or not proceed, if the performance management process results in a bullying or harassment claim

10:40

11:10

  • Assessing when a formal investigation is appropriate, or if it has potential to be punitive
  • What are other legally acceptable avenues for conflict resolution? 
  • Setting expectations of people involved in investigation processes
  • Procedural fairness, and ensuring independence, transparency, & fairness
  • Discussing workplace investigations and adversarial liability

11:40

  • Mitigating risks of unfair dismissal and adverse action claims
  • Ensuring procedural fairness for dismissals and terminations
  • Reviewing common factors leading to unfair dismissals
  • Minimising chances of unfair dismissal claims during performance improvement processes
  • Meeting chain of evidence requirements for post-termination hearings 
  • Ensuring an employee’s right of reply to allegations during termination discussions

12:40

12:10

  • Defining actions which can constitute or trigger adverse action: from terminations, to reduction in benefits, inadequate training, and performance management processes 
  • Does the probation period adequately protect you from adverse actions?
  • Identifying new possible directions for adverse actions. Can they extend beyond employees, to contractors and even prospective employees?
  • Overcoming procedural issues re adverse actions, and the reverse onus of proof to demonstrate lawful and reasonable actions
  • Comparing the increased remedies and penalties under adverse actions, with those relating to unfair dismissal claims

13:40

  • Understanding amendments being considered regarding changes to the Modern Slavery Act
  • Looking to the UK experience, which Australia’s reform is modelled on
  • Knowing your oversight requirements for suppliers or partners: reviews / audits; wages compliance; and operations conditions
  • Determining who is to be affected under modern slavery Act amendments, and reporting requirements

14:10

  • Do you need an agreement at all? Evaluating the risk of industrial action in your workplace, and whether it justifies an enterprise agreement
  • Evaluating trends for enterprise agreements re:
- Increased complexity and oversight
- Looking at loaded rates in EBAs, and the Full Bench review
- Why undertakings relating to the ‘Better off Overall Test’ (BOOT) are increasing 
- Satisfying ‘Notice of Employee Representational Rights’ (NERR) requirements
- Where companies are cancelling EBAs, as a negotiation tool in itself
  • The Fair Work amendment repeal review 2017: reviewing compliance requirements
  • Stress-testing your agreements for undertakings and queries, and potential provisions that may require change throughout the process

14:40


15:10

  • Deciding when should you manage a sexual harassment claim internally, vs. outsourcing the investigation. What are common escalation triggers re impartiality, integrity, mental health, confidentiality or communication issues
  • Reviewing new whistle-blower legislation being passed, and tips for evaluating whether a disclosure is likely to be genuine
  • Adversarial liability and dealing with historical claims, when there may have been a culture which enabled sexual harassment in the past
  • Disrupting badly run investigations, and ensuring the right oversights are in place to ensure independence, transparency, and fairness

15:40

  • Designing and Implementing anti-workplace bullying guidelines and policies
  • Identifying thresholds, and putting reporting procedures in place
  • Initiating a strong claims handling process and grievance management system in your organisation
  • Dealing with new allegations/ a second round of allegations - evaluating whether to reopen an investigation or conduct a new one

16:10

  • If an early election is held, what may be the new employment law related issues under a change of Government?
  • Engaging people under the right classifications: Looking at the rise of portfolio careers, increased casualisation, increased flexibility, and the potential for the ‘gig’ economy in traditional industries 
  • Will there be broader ranging implications from the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017
  • Will wage growth and pay equity become hotter issues?
  • How much will HR have responsibility for supporting employees identifying as domestic violence in the future? What are potential legal liabilities and consequences?
  • Increased accessorial liability risks, and personal implications for HR and payroll manager – for example: aiding & abetting; inducing; and by act or omission

16:50

17:00