Workplaces, 17 points you should know about
I’ve updated this article from 2021. Workplaces, laws and the effects its having on employees is changing all the time. We have elections, invasions, pandemics, the list is endless. Its the ability to adapt is a challenge for all of us.
Dismissals for anything and everything are occurring.
With the end of lockdowns, coming / upon us, its created a unique workplace environment, both employees and employers are feeling their way. I’ve written about this before, workplace flexibility is important, working from home, not working from home, workplaces have changed. Us as human being have changed, this is the living with COVID era. We received in excess of 10,000 enquires, by phone and emails each month. What employees google and enquire about is certainly changing. Its good for you to know what’s going out there, I can genuinely state we are at the coal face of what’s going on.
What’s going on out there in the workplaces
Workplaces have changed, below sets out in some detail the changing culture of Australian workplaces. Many employees are relying on “my contact doesn’t say I have to be vaccinated” . Well we didn’t have a pandemic 3 years ago either, life as we know it is not that simple any more. I hope the following comments bring some clarity to present events.
Snap Shot, dismissals, redundancies, workplace investigations
An exponential rise in dismissals and workplace disciplinary meetings especially in the healthcare and banking industry. Given the seriousness of the current health crisis, employers are not tolerating poor performing employees like they used to. Understandably everybody is stressed after two years of the pandemic, employers are increasingly taking emotional decisions, not legal or considered position like they used to, be careful you don’t become their next victim
Hesitancy and skepticism of the current COVID vaccine safety and efficacy is directly correlated as the reason for the increased dismissal rate and increased workplace disputes. Employers are becoming more frustrated, some employers are not co operating, are you vaccinated?, not vaccinated? Its a new era of challenges, privacy issues. health issues. human rights issues.
Workplaces have been actioning mass redundancies and terminations of unvaccinated employees.
With the implementation of the COVID vaccine mandate making it way throughout the country. Workplaces have been actioning mass redundancies and terminations of unvaccinated employees further straining workplace relations. Most employers are not paying redundancy pay. Arguing anything from serious misconduct, abandonment of employment, cannot preform the inherent functions of the roll.
Increase in workplace tensions due to the vaccine mandate have resulted in further workplace conflict and violence not only with management but amongst colleagues translating to a decline in workplace confidence. As employees who are not vaccinated feel targeted and isolated.
Being dismissed for protesting against the mandatory vaccinations is increasing, All the claims on this basis that have been taken to the Fair work Commission have been dismissed.
Dive in workplace mental health with far more employees taking sick leave and stress leave
This has also translated to a dive in workplace mental health. With far more employees taking sick leave and stress leave. Feb 2022, sick leave was up by 80 percent, according to the bureau of statistics. Many of the employees have gambled their sick leave and personal leave on the hope that by December 2021 there will be new rules for the vaccine requirements in the workplace. At the moment it hasn’t happened.
Current trends indicate that there will not be any reprieve for employees who are not vaccinated. As employers would prefer to terminate non-compliant staff instead of keeping staff employed. This is because staff who are sick or not in the workplace impact upon the productivity capacity of the business. As less staff can mean less production whilst impacting cashflow of the organisation.
Employees who are dismissed often find themselves forfeit of any other monies they would have otherwise received. Reasons for dismissal are frequently misconduct or refusal to obey a lawful directive. Without getting waylaid, there’s the issue of people in a era what’s reflected to as “self entitlement”. Be careful how you stand your ground is all I’m saying.
This may be the result of the increased aggressiveness in HR legal firms approaches to conciliation, workplace dismissals and advice for employer when dismissing. It is critical to seek professional support regardless of the meeting. The pendulum has swung, not because of the usual way of politics, (labor versus liberal) but because of the pandemic.
Loyalty is now a poor second to vaccination mandates and employer health concerns
The average period of service for employees who reject the vaccine mandate and company requirements is between 6-18 years. The average age group of employees rejecting the vaccine is also between 30-50. Some long serving employees just think the company will simply not dismiss them. Loyalty is now a poor second to vaccination mandates and employer health concerns. In fact as I’ve already stated, its convenient for the employer to dismiss long serving employees without having to pay redundancy (this can be considerable)
Employees with long periods of service are relatively more hesitant to receive the vaccine compared to newer employees who possibly are more compliant due to their reluctance to lose their jobs. This is due in part to workplace HR meetings are a frequent occurrence and act as a deterrent from further dissent within the workplace.
Employers are becoming less hesitant in making it policy and an inherent requirement of the employee’s duties to be vaccinated regardless of their role in the organisation. Employers previously didn’t rally want to get involved in health issues, they didn’t want to viewed as discriminatory. “All bets are off” or “all hands on deck” go the sayings
Procedural fairness is suffering
With little to no procedural fairness offered to employees in workplace meetings, more employees are losing their jobs due to unfair practices by their employer and thus resulting in further Unfair Dismissal claims. Employers are more concerned with economic imperatives, than worrying about employee rights.
Companies have been unlawfully denying employee rights to support and have refused to answer reasonable questions put to them by employees who wish to seek clarity surrounding their dismissal.
Employers who rely upon advice from HR firms who offer generic advice have demonstrated no understanding of the workplace process resulting in bullying, intimidation, and interrogation techniques. I have noticed, Fair work decisions are becoming increasingly critical of human resource manages / advisors.
Unlawful conduct has increased
Companies will prey on un-supported employees and engage in unlawful conduct to force a signage of a deed of release thereby preventing the employee from being able exercise their workplace rights. Companies are getting tougher smarter about managing the human assets of their business.
Everything in workplace processes seems more rushed at the moment, “procedural fairness”, “everybody getting a fair go”, has in allot of instances now been placed on the “back burner”.
Workplaces, points you should know about
I hope “Workplaces, 17 points you should know about” was informative for you. Want to discuss any of the 17 points, give a call, happy to chat. it’s always helpful to be up to date what’s going on in the workplaces, the wider work community. We are A Whole New Approach are not employment lawyers. We are Australian workplace and discrimination representatives. AWNA are very current with what’s going out there in Fair work Australia and the Fair work Commission, different equal opportunity commissions and like tribunals. AWNA make it our business to know what’s going on. Ring us for free, confidential advice, we keep it real, honest and to the point. Workplace, investigations, unfair dismissals, general protections, redundancy, whatever it is.
Another article what may be of interest to you on protecting your workplace rights, click here
Redundancy now and the future, click here
What is considered sick leave abuse, click here
We are here to help you. 1800 333 666, advice is free
One of the nations leading workplace advisors, representatives and commentators. Gary has represented some 12,000 clients over some 20 plus years, published some 300 plus articles. He is passionate about employees rights and the test of fairness in the workplace. Have a problem, concern, wants to contribute to the debate or research, call him directly.