Current Issues

JobWatch has regularly advocated for disadvantaged workers by providing submissions informing the Federal and State governments as well as other stakeholders about unfair working conditions and other alarming workplace trends, such as workplace violence and workplace bullying. JobWatch made the following submissions during 2015.

 

JobWatch Submissions 2015

Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment on the proposed Fair Work Amendment (Bargaining Processes) Bill 2014 (January) - Click Here

Submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission - Traditional Rights and Freedoms - Encroachments by Commonwealth Laws (February) - Click Here

Submission to the Productivity Commission - Workplace Relations Framework Inquiry (March) - Click Here

Submission to the Senate Education and Employment References Committee on the Impact of Australia's Temporary Work Visa Programs on the Australian Labour Market and on the Temporary Work Visa Holders (May) - Click Here

Submission to the Economic, Education, Jobs and Skills Committee Inquiry into Portability of Long Service Leave Entitlements (August) - Click Here

Submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission - The Infiltration of Organised Crime Groups into Lawful Occupations and Industries (August) - Click Here

Second Submission to the Productivity Commission - Workplace Relations Framework Inquiry (September) - Click Here

Submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission - Traditional Rights and Freedoms - Encroachments by Commonwealth Laws (Interim Report 127) (September) - Click Here

Victorian Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work (November) - Click Here

 

JobWatch personnel have also appeared before several Senate Reference Committees over the years and continue to highlight unfair workplace practices.

 

Discrimination on the basis of Criminal Record 

The number of criminal record checks conducted in Victoria has increased dramatically over recent years from approximately 3,500 in 1993 to over 186,000 in 2011. As a result there is increased potential for discrimination on the basis of a person’s criminal record to occur and JobWatch continues to remain vigilant and to advocate in this area.   

The Australian Human Rights Commission revised its guidelines for the prevention of discrimination in employment on the basis of criminal record. The revised guidelines, ‘On the Record – Guidelines for the Prevention of Discrimination in Employment on the Basis of Criminal Record’ are available via the link below.

https://www.humanrights.gov.au/discrimination-employment-basis-criminal-record 

The Australian Human Rights Commission has also produced an information brochure designed to assist those with a criminal record to avoid being discriminated against. This brochure is also available from the above link. 

For further information on discrimination on the basis of criminal record or if you feel you have been discriminated against on this basis you can contact the Australian Human Rights Commission Complaints Infoline on 1300 656 419. 

 

Bullying and Workplace Violence 

Workplace bullying is endemic in Australian workplaces and as a result the Federal Government has taken action. 

The Fair Work Commission has jurisdiction to deal with bullying complaints.  Employees who feel that they have been bullied can apply to the Fair Work Commission for a stop bullying order. The Fair Work Commission is required to begin dealing with bullying applications within 14 days of their receipt. 

In 2012 the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment conducted an inquiry into workplace bullying. JobWatch wrote a submission for this inquiry which can be accessed here. The final report arising from the inquiry, ‘Workplace Bullying ‘We Just Want it to Stop’, was tabled in Parliament in November 2012 and is available from the Parliament of Australia website.

http://www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/house_of_representatives_committees?url=ee/bullying/report.htm 

Worksafe Victoria has produced guidelines which make recommendations on how workplaces can both prevent and address workplace bullying. A link to ‘Your guide to workplace bullying – prevention and response’ is found below.

http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/42893/WS_Bullying_Guide_Web2.pdf 

If you feel that you are being bullied at work you can call the Worksafe Victoria Advisory Service on (03) 9641 1444 or 1800 136 089 (toll free). You can also email Worksafe Victoria at info@worksafe.vic.gov.au

 

Unpaid Trial Work  

Unpaid trial work is widespread in Australian workplaces and although there are no reliable statistics on the extent of this problem it is clear that it is significant. Unpaid trial work can take on different forms such as work experience and internships as well as trials. 

It is also becoming apparent that vulnerable workers, such as the young and migrants, are most at risk of exploitation. 

In January 2013 a report, ‘Experience or Exploitation? The Nature, Prevalence and Regulation of Unpaid Work Experience, Internships and Trial Periods in Australia’ was released which explores unpaid trial work in Australia. 

The report was commissioned by the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman and written by Professor Andrew Stewart and Professor Rosemary Owens of the University of Adelaide Law School and is available via the link below.

http://www.fairwork.gov.au/Publications/Research/UW-complete-report.pdf 

If you would like more information about unpaid trial work refer to the JobWatch factsheet on this topic which is found on our publications page. You can also contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

 

Pregnancy Discrimination 

JobWatch continues to receive pregnancy related discrimination calls which have doubled in percentage terms over the past 10 years. As pregnancy related discrimination calls have continued to increase in number, much more needs to be done to prevent the extent of this type of discrimination and to provide proper avenues of redress. It is apparent from these disturbing trends that further education and campaigning is required to protect working women. 

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission have produced a booklet, ‘Pregnancy and Work: Know your Rights and Obligations’ which summarises the rights of pregnant women and those with families in detail. Click here to download the booklet.