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Related Articles

Security interests: Register your security interests

A new court decision has found that the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is the final word on security interests in personal property. The case involved three Caterpillar construction vehicles leased out to a company. The company borrowed money and used the Caterpillars as security. The credit provider registered its … Read more →

LinkedIn problems: Sacked for soliciting clients

An employee was dismissed after advertising his private company to contacts on LinkedIn. An interior designer was employed by a national architecture and design company and, prior to taking up the role, had informed his employers he intended to carry out private design work in his own time. This year, … Read more →

Bullying at work: Commission warns against “excessive sensitivity”

Individuals have a relatively high threshold to attain in order to establish workplace bullying. In the case, a recruitment coordinator team leader was sacked for bullying a member of staff. The person had resigned and in her exit interview made various complaints about the team leader – that she’d been … Read more →

Intellectual property: Disputed territory – protecting domain names

A recent court decision highlights the difficulties of protecting domain names from exploitation by competitors. REA Group Ltd (REA) owns the domain names realestate.com.au and realcommercial.com.au from which it runs property portals. It also owns trademarks which feature the domain names realestate.com.au and realcommercial.com.au, along with the tag-line “Australia’s No.1 … Read more →

First Byte: ACCC wins by forfeit in the first unfair contract terms case

Unfair terms and conditions will not be tolerated under the consumer watchdog’s unfair contract term rules. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has chalked up its first win on a case solely arising from the unfair contracts terms rules, with internet service provider ByteCard quickly capitulating and consenting to … Read more →

Workplace relations: Making an appearance

Individuals should be prepared to present their case in the Fair Work Commission. A new case in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has confirmed that lawyers need to seek permission to represent their clients in matters before it. This means that individuals should be prepared to present their own case … Read more →

Unfair contract terms: Let the supplier beware

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has signalled its intention to adopt a more enforcement-based approach to protect consumers. Early this year the consumer watchdog released an industry review of unfair contract terms and amendments to its compliance and enforcement policy. Both signal a tougher stance, requiring business to be … Read more →

Repudiation of contract: Duties and responsibilities as important as job title

Employers should be aware that varying an employee’s duties and responsibilities may have the effect of repudiating the employment contract, particularly if it materially impacts on the employee’s status within the organisation or industry. In a recent decision, a judge found that a company’s executive chairman, who had hired an … Read more →

Immigration law: Penalties for failure to ensure employees have correct work visas

New laws introduce no-fault civil penalties for employers who fail to ensure employees have correct work visas and provide new investigative powers to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Changes to migration laws mean an employer who allows a foreign national to work without the correct work visa will be … Read more →

Social media: Loose tweets sink fleets

Businesses need to be aware of the potential legal risks when using social media to engage with their customers. Social media is a cutting edge way for businesses to engage with their customers – but it comes with a certain amount of legal risk. The core concept that businesses must … Read more →

Changes to directors’ liability: Increased burden of proof in less serious environmental offences

Changes in the law reduce the circumstances in which directors and managers should face liability for environmental offences by their corporations. The new laws categorise actions into more and less serious offences. The burden of proof now rests with the prosecution for less serious offences. Importantly, the prosecution is required … Read more →

Mis-selling a lesson to banks and investors: Bank’s “cynical” awareness of risks “extraordinarily disturbing”

In a recent class action by three councils, Lehman Brothers was found liable for the big losses they suffered when the global financial crisis hit. In assuming the role of trusted adviser, the bank owed a duty of care in providing advice that aligned with the investors’ risk profile. The … Read more →

Employment law: Restraining ex-employees from poaching clients

Contracts to stop an ex-employee from poaching a company’s clients need to be carefully worded. A post-employment solicitation restraint is a clause in an employment contract that seeks to ensure employees leaving a company do not take the company’s existing clients with them. This generally means an employee is forbidden … Read more →

Does your company own your CEO’s emails?

A UK court has found that a company does not own its CEO’s emails if they are not held on its servers. A former CEO of a UK company had his company emails automatically forwarded to his personal email address. A dispute arose around the construction of a 50,000 dead … Read more →

Raising the bar: Patents and intellectual property

New laws that came into force from 15 April make it tougher to successfully patent an invention. The laws are designed to more closely align the Australian system with international standards and, in the process, raise the bar for the successful patenting of inventions in Australia. In particular, there is … Read more →

Privacy: Businesses need to be prepared for new laws

Organisations risk being caught out if they don’t start acting now to update policies. New privacy laws come into force on 13 March 2014. With less than a year to review their privacy policies and information systems to ensure ongoing compliance, businesses need to consider changes to any policies relating … Read more →

BYO devices: The risks and trends

As more employees use their own devices to do work, businesses need to be aware of privacy, security and intellectual property rights issues. The current shift in working practices – from the traditional nine-to-five work day based in an office to working remotely and being connected 24/7 – has led … Read more →

Recycling: When waste is not waste

Material being transported may not be defined as waste if wanted for another purpose. In a decision that has implications for those in the recycling and resource recovery industries, a court has found that material that may be waste can be lawfully transported if it is intended for another purpose. … Read more →

Sacked for sending porn: Employee loses appeal

An Australia Post employee who was sacked after sending pornographic emails from his work email address to a friend, had initially been reinstated, but finally the courts found his dismissal was justified. It was explained to the courts that Australia Post had a number of policies relating to IT use, … Read more →

Qantas GST headache: What is a taxable supply?

GST is only levied on “taxable supplies”. The difficulty in determining what is a taxable supply is illustrated by a recent Qantas case. The case involved $26.5m in forfeited air fares over three years. GST on this amount was over $7.6 million. When people book and prepay for flights, they … Read more →