Federal award employees? 5/2/99

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Federal award employees? 5/2/99

An employee may be covered by the terms and conditions contained in a federal award, even if that employee does not fit within a specific classification detailing the position's wages.

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An employee may be covered by the terms and conditions contained in a federal award, even if that employee does not fit within a specific classification detailing the position's wages.

A Full Bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission has found, on appeal, that the employee was a federal award employee and therefore entitled to pursue a remedy under the Workplace Relations Act'sunfair dismissal provisions. The award in question was the Theatrical Employees' (Bibra Lakes Adventureworld) Award 1984 (Appeal by Adventure World (WA) Pty Ltd; Print R0479).

The Full Bench upheld Commissioner Laing's decision at first instance that the employee was covered by the federal award even though the position she held, first level supervisor, was not included in the classifications covered by the award. The Commission at first instance found that 'as a matter of construction the coverage of the award was not limited to persons employed in the classifications listed'.

The Commission at first instance took a broad interpretation of the phrase 'according to its terms' in clause 3(a) of the award which stated:

(a) This Award shall be binding, according to its terms upon the Australian Theatrical and Amusement Employees' Association and its officers and members, and upon the Respondent - Bibra Lakes Adventureworld Pty Ltd - and its employees whether members of the said Association or not.

The Full Bench agreed with the Commission at first instance regarding the meaning of the phrase 'according to its terms', stating that the 'expression was inserted in clause 3(a) to remove a potential conflict between that clause and a number of other clauses limiting the effect of the award. ... By specifying that the award applies according to its terms, clause 3(a) makes it clear that not every term of the award applies to each employee covered by it'.

The Full Bench dismissed the appeal.

 

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