Awards interpreted: revealing clothing; enterprise award; hi-tech industry

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Awards interpreted: revealing clothing; enterprise award; hi-tech industry

Awards and contracts interpreted – revealing clothing, enterprise award, hi-tech industry.

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What employees can be required to wear and which awards are appropriate were questions addressed in some recent Fair Work Commission (FWC) decisions.

Union can argue for clause opposing “revealing clothing” requirement


A full bench of the FWC has ruled the retail employee's union (Shop Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA)) is allowed to argue for an award clause that blocks employers requiring their employees to dress in a revealing or indecent manner.

The union was not given the opportunity to argue against a finding that the FWC did not have jurisdiction to consider the union's claim opposing employers’ rights to direct employees’ dress.

A commissioner had ruled the matter was not incidental to the award. However, the full bench found that the FWC was obliged to give the SDA the opportunity to address the issue. In effect, the commissioner failed to afford natural justice.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association v Hair and Beauty Industry Association [2014] FWCFB 4738 (16 July 2014)
 


Qantas long-haul attendants refused enterprise award by FWC


A full bench of the FWC has rejected an application by the Flight Attendants Association of Australia and Qantas for an enterprise award.

The full bench did not think this group of employees should be separated out from other Qantas employees, noting that cabin crew in the airline industry were generally covered by the modern award. The full bench added that the modern award applied to another Qantas subsidiary, Qantas Cabin Crew Australia Pty Limited, which employed flight attendants deployed on international flights.

Flight Attendants Association of Australia and Qantas Airways Ltd re Airline Operations  Flight Attendants’ Long Haul  Qantas Airways Limited  Award 2000   [2014] FWCFB 4584 (17 July 2014)         

Qantas Airways Limited re Flight Attendants (Domestic Airlines) Award 1999 [2014] FWCFB 4587 (17 July 2014)
 


Union coverage found to extend to hi-tech health equipment maker


In another full bench matter, the FWC ruled the AMWU was eligible to cover a wide range of employees at hi tech health equipment provider ResMed.

In an initial hearing, Commissioner Bull had defined union eligibility rules to exclude certain workers. However, the full bench found that the union did have the capacity under its rules to represent ResMed mask assemblers and employees in the company's ventilation and machines work groups.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) v ResMed Limited [2014] FWCFB 3501 (17 July 2014) 

The bottom line: Legitimate union activities are often referenced to the terms of awards and agreements, so these instruments are often the subject of litigation.

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