Home' HR Monthly : October 2016 Contents 38
Anybody in the organisation, and individuals paid by the business
as advisers, can also be named as an accessory and fined.
“You can be penalised and issued with a civil penalty of up to
$10,800 dollars per breach,” Napper says.
You might also be required to pay the unpaid wages, if that was
the natu re of the breach. “That payment could potentially dwarf
the civil penalties that are imposed,” Napper says.
“So you’ve got these significant financial penalties, but beyond
that you have massive reputational damage and loss to your
professional standing by being publicly named, which is another
feature of the Ombudsman’s activities. Naming and shaming is
very much a part of this exercise and it is one that, in many ways,
has the most impact.”
“One might suggest,” James said, “if you were wanting to keep
your organisation out of the courts and the newspapers, that there
has never been a better time to ensure you are giving holistic and
sound advice about compliance with workplace laws.”
Should the HR profession feel some shame in the fact that the
Ombudsman’s office is having to announce a strategy to police
the actions of individuals in HR? Is it an indication that things are
going wrong and that stricter regulation is required?
Alexander thinks not. “I think it is just about expanding the
knowledge of HR people,” he says. “The intent was not to say,
‘ You are all bad people and we are sending our inspectors out.’
The Ombudsman’s office has simply identified issues that they
want to ensure we are aware of, because they don’t want us to
get caught up in some sort of problem. If you are unsure, they are
saying, speak to us or speak to somebody else. Make sure you’re
not at risk. I think that was the point.”
Who then does an HR specialist approach for advice if they feel
the business they work for, or the client to whom they consult, is
behaving in a questionable manner?
Alexander suggests calling AHRI’s assistance line for general
advice. “Organisations will often belong to an employer
association, which offers expert advice in this area, or they may
seek their own legal advice,” he says. “Finally, the Ombudsman
made it quite clear that her office is also happy to speak with
anybody concerned about the behaviour of a business.”
“Above all,” the Ombudsman stressed, “you must explain the
rules to your clients, make it clear when they are in danger of
breaking them and not become involved in breaches of the law
yourself. In the case of workplace laws, if you are involved in
facilitating a breach of the law, you are personally at risk of being
found to be an accessory.”
to hire a person
Lower staff turnover rate
A person with a vision impairment
is more likely to show loyalty to
an employer, giving you a lower
turnover rate and a lower overall
cost of employment.
Due to the access challenges they
face every day, people with vision
impairment tend to be great
problem-solvers, flexible and
Less workplace incidents
People with a disability are far less
likely to have an accident at work
than their peers.
More days at work
People with a disability have lower
levels of absenteeism and use less
sick leave than their colleagues.
Diversity = good business
A more diverse workforce will
effectiveness. It will lift morale and
enhance productivity. In short,
diversity is good for business.
An untapped workforce
You are looking to recruit a new
employee for your business, but what if an
applicant is blind or vision impaired?
Understandably, you may initially question
how they can possibly do the job that you
advertised for – how would they read emails
or find their way to work?
You may also think, “What about
the extra costs and the changes
that I will have to make to my
To alleviate your concerns,
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has
developed a handy guide to
highlight the benefits of employing
someone who is blind or vision impaired,
and provide solutions to common concerns.
These job-seekers are loyal, great
problem-solvers and can provide an
inspiration to your workforce.
All they need is an opportunity!
To download our free Employers’ guide for hiring
people who are blind or vision impaired please
“YOU MUST TELL CLIENTS WHEN
THEY ARE IN DANGER OF
BREAKING THE RULES AND NOT
BECOME INVOLVED IN BREACHES
OF THE LAW YOURSELF.”
NATALIE JAMES FAHRI , FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN
GET PROFESSIONAL COVER
AHRI professional members are automatically protected by
AHRI ProCover insurance as long as their membership is
current. ProCover provides a limit of $5 million for any one
claim and $10 million in the aggregate. See policy for
conditions applying to consultant members.
14/09/2016 4:57 pm
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