Employers take note when considering disciplinary action for breaches of safety regulations. In a number of recent unfair dismissal cases Fair Work Australia has ordered the reinstatement of employees after taking into consideration the personal and economic situation of the employee. Factors such as age, education, employment prospects, possible resulting financial hardship and the repercussions on the relationship with spouse/partner are seen as worthy of consideration together with their employment record, training intervals and a demonstration of real remorse and contribution coupled with an undertaking to improve in the future. As a result, employers are advised to take into account the consequences of their occupational, health and safety policy on employees.
Under the new Australian Consumer Law suppliers of consumer goods and product related services who become aware of a death, serious injury or illness caused by the use of a consumer good, must now report the event to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission within two (2) days or risk being guilty of a criminal offence.
Suppliers are those who sell, lease, exchange, hire or make available for hire purchase consumer goods. Suppliers of product related services provide, grant or confer those services. A product related service includes services such as installation, maintenance, repair or cleaning, assembly and delivery of consumer goods.
Under recent changes to the Law subcontractors can now claim against principal contractors for payments due to them from contractors. If you are a subcontractor the changes effectively enable you to earmark money owed to a contractor from the principal contractor to secure the former’s liability for progress payments to you. It minimizes the risk of non payment due to a contractors insolvency. You must first lodge an adjudication application and then serve on the principal a payment withholding request. On receiving this the principal contractor must hold back from an money owed to the contractor an amount equal to that specified in the request pending a court decision.
This obligation extends to owners.