Use of social networking sites including MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Skype has grown exponentially in recent years. These sites have substantially changed how people communicate with each other giving rise to new communications issues for employers to manage. To what extent such activities can be taken into account when performed outside of work hours is an area that also needs to be managed.
In the Fitzgerald decision by Commissioner Bissett of Fair Work Australia (FWA), it was observed that “the general use of social networking sites by individuals to display their displeasure with their employer or a co-worker is becoming more common”.
Trends are emerging through decisions by FWA as to whether inappropriate use of social networking sites justifies the termination of employment. Consequences for employers who get it wrong, in terms of unfair dismissal claims, can include reinstatement, redeployment into an associated entity and/or payment of up to 6 months wages for lost income between the termination and reinstatement/ sourcing new employment.
In Stutsel, an employee’s right to free speech was considered. In this case, a truck driver who made disparaging references to managers that related to their gender, ethnic origin and/or religion on his publicly accessible Facebook page was found to have been unfairly dismissed. The comments were held not to be a personal attack on a specific co-worker, but rather within the employee’s right to free speech. Conversely, in the O’Keefe case involving the Good Guys, an employee’s insulting and threatening comments on Facebook clearly related to the female operations manager, despite there being no express reference to her or the company on the Facebook post, resulted in the employee’s dismissal being upheld. The employee had referred to his work colleague using a slang term describing female genitalia and threatened that she would “go down tomorrow”.
In the Fitzgerald case involving Escape Hair Design, an employee who sarcastically commented that the “Hairdressing Industry rocks man!!” was found to have been unfairly dismissed. While the comments may have undermined the employer’s trust and confidence it was found that, given the employer did not immediately take action after seeing the comments, they did not damage the industry as a whole or the business.
The principle that emerges from these cases is that, where a disparaging and inappropriate comment is posted on a social networking site that clearly relates to or identifies the company and/or an individual employee, it is likely that disciplinary action or termination is justified. However, in each instance, the content of the post and who had access to or had accessed the site, as well as any negative effects resulting from the post must be carefully considered.
Recent decisions make clear that, despite comments being posted outside of work hours (i.e. from a personal computer), this does not necessarily exempt employees from being disciplined in employment. As FWA Deputy President Swan commented, “the separation between home and work is now less pronounced than it once used to be”. Where there is a sufficient link between the content of the post/ twitter/ blog and the composer’s employment, action such as performance management and/or dismissal may be warranted.
Employers should note that where an employee’s Facebook friends, which may include co-workers, have posted inappropriate material on the employee’s Facebook page, a counter post by the employee dissociating themself from the comments is not necessarily required. Furthermore, where employees can demonstrate they are not aware of how to delete comments and/or material, the posts are unlikely to be considered a valid reason for dismissal.
What is clear from emerging decisions by FWA is the need for employers to implement a policy, or other formal documentation, that clearly outlines their expectations of employees relating to the use of social media. This was demonstrated in the Stutsel case whereby FWA highlighted that Linfox did not have a social media policy in place. FWA is now expecting that employers (especially larger employers) make substantial efforts to educate their employees about those policies and consistently apply such policies across the business. Where a social networking policy is in place and followed, there is a greater likelihood that the employer will successfully defend an unfair dismissal claim.
CCI will be facilitating a segment on social networking sites at the annual Industrial Relations Conference on 27 March 2012.
For assistance in drafting a social media policy for your workplace or if you are considering terminating an employee on the grounds of inappropriate social media use, please contact our Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or email@example.com for professional advice and guidance before proceeding.
[Sally-Anne Fitzgerald v Dianna Smith T/A Escape Hair Design  FWA 7358 (24 September 2010)]
[Glen Stutsel v Linfox Australia Pty Ltd  FWA 8444 (19 December 2011)]
[Damien O’Keefe v Williams Muir’s Pty Ltd T/A Troy Williams The Good Guys  FWA 5311 (11 August 2011)]
Inspiration and Motivation
In a survey of more than one and a half thousand managers, people were asked what they would most like to see in their leaders. The most popular answer, mentioned by over half of the managers was ‘inspiration’.
As well as a thirst for inspiring leadership, there’s evidence to suggest that companies with inspiring, knowledgeable and motivational leaders perform better.
CCI’s Leadership Luncheon is a prestigious event designed to inspire and motivate, by providing an opportunity to hear from two of Australia’s most inspirational and respected leaders.
They will share their compelling and fascinating story, giving you a glimpse into the minds of these successful leaders. They will explain the challenges they have faced and techniques they have utilised to overcome adversities, providing an insight into how they have succeeded where others have not.
Do not miss the exclusive chance for you and your team to hear from these outstanding Australian leaders live, at this unique event.
Benjamin Roberts-Smith, VC, MG
With a biography that reads more like an action novel than real life, Benjamin Roberts-Smith is one of our most inspiring and courageous leaders. In January 2011 he was awarded Australia’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross for Australia, for his actions during a helicopter assault into Tizak in Afghanistan, which saved the lives of many in his unit and was instrumental in the success of the initiative. Together with a Medal for Gallantry awarded during a tour of Afghanistan in 2006, this makes Benjamin the most highly decorated currently serving member of the Australian Defence Force. His distinguished military career, which spans 15 years, also includes numerous tours throughout Malaysia, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. His insights on leadership and achieving success in the most difficult of circumstances are compelling and not to be missed.
Dr Fiona Wood
Fitting more into one day than most people could fit into one week, Dr Fiona Wood is truly one of Australia’s most motivated and determined leaders. As WA's only female plastic surgeon and a mother of six, she is also director of the WA Burns Service, a consultant plastic surgeon at Princess Margaret and Royal Perth Hospitals, co-founder of Clinical Cell Culture, recognised for its world-leading research and breakthroughs in the treatment of burns, and director of Avitamedical involved in commercialisation of spray on skin cell technology.
World renowned for her patented invention of spray on skin for burns victims, she lead a courageous and committed team in the fight to save 28 Bali bombing patients suffering from serious burns, deadly infections and delayed shock. Her exceptional leadership and surgical skills and the fact that she had the vision to plan for a large-scale disaster five years before the Bali tragedy, brought world-wide praise and recognition to the Royal Perth Hospital Burns Unit and highlighted the ground breaking research into burns treatment taking place in Western Australia. This is a unique opportunity to hear from one of Australia’s most respected leaders.
Click here for more information and to register.
Click here to view the sponsorship packages available. For further information please contact Kristy O’Reilly, Marketing Coordinator on (08) 9365 7537 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boasting an extensive number of world-class commercial mineral projects, mine sites, processing plants and operating fields, the production capacity of WA’s North West remains unrivalled in the Asia Pacific region. While the importance of this region to the Australian economy is undeniable, it is only when you personally experience the vast and remote nature of this part of the world that you can fully appreciate its magnitude.
With a history spanning over 40 years, the CCI/Brookfield Multiplex North West Resources Tour provides a rare and unique opportunity to see first-hand many of Western Australia’s major resource projects.
The 2012 North West Resources Tour will focus on Western Australia’s lucrative and expanding resources sector, with visits to a number of WA’s leading resource companies’ sites including Woodside Energy, Chevron Australia, BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Apache Energy, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto. < /p>
CCI chief executive James Pearson will host the tour, providing delegates the opportunity to draw on his extensive knowledge of the WA resource sector. James will offer participants an informed perspective on the developments in the North West and the associated economic implications.
The tour will commence in Perth, meeting with managing directors and senior executives from Australia’s largest resources companies. These briefings will lay the foundation for the site visits in the week ahead.
Following first day briefings, the travel leg of the tour begins with delegates visiting a number of key mineral and petroleum operations. CCI’s close relationship with industry leaders means that tour participants are welcomed onto several sites which are not accessible to the public, providing the opportunity to meet and hear from the most senior executives within the resources sector.
Your visit to this remote region will be aboard privately chartered aircrafts with air-conditioned, pressurised cabins, ensuring you visit this region in maximum comfort and with minimal delay.
Click here for more information and to register.
"The Schneider Story" - Major breakthrough in workplace safety and productivity
Hear how Don Osterberg from Schneider National, one of the largest transport and logistic companies in the USA, achieved remarkable safety improvements, productivity gains and business growth over multiple areas as a result of a new approach to safety leadership.
Click here to register.
Click here to view the flyer.
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 15-17 August 2012
Hosted by all State and Territory Chambers of Commerce, the Australian Chambers Business Congress has established a new benchmark as Australia’s foremost business event.
The combined business membership of the Chambers exceeds 100,000 owners and leaders of all sizes of business and across all industries. Participation in this conference provides a rare opportunity to associate your company brand with some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds in the world, as well as affording you the chance to network and develop numerous business connections.
The Congress program is designed to focus on the pressing issues facing business showcasing exhibitors, world renowned keynote speakers and a variety of networking opportunities including the Australian Business Congress Gala party.
Confirmed keynote speakers for the 2012 congress are:
Muhammad Yunus, Founder of Grameen Bank and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
A professor of economics for a number of years, he received worldwide recognition for his successful application of microcredit; the extension of small loans to those who are too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.
In 2006, Yunus and the Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below”.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School
Named among the 50 most powerful women in the world (Times of London) and the 50 most influential business thinkers in the world (Accenture and Thinker 50), Kanter has inspired cutting-edge innovation, strategy, leadership and culture for 35 years.
Randi Zuckerberg, Former Head of Marketing at Facebook and CEO, R to Z Media
One of the first 10 employees of FaceBook, Randi led the company’s U.S. election and international politics strategy. Randi was recently appointed to the United Nations Global Entrepreneurs Council and the World Economic Forum's Global Council on Social Media.
Jeremy Gutsche Founder of TREND HUNTER Magazine, host of Trend Hunter TV
Author of EXPLOITING CHAOS - 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change and creator of TrendHunter.com, the world's largest, most popular collection of cutting edge trends.
A wide variety of sponsorship opportunities have been designed for the Australian Business Congress 2012, with each package containing benefits that will ensure your organisation receives maximum exposure. Sponsorship opportunities have been grouped into 4 levels, to ensure branding opportunities and benefits are consistently maintained for all sponsors.
To discuss sponsorship packages and opportunities for involvement at the Australian Chambers Business Congress 2012, please contact:
Manager, Program & Partnership Development
m. 0411 657 102
t. 02 9350 8145
Senior Manager – Marketing Consulting
m. 0417 304 224
t. 02 9458 7495
For further information about the 2012 Australian Chambers Business Congress: Today, Tomorrow and Beyond please visit www.businesscongress.com.au or click here to view the flyer.
The Western Australian Volunteer of the Year Awards program is committed to acknowledging the remarkable endeavours of Western Australian volunteers.
These awards promote the value and important contribution of volunteering to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of Western Australia and pay tribute to those who inspire and promote the spirit of volunteerism through their endeavours.
CCI is assisting with the judging of these awards and will be contributing to the selection panel for the Western Australian Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award.
Information about the awards and a nomination form can be found at http://volunteeringwa.org.au/News/2012-WA-Volunteer-of-the-Year-Awards.aspx
Nominations close on Friday 30 March
The International Trade Centre at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia receives buy/sell offers and trade enquiries daily from overseas.
Click here to view a list of last week’s offers and demands.
Keep up to date with the procedures, laws and regulations that govern international trade through CCI’s International Trade Handbook.
Often referred to as the “bible” by Western Australian importers, exporters and
associated service providers, this guide covers a range of important issues:
- Exporting and importing – the legal considerations.
- How to set up an export/import business.
- Import and export regulations.
- Import and export procedures.
- Finance, payment and risk management.
- Intellectual property.
- Marketing on the internet.
- Dispute resolution.
- Assistance available to exporters and importers.
- Contact details for organisations that provide services to exporters and importers.
- Comprehensive glossary of terms and abbreviations used in international trade.
The price of this publication:
$16.50 including 10% GST (CCI Members)
$38.50 including 10% GST (Non Members)
To order your copy contact Cara Gillespie, Tel: (08) 9365 7620 email@example.com
Click here to download the order form.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, is encouraging Australian businesses involved in the live animal export trade to apply for government grants to support improved welfare standards in their supply chains.
Minister Ludwig said the Australian Government is providing $5 million through the Approved Supply Chain Improvements Program, which has opened for applications, to encourage industry investment in supply chains in live animal export markets.
Funding under the Approved Supply Chain Improvement Program is available on a 1:3 investment ratio, with the government contributing $1 for every $3 of industry investment.
“This program will assist Australia’s livestock export industry to meet the requirements of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System which is central to the government’s new regulatory framework for the livestock export trade,” Minister Ludwig said.
“It will also fund eligible infrastructure upgrades and training and help Australian exporters develop exporter supply chain systems that meet the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) animal welfare standards”.
“The government actively encourages the use of stunning in the slaughter of livestock and at least 20 percent of program funds will be used to expand its use. This funding will help more exporters introduce stunning into their supply chains” he continued.
The Minister said the government is undertaking a range of initiatives to encourage stunning where possible, including promoting its use to the World Organisation for Animal Health, providing assistance to countries for infrastructure development and training and working bilaterally with trading partners to encourage its use. He said the program is focused on supporting Australian businesses to invest in approved supply chains for all markets that receive Australian livestock for feeder and slaughter purposes.
“These supply chains are a key part of the government’s reform of the livestock export trade, announced in October 2011, which aims to secure a sustainable future for the industry and the thousands of regional jobs that depend on it”.
“The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is administering the program and is continuing to work closely with individual exporters to provide advice and assistance as they establish new export arrangements,” Minister Ludwig said.
Applications will remain open until 30 April 2013 or until funds are fully allocated.
Further information is available at: www.daff.gov.au/about/current-grants.
Premier Colin Barnett visited Singapore last week, to reinforce the state’s trade and investment relationships and open a new trade and investment office, accompanied by a business delegation led by CCI Chief Executive, James Pearson.
“Business and investment ties between WA and Singapore are key to building our state’s participation in the growth of ASEAN region economies,” Mr Barnett said.
“Singapore is a major regional corporate and financial centre and a trade and transport hub, strategically located, with significant connections to Asia’s growth economies. The Singapore office will become our major overseas office in South East Asia and is part of the reorientation of WA towards Asia” he continued.
In Singapore, the Premier met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang. He officially opened the new office in Singapore’s central business district which will be led by John Osborn as WA’s Regional Director, Singapore.
“Mr Osborn has diverse experience in business and government, including international marketing, as a former chairman and CEO of the WA Tourism Commission (now known as Tourism WA),” Mr Barnett said.
“The Trade and Investment office will be building on a good base and will promote opportunities for investors to participate in WA’s economic growth in areas such as resources and infrastructure projects, urban development and agricultural export industries. It will help Western Australian businesses identify new export opportunities and find potential business partners in Singapore and the wider region. It will also support Western Australian tourism and education promotion and help develop cultural exchanges between Singapore and WA” he continued.
Given Singaporean businesses manage global investments worth hundreds of billions of dollars, the Premier highlighted the opportunities created by WA’s growing economy.
“These could include developing our natural resources and related infrastructure, and also participating in major urban development projects, both in Perth and in regional centres,” he said.
Mr Barnett said other opportunities for strengthening these relationships included business level collaboration across a wide range of expertise, joint research projects and cultural exchanges.
“The Singapore-WA relationship is long standing with strong foundations, not just economically, but at a personal level with migration, study and tourism, building bonds of understanding, friendship and family,” the Premier said.
The Australian Government has welcomed the decision by Indonesia to delay the implementation of proposed quarantine arrangements which threaten to impede horticultural exports to the country.
The proposed amendments to Indonesia’s horticultural regulations would restrict access for exporters to Indonesian ports, including Jakarta’s main seaport of Tanjung Priok.
The Indonesian Government has announced that the amendments will now come into effect on 19 June 2012.
“Indonesia is important to Australia's horticulture exporters,” Trade Minister Craig Emerson said.
“I am keen to work with our neighbour to ensure that we can meet the needs of exporters from Australia and other countries while respecting Indonesia's desire to strengthen its quarantine regime and food safety requirements,” he continued.
Australia assists Indonesia’s quarantine services through the $22 million Australia Indonesia Partnership for Emerging Infectious Diseases program, which is designed to support institutional strengthening of the Indonesian animal health system.
Australia has also provided support to Indonesia in the strengthening of its quarantine systems through a range of projects focused on avian influenza, emerging infectious diseases and pest analysis.
“Officials in Australia and in our Embassy in Jakarta have been working closely with Australian industry and Indonesian counterparts to ensure Australia’s high-quality, well-priced fruit and vegetable exports can continue to supply Indonesian households," Dr Emerson said.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Australian Government’s export credit agency, EFIC (Export Finance and Insurance Corporation), have further strengthened their commitment to support trade in new emerging economies with the extension of an existing participation agreement between ADB and EFIC to now include Vietnam.
As the frontier economies of Asia struggle to get the finance they need to trade, the extension of the agreement will make it easier for companies in Vietnam to import Australian goods, including for export production.
EFIC will share in the risk that ADB takes when it provides guarantees against non payment under financial instruments issued for the payment of Australian exports to Vietnam.
Through its Trade Finance Program (TFP), the ADB fills market gaps by providing guarantees and loans through over 200 partner banks to support trade, facilitating growth for developing Asian economies. It targets Asia’s most challenging markets and does not assume risk in more developed markets such as China, Malaysia or India. TFP supported more than 668 SMEs in 2011.
Australia has been a key partner to the ADB, collaborating on different programs and projects to help reduce poverty and promote growth among its members, and it is also a major exporter to Asian markets. Last year, Australia’s exports totalled A$284.1 billion, of which 70 percent went to Asia.
“Trade is critical to economic growth and reducing poverty. The partnership between ADB and EFIC is helping to smooth and increase trade across borders, helping to fill gaps in the private sector’s ability to provide finance to support trade in more challenging markets,” said Steve Beck, Head of Trade Finance at ADB.
“Many developing countries in Asia struggle to get the trade finance they need to fund economic growth and an increase in trade. This expansion in the ADB-EFIC agreement should increase trade between Australia and Vietnam, leading to increased jobs and higher economic growth in both countries,” he continued.
Colin George, EFIC’s Director, Trade, Commodity & Agribusiness Finance said: “We anticipate increasing demand for Australian inputs in the coming years from emerging Asian countries participating in the ADB’s Trade Finance Program.
“We are very proud to be working with the ADB to hopefully, by our support to the ADB facility, foster growth and assist in the creation of jobs in the region. This is a great opportunity for Australian companies to gain access to markets that years ago were difficult to enter due the lack of trade finance available to them,” he said.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 member countries - 48 from the region. In 2011, ADB’s Trade Finance Program supported US$3.5 billion in trade.