Dr Tess Hardy, Professor John Howe and Ms Melinda Richards SC, Crown Counsel.
CELRL Labour Law Seminar
‘Testing the Boundaries of the Accessorial Liability Provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009 – An Exploration of Some Recent Decisions’
Seminar presented by Dr Tess Hardy and Professor John Howe of CELRL, and Ms Melinda Richards SC, Crown Counsel
Thursday, 28 April 2016: 6:00 - 7:00 PM
About the event
Australia’s employment standards regulator, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), is increasingly commencing legal action for non-compliance against both the direct employers of labour and third parties ‘involved in’ contraventions by the employer. These actions are being brought under the ‘accessorial liability’ provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in order to maximise the deterrence impact of FWO litigation and remedy the effects of the relevant contravention.
The FWO has been targeting employer company officers and HR managers within employing businesses, as well as professionals who have advised businesses on their employment arrangements, such as lawyers and accountants. The FWO has also made a point of using the accessorial liability provisions to bring proceedings against corporate entities not the direct employer of the workers concerned, particularly lead firms and contractors in supply chains. The agency has promised that businesses operating with supply chains or sub-contractor arrangements ‘can expect to be held accountable if any part of their labour networks contravene workplace laws’.
This seminar explored some recent court decisions that shed light on the scope and reach of the accessorial liability provisions, with a particular focus on the potential liability of internal and external HR and IR advisors, and of lead firms and contractors in supply chains. Tess Hardy and John Howe drew on their research into the FWO’s use of the accessorial liability provisions and its implications. Melinda Richards has appeared on behalf of the FWO in a number of cases brought under the accessorial liability provisions and provided further commentary and insights into these recent developments.