Australian employer fined $52,000 for unfair treatment of working mother - Australian Women Online

Roy Morgan Research was recently fined $52,000 for denying flexible working arrangements to a mother returning from maternity leave. McDonald Murholme Lawyer Bianca Mazzarella discusses the protections offered to working mothers by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

See below article for further details.

Australian employer fined $52,000 for unfair treatment of working mother

Australian employer, Roy Morgan Research, has been fined $52,000 after denying a working mother returning from maternity leave flexible working hours and making her position redundant.

It was unlawful for the company to make the new mother, who was still on maternity leave, redundant, a federal court has found.

According to McDonald Murholme Lawyer Bianca Mazzarella, the contemporary provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) protect working mothers from facing consequences such as false redundancies, requesting flexible working hours, taking parental leave days or any other exercising of their workplace rights.

“You have the right to request flexible working arrangements such as a change of hours, change in patterns of work such as ‘split-shifts’ or a change of location of work,” said Ms Mazzarella.

“Employees are not entitled to make the request unless they have completed at least 12 months of continuous service with their employer immediately before making the request.”

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) states that the employer must have reasonable grounds to refuse the request, such as:

  • the new working arrangements requested by the employee would be too costly for the employer;
  • there is no capacity to change the working arrangements of other employees to accommodate the new working arrangements requested by the employee;
  • it would be impractical to change the working arrangements of other employees, or recruit new employees, to accommodate the new working arrangements requested by the employee;
  • the new working arrangements requested by the employee would be likely to result in significant loss of efficiency or productivity; and
  • the new working arrangements requested by the employee would be likely to have a significant negative impact on customer service.

“If an employer takes adverse action against you, such as a non-genuine redundancy such as the case of Roy Morgan Research, or denies your right to request flexible working arrangements you may be eligible to make a claim under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth),” said Ms Mazzarella.

“If you are a working mother who is being discriminated against because of your parental responsibilities, we recommend seeking legal advice.”

Reference: Australian employer fined $52,000 for unfair treatment of working mother, Australian Women Online, 29th July 2016