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Employment and Workplace Issues

Australian national workplace relations tribunal the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has handed down its decision in Gary Homes v Coles Group Limited T/A Coles Warehouse Edinburgh Parks [2014] FWC 1013 (10 February 2014), which relates to an application lodged pursuant to s. 394 (Application for unfair dismissal remedy) of the Fair Work Act 2009 No. 28 (Cth). According to The Age, Gary Homes was suspended from work by his employer Coles in 2013 after workplace security staff found a container of powdered beverage in his bag as he was leaving the site.

Major Bank Settles Sexual Harassment Suit

04 Feb 2014
Written by World Watch

The United States (US) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPMorgan) has agreed to pay US$1.45 million as part of its settlement of charges that it "maintained a sexually hostile work environment towards its female mortgage bankers assigned to [a JPMorgan site in Ohio]".

Chemicals and materials company WR Grace & Co (Grace) has announced that its Joint Plan of Reorganization (23 December 2010) (the Plan) (further information) commenced on 3 February 2014, marking the end of its 12-year-long period in bankruptcy and establishing two trust funds totalling more than US$4 billion to "compensate asbestos personal injury claimants and property owners".

The United States (US) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that MMR Constructors Inc (MMR) has agreed to settle charges relating to MMR's conduct regarding a number of its employees who allegedly subjected another employee, an MMR technician, to "racially offensive language, graffiti and death threats".

The United States (US) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that two Wal-Mart entities are to settle charges that a Walmart store "refused to hire Ramona Bradford's adult son and daughter for entry-level positions because Ms Bradford had filed a sex discrimination charge against Wal-Mart with the EEOC".

The work health and safety agency of the Australian state of South Australia (SA), SafeWork SA, has announced that the SA Industrial Court (SAIRC) has handed down its judgment in Perry v Taste Master Pty Ltd [2014] SAIRC 4 (22 January 2014), fining flavouring manufacturer Taste Master Pty Ltd (Taste Master) A$41,250 plus legal costs in relation to a 2011 incident in which an employee's hand was severely injured by extruder machine cutter blades when the worker tried to clear a blockage in the machine.

WorkSafe New Zealand (WorkSafe NZ) has announced that meat processor Riverlands Eltham Ltd (Riverlands) has been fined NZ$42,500 and ordered to pay NZ$12,500 in reparations to an employee whose finger was caught in a conveyor while he was collecting blood from slaughtered animals at Riverlands's workplace, resulting in the tip of his finger being amputated.

Beijing-based private training institute Juren has offered a plaintiff RMB30,000 (approximately US$5,000/€3,600) in compensation and a formal apology to settle her allegations that Juren discriminated against her on the basis of gender in rejecting her job application.

The United States (US) Department of Labor (DoL) has announced that 515 workers have had pension benefits totalling almost US$2 million restored to them following the DoL wage and hour division's identification of the breach of US Postal Service contracts by Lange Trucking Inc.

The United Kingdom Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has welcomed the Court of Appeal's decision in Gallop v Newport City Council [2013] EWCA Civ 1583 (11 December 2013), noting that the Court ruled that "an employer cannot 'simply rubber stamp' an opinion provided by occupational health advisors[,] and must make its own judgment as to whether an employee is disabled".

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