Harmers Workplace Lawyers
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News Alerts
Workplace Policy as Contract: Romero v Farstad Shipping (Indian Pacific) Pty Ltd
6 February 2015
On 22 December last year, the Full Federal Court handed down its decision in the Romero appeal. The Full Court unanimously overturned the Federal Court’s decision at first instance and held that, by failing to comply with its policy, Farstad Shipping (Indian Pacific) Pty Ltd had breached the employment contract of a second officer on one of its ships. The decision has significant implications for employers in that those who do not comply with their workplace policies, can be found to have breached the employment contracts of their employees.
Please click here to read Harmers Client Alert.

Media Statement by Harmers Workplace Lawyers re: Richardson v Oracle Corporation Pty Ltd
15 July 2014
Ms. Rebecca Richardson today won the appeal in her sexual harassment case against Oracle Corporation Australia. Her damages were increased seven fold from the first decision, and she was awarded costs of the appeal. This is a very significant legal victory, not only for Ms. Richardson, who has now been vindicated by not letting this injustice rest, but for how the law should be applied in this important area of legal rights for employees.
Please click here to download the news alert.

Important changes regarding wages, superannuation, and the high income threshold take effect from 1 July 2014

Please click here to download the news alert

L&E Global’s First Annual Global Handbook : Employees vs Independent Contractors

28 May 2014
Harmers Workplace Lawyers is delighted to provide you with the first annual L&E Global handbook on Employees vs Independent Contractors. This comprehensive publication includes analysis on the difference between a contractor and an employee and the potential re-characterisation of a contractor as an employee. Contributions have been provided from 15 L&E Global country member firms. It is a valuable resource for all HR professionals.

Please click here to download the publication.


27 February 2014

James Ashby said today:

“I am extremely pleased that the Full Court has decided to reject and overturn Justice Rares’ decision in my case. I would really like to thank Michael Harmer and all my legal team. They have acted with the utmost professionalism and care throughout this whole ordeal. I have always believed the original court decision was wrong, unjust and not based on the facts. We will now continue with our legal fight to obtain justice for my original claim against Mr. Slipper. This has been a long and tortuous journey, but I am determined not to give up until my claim has been vindicated.”

Michael Harmer said today:
“We are extremely pleased that the Full Court has decided to overturn Justice Rares’ decision. Also it is gratifying that the court found that I was treated unfairly and that the adverse findings made about me “ought not to have been made.”  I was not granted my appeal, on technical grounds, essentially because I was not a party to the original case.  It has been an honour to support James Ashby throughout this matter and we will continue to support James as it is extremely important that he ultimately receives justice in his case.
James Ashby is a brave whistle blower who, against the full force of the former Federal Government, has pursued his legal rights. It is also important that legal firms support  whistle blowers who cannot otherwise afford to access justice in our court system. Justice in this country should not be affordable only to the wealthy.”

This decision means that the original trial of the sexual harassment allegations made by James Ashby will now proceed. That substantive hearing was never heard due to the ‘abuse of process’ decision, which has now been overturned.

James and Michael are not available for interview at this time.

Media Contact
Anthony McClellan (AMC Media)
Mob: 0433 122 360
E: anthonymcc@gmail.com
T: antmac9


22 August 2013

Clive Palmer has alleged this morning that Mal Brough had asked him to fund James Ashby’s legal case against Peter Slipper.  We note that Mal Brough has categorically denied this allegation. To date there has been total confusion and contradictions concerning this meeting between Palmer and Brough, with numerous claims and counter claims as to what supposedly took place at that Coolum lunch. This is just yet another chapter in this saga which is being played out in the context of an electoral battle for the seat of Fisher.

For abundant clarity, at no stage did James Ashby ask Mal Brough, or indeed anyone, to fund his case. Further, as has been on the public record for some time, there is no third party funding his case. The case is being financially supported by Harmers Workplace Lawyers themselves. Harmers, on occasions, funds cases which they believe have social justice merit, where complainants otherwise would not have access to the courts.

Also, contrary to many reports, James Ashby has not had a substantive hearing on his claims of sexual harassment against Peter Slipper. That crucial matter is still to be decided.

It should also be noted that the Justice Rares decision of last December is still under appeal awaiting a decision.

Ashby Spokesman
Media Contact
Anthony McClellan AMC Media
Mob: 0433 122 360


26 APRIL 2013
It is very unfortunate that certain critical comments were made in this case relating to the financial and other arrangements between ourselves and Ms Richardson, our client in this case. Those comments were based on an assumption without complete knowledge of the arrangements between ourselves and our client. Further, we were never asked as to the complete nature of those arrangements.

Rebecca Richardson said today, “Harmers has been incredibly supportive of me in these difficult times.That support has been legal, emotional and importantly, the financial arrangements concerning my legal fees. I cannot speak highly enough of Harmers, and I want to thank them publicly for their continuing support.”

Harmers Workplace Lawyers has a solid and long history of subsidising deserving cases where the victim does not have the financial resources to conduct the case. We believe this makes for a better society, a society where not only the well-off have access to the courts.

Both the main decision of the judge, and the Costs decision, will be appealed. The comments of the judge relating to the issue of legal fees and our arrangements with our client will be a specific ground of appeal.

Spokesperson for Harmers

Media Contact: Anthony McClellan, AMC Media! 0433 122 360

13 March 2013
Earlier this month, up to 15 miners employed by Barminco in Western Australia were summarily dismissed after their re-enactment of the viral dance craze, the ‘Harlem Shake’, surfaced on YouTube. This alert considers employers' rights and legal obligations with respect to managing the use of social media by employees, and provides practical guidance for addressing these issues.
Please click here to read news alert.

Wednesday 20 February, 2013

Please click here to read media statement of Ms Richardson in relation to the matter of  Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Limited [2013] FCA 102.

For further information, please contact:

Jenny Inness
Senior Associate & Team Leader
Harmers Workplace Lawyers
Tel: +612 9267 4322 

Monday 14 January 2013
An Application by Michael Harmer (Harmers Workplace Lawyers) seeking Leave to Appeal Justice Rares’ decision of 12 December has been lodged today with the Federal Court.

An Application by James Ashby also seeking Leave to Appeal Justice Rares’ decision was lodged last Friday with the Federal Court.

Although there are many common grounds in the findings, Justice Rares made separate and distinct findings regarding Mr. Ashby and Mr. Harmer, so each presently is being separately legally represented in these Applications.

Harmers Workplace Lawyers continues to represent Mr. Ashby in his sexual harassment case against Mr. Slipper.

Neither Mr. Ashby nor Mr. Harmer is available for interview.

Media Contact
Anthony McClellan
AMC Media
Mob: 0433 122 360
Email: anthonymcc@gmail.com
Twitter: antmac9


Friday 21 Dec. 2012

"Contrary to some public perceptions, James Ashby's sexual harassment case against Mr. Slipper has not been heard in court, and no judicial finding has been made as to whether James was sexually harassed by Mr. Slipper.

The only matter that has been heard over the past 8 months was Mr. Slipper's Abuse of Process case. Later today, we are planning to file James Ashby's sexual harassment case with Fair Work Australia, with the aim that the whole evidence and the witnesses can be tested in open court at the appropriate time.

This is designed to preserve and protect James' legal rights. In that matter, Harmers Workplace Lawyers will continue to act for James.

As to the Abuse of Process case, an appeal against that decision will be lodged in mid January when the courts resume."


Neither James nor Harmers will be making any further comment at this time.


Anthony McClellan
AMC Media
Mob. 0433 122 360
T: antmac9


Ashby v Commonwealth of Australia (No 4) [2012] FCA 1411

Wednesday 12 Dec, 2012

"Whilst of course we respect the court's decision, we are shocked and disappointed by it. We will argue strongly on appeal that the conclusions in his Honour's judgment made about our conduct of the case are simply not justified by the evidence. Neither myself, nor this firm, are part of any conspiracy.

Harmers Workplace Lawyers has over many years assisted thousands of individual, corporate and union clients to access justice.

We have assisted James Ashby in that same way, as an individual who could not otherwise afford to run very expensive litigation in our courts.

This is the sole reason we took on James Ashby's case. Politics played absolutely no role in the decision to take on James as a client. As I swore in my affidavit, and as recognised by his Honour in his decision, my political views are not consistent with the conservative side of politics. We are a law firm, conscious of our professional obligations, and take no role in politics.

As a firm, we will be examining all avenues to have this decision, and its comments, overturned through due judicial process."

Michael Harmer
Harmers Workplace Lawyers

Michael is not available for further comment.

Anthony McClellan
AMC Media
Mob. 0433 122 360
T: antmac9

L&E Global Employment Law Newsletter -
(Northern Hemisphere) Winter Edition 2012

This edition features recent cases and employment law developments across Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

Please click here to read the publication.


Effective 1 July 2012, the “high income threshold” for the purposes of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) increases from $118,100 p.a. to $123,300 p.a.

Please click here to find out how this impacts employers.


Friday, 8 June 2012

"We can confirm that as a result of a mutual decision with Ms Jackson, Harmers Workplace Lawyers and the barristers previously in that case, are no longer acting for Ms Jackson in the matter presently before the Federal Court. As was mentioned in court today certain advice was given to Ms Jackson, and as is her right, she has decided to seek alternative advice."

Anthony McClellan
AMC Media
Harmers Workplace Lawyers



L&E Global expands Asia-Pacific Presence
Prominent Australian Firm – Harmers Workplace Lawyers - Joins Alliance
Brussels (October 20, 2011) – Harmers Workplace Lawyers, Australia’s leading workplace law practitioners, have joined forces with L&E Global, the international alliance providing counsel to employers on employment, labor, workplace privacy, employee benefits and immigration law.
Please click here to read press release.

Work from home requests present legal balancing act for employers
6 September 2011 – With work from home requests continuing to increase, employers are being forced to walk a legal tightrope between offering increased
workplace flexibility and mitigating potential risks associated with granting such requests according to Harmers Workplace Lawyers.
Please click here to read press release.

Changes to sex discrimination guidelines could catch employers unaware
Stricter rules on breastfeeding and sexual harassment underpin employer’s concerns
22 August 2011 – Significant amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act, including broader implications surrounding breastfeeding at work, recognising discrimination due to family responsibility and broadening the definition of sexual harassment, could lead to increased legal ramifications for employers, according to Harmers Workplace Lawyers.
Please click here to read press release.

Employers advised to be cautious when providing references
Former employers may be signing up for more than they bargained for if they provide false or misleading information to a prospective employer
14 April 2011 – Although providing employment references is a normal step in the recruitment process, previous employers should exercise caution when disclosing information about employees to potential employers, warns Harmers Workplace Lawyers.
Please click here to read press release.

Employers struggle to get to grips with email privacy rules
Employers more confused than ever as line between employees’ personal and work lives becomes increasingly blurred
31 January 2011 – Despite email being in existence in the workplace now for almost 20 years, there is still widespread confusion among employers around their rights in relation to their employees’ emails, according to Harmers Workplace Lawyers.
Please click here to read press release.

Employers urged to be aware of their legal obligations towards employees affected by interruptions to business continuity
25 January 2011 – With the Queensland floods finally retreating and normal business resuming, Australian employers are urged to learn from the Queensland experience and carefully consider their legal obligations towards staff affected by unexpected disasters or events, according to Harmers Workplace Lawyers.
Please click here to read press release.

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