Win For QLD Workers On Work-life Distinction: TWU And Maurice Blackburn

Release date: 23/04/2015

The Transport Workers’ Union of Queensland together with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers have won a landmark case in the Fair Work Commission which sends a strong message to employers on overstepping their boundaries when it comes to workers’ health, privacy and personal time outside of work.

“This is a landmark case for workers throughout QLD and Australia – not only Transport Workers, who we are proud to represent across our state every day – but with implications for all workers, throughout QLD and in fact Australia,” TWU QLD Secretary Peter Biagini said.
“This was an important case that tested what is lawful and reasonable when it comes to directions issued by employers to their employees that invade their personal life,” Rachel Smith, lawyer at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers said.
“Importantly, this case sets a limit on an employer’s ability to interfere with the personal life and privacy of an employee.”
“Many of our members work behind the wheel six days per week and up to fourteen hours per day and have little to no work life balance or time to see their families,” Mr Biagini said.
The TWU vs Cement Australia dispute was arbitrated in the Fair Work Commission by Commissioner Spencer.
The commission reached the conclusion in the workers’ favour after two and a half years of the TWU fighting on members’ behalf and a win achieved for workers together with Maurice Blackburn.
The outcome means that an employer can not direct a group of employees to undertake medical assessment.
It confirmed the employer can not direct an individual to undertake a medical assessment unless the employer has a particular concern on actual facts that an employee can not perform their job.
“No one denies that the safety of workers and minimising the risk of injuries at work is important,” Ms Smith added.
“In this judgement, however, the Commission has ruled that there must be a genuine need for the assessment and it must be relevant to the requirements of the worker’s job.
“In this instance the Commission found that Cement Australia, in seeking to direct a group of workers to undergo health and fitness assessments, did not meet that test. In addition, there was no link between the program and reducing the injury rate.”
Queensland Transport Workers who have issues at work or are unsure of their rights are encouraged to call the TWU.
Media contact:
Maurice Blackburn: Jade Thompson 0417 969 438
Transport Workers Union: Tanie Harris Sansey 0411 875 910 / Sarah Mawhinney 0413 738 841

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