Employer obligations in Australia -
A closer look at business and individual liability
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A broad field of obligations and implications
There are many obligations that arise in an employment relationship. Of course an employer should look after their employees, it makes complete sense both ethically and commercially. Employees are often the face of the employer's enterprise and are integral to the commercial endeavours of the employer. A failure to adequately ensure that employees are provided with both a safe place of work and their lawful entitlements is something that all those involved in the enterprise should be thinking about.
Boards, decision makers within the employer, those with managerial roles and companies that engage contractors are all exposed to personal liability in various forms for the employees that are performing work within the enterprise
Hard earned reputations are also at stake with the media and regulators both taking an active role in exposing those who have fallen short of perceived or actual obligations. Recent media coverage of underpayments by 7-Eleven franchisees follows 7 years of compliance initiatives between 7-Eleven and the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).1 Similar reputational issues have arisen from claims made against major retail and professional services organisations over the past decade.
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