Franchise Compliance – the increased risk of getting it wrong!

By | Directors | No Comments

Hot on the tail of last year’s changes to the Franchising Code of Conduct aimed at improving transparency and protection to franchisees within the franchising industry, the Federal Government also passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No.6) Bill 2021 which amongst other things results in significant increases in penalties for contraventions of the Franchising Code of Conduct.

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Mandatory Employee Vaccine Update

By | Covid-19 | No Comments

Background:

Currently there is a major focus on the rights and obligations of employers to consider mandating Covid-19 vaccinations for their workforce (particularly those in Sydney and Melbourne). The situation evolves constantly. With the recent announcement that SPC has imposed a mandatory Covid-19 vaccine regime on all manufacturing plant workers and pertinent comments from the Prime Minister and Cabinet, all businesses need to reconsider what is right for their workplace.

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Senior Officers of Franchisors Beware

By | Franchising | No Comments

In February 2019, the Federal Court found car detailing and cleaning franchisor Geowash Pty Ltd in breach of numerous obligations under the Australian Consumer Law. Geowash was ordered to pay $4.2 million in penalties, including individual penalties of $1.045 million against Geowash’s director, and $656,000 against Geowash’s franchising manager. The ACCC began investigating Geowash in 2015 and subsequently launched legal proceedings when it was deemed Geowash was making false and misleading representations and acting unconscionably towards its franchisees.

In contravention of the Franchising Code of Conduct, both the director and franchising manager were ordered to pay a further $1 million as partial redress to franchisees and were subsequently disqualified from managing corporations in Australia for a period of five and four years respectively. They jointly appealed this decision in 2021.

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COVID-19 – Can you require your employees to be vaccinated?

By | Covid-19 | No Comments

The dismissal of front-line care workers who refused the flu vaccination in 2020 has recently been upheld in three separate Fair Work Commission (FWC) decisions. In each case the dismissed employee was working directly with vulnerable and often immunocompromised individuals and as a result employers made flu vaccination mandatory. In each situation the FWC decided that the mandating of the vaccine was a lawful and reasonable direction meaning failure to comply was valid reason for dismissal.

Importantly, in each case employees were given ample time to consider their position and determine whether they would comply with the direction or object to vaccination. In all three cases the employees objected by claiming medical exemption to receipt of the vaccine, specifically that the flu vaccination had medical contraindications (all of which were unsubstantiated).

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Franchising Code of Conduct Reform – Change has Arrived!

By | Franchising | No Comments

After years in the making, the Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes-Franchising) Amendment (Fairness in Franchising) Regulations 2021 was passed today, 1 June 2021, which amends the Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes – Franchising) Regulation 2014, commonly known as the Franchising Code of Conduct (Code).

Despite delays, the Government has kept the 1 July 2021 commencement date for the majority of the substantive changes, leaving very little time for franchisors to get their house in order. The new dispute resolution procedure kicks in even earlier, from 2 June 2021.

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Contractors vs. Employees – Navigating the Minefield

By | Business Structures, Directors, Intellectual Property, Miscellaneous, Professional Services, Start-Ups | No Comments

With the rise of Uber and the sharing economy the status of workers has never been more relevant. We see a major push from businesses toward a flexible contractor based workforce. Whilst we share many of the commercial views that drive this push (e.g. flexible overheads, encouraging workforce participation and providing on-demand services), business owners must exercise caution not to incorrectly characterise a worker as a contractor when in fact they are an employee.

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Restraint of Trade Realities

By | Buying and Selling, Directors, Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property | No Comments

Recently, Solomon Lew’s Just Group commenced action against departed CFO Nicole Peck. Just Group is seeking an injunction to prevent Ms Peck working for competitor, Cotton On, for a period of 24 months. Just Group is arguing that it is likely to suffer loss and damage as a result of the potential disclosure of confidential Ms Peck holds, to the Cotton On Group. Most likely, Just Group will be seeking to rely on some form of restraint of trade clause. Read More