The Fair Work Amendment Act 2012 (FWAA) was assented to on 4 December 2012, and came into partial effect on 1 January 2013. The legislative changes were made in response to industry demands, and relate to unfair dismissals, general protections and enterprise agreements.
A recent Federal Court decision has thrown a spanner in the works. The spanner in this analogy is the finding that all employment contracts imply a duty of mutual trust and confidence. The works is anyone who is party, either as an employer or an employee, to an employment contract who is trying to comprehend the implications of this decision.
In Barker v Commonwealth Bank of Australia  FCA 942, the Federal Court awarded Mr Barker $315,700 in damages after finding that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) had breached a duty that was previously unrecognised in Australian employment law. The single Judge Besanko J recognised that Mr Barker was entitled to damages for loss of chance to be redeployed due to the CBA’s breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence by acting in serious breach of its stated redeployment policy.