Apart from legislations, there are other instruments imposing legal requirements on employers such as Regulations, Codes of practice, Australian standards, National standards and Industry specific standards and national guidance notes. Since Qantas is in the airlines industry there are also a number of other acts that concern Qantas, some of them include The Transport of Dangerous Goods Act, The Public Health Act, and The Environmental Protection Act. Qantas is also subject to the regulatory control of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (an Australian statutory body)
Burgess and Connell, (2005) suggests that the Occupational Health and Safety legislations have attempted to satisfy a threefold aim: prevention of industrial accidents and health risks, monetary compensation for employees found to have been injured at work, and rehabilitation to assist injured workers and also assist them in returning to work. They further claim that in Australia, the regulations are more fragmented and largely concerned with assigning employees legal responsibilities in terms of OHS and other conditions.
To achieve these OHS objectives, the management and HR manager not only have to establish the rules but their key role would be to achieve active involvement from employees in implementing them since these rules are only going to be better rules only when there is active cooperation and commitment from the employees. The HR manager must be up to date with OHS laws, company’s OHS policies and OHS breach resolution processes and also be able to manage OHS so that regulatory requirements are met and practices in the area are appropriate as OHS is generally classified under the HR department.
Jaselskis (2004) proposes that good OHS performance equates with good legal and social responsibility. Every company must make sure that it is a moral duty to ensure that the work atmosphere is free from unnecessary hazards and that conditions surrounding the workplace are not dangerous to workers, physical or mental health as there are definite bottom-line consequences of physical, social and psychological health for both the employer and the employee.
Teicher (2004) argues that the key advantages of promoting OHS in a company would be increased productivity, decrease in workers compensations, decrease in down-time at work and finally increased efficiency from healthier ; committed workforce. She also claims that the promotion of safety and health at work is first and foremost a matter of efficient human resource management. Whereas the ACTU claims that there could be possibilities of an erosion of working conditions due to the negotiation for wages and also there could be decreased OH;S due to banning of unions on worksites.
Qantas is proud of the company’s championing health and safety management, as the management never had a cost rational approach (where profit is prioritized over employee health and safety to OHS) which would adversely have a derogative effect on OHS standards. The management at Qantas is committed to providing a safe and injury free workplace as the company has pledged to put safety first. Qantas has its own workplace OHS committees which together with state OHS services monitor the workplace & identify possible risks.
Qantas has in place a set of OHS programs which aim to provide world class safety in the workplace. These comprise the S. A. F. E. (Safe Airline for Everyone) OHS management system, People Safe program (behavioural safety), Alcohol & Other Drugs program and Fatigue Management program, integrated under the title of be safe! Over the past four years, be safe! Implementation has saved the company tens of millions of dollars, resulted in a 70 per cent reduction in the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate and generated increased productivity.
Qantas is now a leading international airline in terms of OHS performance and aims to achieve world class standards of safety both in the air and on the ground, integrate people and operational safety into all business activities, have no injuries to anyone at anytime and reduce damage to assets, property and equipment. Unfair dismissal This paragraph will critically evaluate and discuss how the HR manager for the Qantas group seeks to reconcile Federal Unfair Dismissal legislation in order to achieve employer and employee needs.
According to the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (the Act), an unfair dismissal occurs when the employee’s dismissal is ‘harsh, unjust or unreasonable’ (s. 652(1)(b)). For businesses with more than 100 employees, (in our case Qantas) an employee must have been employed for six months before they can pursue an unfair dismissal claim. In addition, where the employment has been terminated because the employer genuinely no longer requires the job to be done, that is, where the employee’s employment has been terminated because of operational requirements it is considered an exception.
There are many categories of employees who are rendered ineligible to make a claim in circumstances where their dismissal is otherwise unfair or unlawful, these include trainees, apprentices and probationers(exceptional in certain circumstances) as they are, by their very nature, temporary employees. A wrongful dismissal claim can be made when the employer is in breach of the employment contract. There are a number of means of appeal for the dismissed employee, including the common law action of wrongful dismissal and the statutory action of unfair dismissal.
In determining if an employee has been unfairly terminated , the Commission(AIRC) will regard a number of factors including: Whether there was a valid reason for the termination; Whether the employee was notified of that reason and given an opportunity to respond; If the termination related to unsatisfactory performance by the employee, whether the employee had previously been warned about that unsatisfactory performance; The degree to which the size of the employer’s business, or the absence of dedicated human resource management specialists, may have had an impact on the termination procedures.
With the new Unfair dismissal legislations if any worker feels that he has been terminated unjustly then he is entitled to receive up to $4,000 of independent legal advice. The Federal Government has used it’s corporation’s power to enable legislations that govern the circumstances of employment with corporations, an area conventionally regulated by the state governments Most of the awards ; agreements have provisions for termination, even the probation period has increased from 3 to 6 months giving the employer more time to decide on the efficiency of the employee and not worry about unfair dismissal.
The key disadvantages of the management practising unfair dismissals are they will reduce job security among other employees, there is scope for the company losing its reputation and also the company losing huge amounts in terms of compensations paid to the employees who have been successful in their unfair dismissal claims with the AIRC, as well as the legal costs associated with these issues.
At Qantas the company’s ethical standing has a great influence on their conduct in regards to unfair dismissal claims as the company has never lost a claim in unfair dismissal in the last 2 years which proves that the HR manager at Qantas has been complying with the laws relating to anti discrimination. Anti Discrimination legislation, Equal Employment Opportunities and Affirmative Action legislation
This paragraph will critically evaluate and discuss how the HR manager for the Qantas group seeks to reconcile Federal Anti Discrimination legislation, Equal Employment Opportunities and Affirmative Action legislation, in order to achieve both the employer’s and employee’s needs. Equal opportunity legislation in Australia covers Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act (1986) Equal Employment Opportunity (Cth Authorities) Act (1987) (Cth) the Sex Discrimination Act (1984) (Cth) and the Affirmative Action Act (1986).
Australia’s unique Affirmative Action Act was underpinned by legislation in 1986 (later replaced by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999), it is about achieving equal employment opportunity for women, the aim of this act was to systematically eliminate any barriers which restrict employment and promotion opportunities for women in the workplace via employer action. Equal employment opportunity for women was introduced in response to women’s disadvantaged workforce position.
This legislative scheme grew from recognition of women’s increasing participation but their unequal position in the workforce. The act also stipulated that employers with more than 100 employees in the private sector should make an annual report outlining their affirmative action initiatives to the affirmative action agency. Sheridan (2005) claims that the aim was twofold: firstly, removal of sex discrimination in the workplace, and secondly, to ensure employment opportunities were improved for women. Nankervis et al.
, (2003) states that Equal employment opportunity is considered to be a fundamental and individual right, regardless of race, sex and marital status Davis ; Lansbury (2002) state that the conventional wisdom behind E. E. O is that it will bring rewards and also advance business success. The EEO legislation in fact reinforces the system of merit theoretically embodied in most employment practices in which the most suitable person, with the most appropriate experience, and with the right testimonials, should be employed in the job.
Equal Opportunity is a key thing to improve the employee motivation and satisfaction. Workers lose their trust if they are treated less favorable than someone else in the same or similar situation because of an irrelevant characteristic thereby influencing the work environment. The key advantages of these acts are that everyone can work without being distracted by unfair and unproductive behavior, It allows for diversity of the workplace, Reduces the need to seek legal advice and attend court for determinations, will ensure that the best person gets the job, finally benefits everyone in the organization,
Other principal enactments are the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 which prohibits discrimination in employment on the grounds of race, color, language spoken and ethnic origin which is administered through the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) which proscribes direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy and in addition it also prohibits sexual harassment and dismissal on the ground of family responsibilities and administered through the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 proscribes the elimination of discrimination in relation to people with various physical and intellectual disabilities, as well as proscribing the harassment of people with disabilities, The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 Cth is an act that sets up commissions and systems and procedures through which sex and racial discrimination Act are administered.
The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 Cth requires that all private sector company’s in Australia with more than 100 employees and all higher education institutions implement affirmative action programs for the employment of women. The Federal Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) makes it illegal for an employer to retire a worker on the basis of age. Anti-discrimination legislation has been enacted at the federal level and in all states, beginning in 1975.
This legislation seeks to redress essentially individual cases of discrimination after they have occurred, and covers complaints on grounds such as sex, race, ethnicity, religion, family status, sexuality and disability. Sexual harassment in employment is specifically made unlawful under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984. Recent legislations now specifically defines and prohibits workplace bullying or bastardization in all states as it could constitute a breach of the employers duty of care under the OHS legislation and indirectly affect workers compensation claims(stress), unfair dismissal(bullied employee feels compelled to resign).
All these acts outlaw workplace discrimination against disadvantaged groups such as women and immigrants. The HR manager needs to set up certain policies which deal with Anti Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action legislations since it is his responsibility that every employee gets equal opportunity and is not discriminated in the company.