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Welcome to our November collection of articles and ideas for clever business owners and operators.

In this edition read our spotlight on employees of negligent bosses, the importance of carefully preparing and keeping minutes of board meetings and, as the festive season fast approaches, we provide a few key tips for minimising risk as you prepare for your end-of-work function.

Spotlight on Employees of Negligent Bosses 

Quite rightly, there is a stronger focus from the government and legislators to protect the underdog with a spotlight on employees at the moment. To just list a few significant legislative improvements over the last decade:

  • Brodies Law was introduced in 2011 to prevent employees bullying each other.
  • Unfair contract terms legislation that was introduced around November 2016 to protect consumers and the weaker parties against large companies. 
  • More recently, the Labour Hire Licensing scheme that came into effect last month to protect Victorian workers.

On Tuesday last week, further proposed legislation relating to workplace manslaughter laws was presented by the Victorian state government where negligent bosses could face up to 20 years in jail and $16 million in fines over the suicide deaths of their workers. The proposed laws will cover deaths caused by mental injuries, including trauma from bullying or other forms of abuse, sustained on the job as well as accidents and illnesses caused by unsafe workplaces. 

Click here
to read a recent news article about this proposed legislation.

Employers carry many great responsibilities. Make sure your workplace policies and procedures as well as your employment contracts are up to date and promote safe workplaces.

Who can be bothered! – The importance of carefully preparing and keeping Minutes of Board Meetings

Generally speaking, the formal written record of decisions by a Board of Directors is the signed Minutes of a Board Meeting. 

WAIT… I know this sounds dull but bear with me, it’s important. Sure, you may be thinking: complete snoozeville… who can be bothered, we have more important things to worry about… like actually running our business! 

Whilst perhaps true, by failing to give adequate care to the preparation of Minutes of Board meetings, directors could potentially expose the company to risks of claims by shareholders later on and potentially even regulatory penalties. Further, some agreements a company enters into may in fact require formal ratification by a company’s board of directors, and thus failing to attend to this matter could place the company in breach of its contractual obligations. Failing to attend to such formalities may also (in some circumstances) be in breach of a company’s constitution.

Read our full blog post here

The Silly Season and How to Survive It – The Legal Perspective

As the festive season fast approaches here are few key tips for minimising risk as you prepare for your end-of-year work function:

  • Update policies and provide training at least annually 
  • Send an organisation wide email before an event, reiterating the firm’s policies (e.g. sexual harassment, bullying, social media) and the importance of appropriate behaviour
  • Have clear start and finish times for your event
  • Ensure responsible service of alcohol, even if at a licensed venue
  • Nominate 1-2 people to act in the role of “Fun Police” ensuring early intervention. Engage leaders and ensure they know their responsibilities
  • Have a clear message about what events are sanctioned by your organisation e.g. do not implicitly or explicitly sanction “after-party” events
  • Do not hold at a remote location, ensure people can get home safely
  • If an incident occurs, investigate immediately, don’t delay

I'm Just a Man 3 - Mental Health Awareness Gala

The 'I'm Just A Man' Gala Dinner gathering, raises awareness and funds for men's mental health on the night of Michael Hutchences' 22nd year anniversary since his passing.

"I’m Just a Man", was inspired by Dr Jim Skivalidas when he lost his livelihood and then almost his life. So impacted by this moment, Dr Jim banded together with an impassioned and dedicated group of strangers to bring this event to life.

The objective to inspire others to join in a glittering night of recognition when we can raise our glasses and lift our minds to pay respect to all the men who have killed themselves or tried.

Details: Friday 22nd November 2019, The Park, 36 Lakeside Dr, Albert Park

For more information or to buy tickets click here

Thanks again for reading. If you have any queries or would like to discuss any legal issues please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. 
Yours sincerely,
Rob Roy Rankin

p: +61 422 736 206   l    f: +61 3 9923 6970
e:   l

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Copyright © 2019 Rankin Business Lawyers, All rights reserved.

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