4 September The spousal conundrum: Refusing to employ someone's spouse September 4, 2018 By Reef Admin Fair Work Act, General 0 Is it discrimination to refuse to employ someone because their husband or wife works for a competitor? Let’s find out. Consider this scenario. You’re looking to employ a new sales representative. You select the person that’s most ideally suited for the position. But after doing a reference check, you discover the spouse of your selected candidate works for your biggest competitor! You feel there’s a real danger of your agency’s clients being exposed and you decide to withdraw the offer of employment to the candidate. Is this discrimination? Could you be leaving your agency open to action under the general protections provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009? In this scenario, the job candidate was rejected for reasons specifically relating to the spouse; i.e. employment of the spouse with a competitor could create a conflict of interest. An extended meaning of “marital status” in discrimination legislation to include the characteristics of a person’s spouse has generally been rejected by courts and tribunals. It doesn’t extend to the identity or situation of one’s spouse and therefore no discrimination would occur. However, it would be discrimination if a person is not hired due to the perceived stereotypes relating to that person’s marital status. If in doubt … If your business is confronted with a similar situation relating to marital status, call the REEF Helpline on 1300 616 170 to discuss the matter with one of our Workplace Relations Advisors. Related Real Estate Industry Award: Out with the old, in with the new After a long battle, the Fair Work Commission has now finalised the four-year award review and the new Real Estate Industry Award will commence on 2 April 2018. Here's what you need to know before the changes kick in. Buying an agency? You need to understand employee entitlements The sale of a real estate agency is something most business owners will face at some point. Here are some things to be aware of when it comes to employee entitlements. Court finds 15km post-employment restraint reasonable One of the most common problems faced by real estate employers is what to do to protect the commercial goodwill of the business from exploitation by ex-employees. REEF's Workplace Relations Advisor, Laura Clark, examines this all to common problem and details a recent Supreme Court case where a real estate employer successfully had a post-employment restraint upheld. Post-employment breach costs new employer A recent decision by the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia marks new territory in the scale of remedy for post-employment breaches with a new employer hit with a $6.5 million order. Counting down the days: Employee absence during a probation period How does an employee's absence during their probation period affect their ability to bring an unfair dismissal claim? Does it extend their probation period or Minimum Period of Employment? Challenging an employee's post-employment conduct Before challenging a former employee's post-employment conduct, you have to be sure your own house is in order. One employer found out the hard way. Comments are closed.