Two instances of employment law have caught my eye in the last week:
In each case the company sacked an employee for violating a corporate code of conduct. Similarly last year Peter Ridd got sacked for violating a university code of conduct.
In each instance the employer has argued that they have to right to set and enforce codes of conduct. BP is explicit:
A BP spokeswoman said on Wednesday that “after careful consideration”. the company was appealing the full bench decision.
“It is important that companies can enforce their codes of conduct.
The spokeswoman said BP had “worked incredibly hard over many years to create a work environment that is based on strong values and behaviours”.
“We have clear expectations for how we work at BP and this applies to all staff, every day. If those expectations are not met, we take appropriate action.”
At the risk of sounding unsympathetic to the notion of employment at will, it seems to me that this is not the legal regime that governs employment law in Australia. In particular employers cannot circumvent employees (other) legal rights by simply unilaterally imposing a code of conduct.
Now if BHP, BP, JCU etc. want to have such a legal regime they should lobby the Parliament.