HCA: Employment Relationships (contracts)

WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2021] HCA 23

Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union v Personnel Contracting Pty Ltd [2022] HCA 1

ZG Operations Australia Pty Ltd v Jamasek [2022] HCA 2

In WorkPac the High Court determined the issue of whether the employee was a casual or not by reference to “enforceable terms, and not unenforceable expectations or understandings“.

The two recent matters of whether the persons were employees or independent contractors were determined by focusing on the written agreement, and not the “expansive approach” of the “substance and reality” of the relationship, including the parties dealings with one another and “disparity in bargaining power”.

The plurality of the High Court stated that the “expansive approach” was an “unjustified departure from orthodox contractual analysis” in considering the character of the relationship.

David Cormack 

Brisbane Barrister and Mediator

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