Sealing the deal: When is a settlement reached?

Ellen Davis, Associate

A recent decision of the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission demonstrates that while the parties may be confident a deal has been struck, the communications between the parties will be essential in determining, objectively, whether an intention existed to make a concluded and binding settlement.

Background

The Applicant, a 77-year-old with 34 years of unblemished service with the Respondent was dismissed based on his failure to follow safety policies, procedures and guidelines while working in a safety critical location, causing significant risk of harm to himself, his team and members of the public. The Applicant disputed the dismissal.

Prior to the matter being heard, the Applicant and Respondent’s representatives engaged in settlement negotiations and it was said that an agreement to settle was reached in principle. The hearing was vacated, with leave to apply for it to be restored should the parties not be able to agree upon the deed. The Applicant disputed that a binding settlement had been reached between the parties and submitted that the Respondent had made a counter offer which he did not accept.

Offer to Settle

The Applicant proposed to settle on the following terms:

  1. the Applicant would be re-employed;
  2. upon re-employment, the Applicant would perform administrative tasks only;
  3. unless required by the Respondent, the Applicant would not perform any work which would attract overtime and/or penalty rates; and
  4. the Applicant was not to receive any back pay or benefits for the period between termination of employment and re-employment.

The Respondent accepted the offer, subject to further qualifications provided in a draft deed for the Applicant’s review. The qualifications specified:

  1. re-employment was subject to the passing of a medical assessment (the “First Qualification”);
  2. the Applicant was excluded from working at any safety critical environments (the “Second Qualification”); and
  3. the settlement would be subject to confidentiality (the “Third Qualification”).

The Applicant was of the view that the qualifications did not constitute an acceptance and he sought to relist the matter for a hearing.

The Decision

In resolving whether the matter was settled and the Applicant was precluded from having the matter heard, the Full Bench made the following comments about when an agreement is reached. Acceptance:

  1. corresponds to an offer if it is an unequivocal acceptance of the terms offered;
  2. is not an unequivocal acceptance of the terms offered if it deviates from the offer, even if that deviation is not material or important. However, as a qualification to this principle, if a new term is included in a purported acceptance of an offer and the new term is solely for the benefit of the offeror, then this can constitute a valid acceptance;
  3. will be effective if it does not depart from the terms of the offer, but simply repeats in the offeree’s own words the effect of the offer; and
  4. will be effective if it sets out expressly what would be implied by law in the absence of express agreement. For example, an offer may contemplate that, were it to be accepted, a document would be prepared to record its terms.

Similarly, if a purported acceptance of an offer merely includes the “machinery of working out what was meant by the offer” it does not revoke the offer and may constitute acceptance of the offer.

Ultimately, the question was whether a “reasonable recipient of the acceptance would have regarded it as corresponding to the offer or whether they would have taken the acceptance to be…such that it would amount to a counter offer, or at any rate not an unconditional acceptance of what was originally offered”1 .

The Full Bench considered the Respondent’s three qualifications to the Applicant’s offer. The First Qualification was held as a term capable of being implied. The Second Qualification was held not to be solely for the benefit of the Applicant and deviated from the offer proposed by the Applicant. The Third Qualification deviated from the Applicant’s original offer of settlement.

In addition, the Full Bench held that confidentiality was primarily for the benefit of the Respondent and that there was reason to believe that the Applicant would have wanted to disclose to his colleagues upon his return to work, his dismissal and re-employment. In these circumstances, it could not be said that confidentiality of the settlement was a term that “went without saying”.

As the second and third qualifications proposed new terms that where not for the benefit of the Applicant, the Full Bench held that the Respondent’s purported acceptance of the offer was not effective and there was no binding agreement to settle.

Key takeaways

  • A binding agreement will not be reached unless acceptance is unequivocal, leaving no terms left to be negotiated.
  • A variation to negotiated terms or proposal of an additional term can constitute acceptance provided the variation or additional term is solely for the benefit of the offeror.
  • The communications between the parties are relevant when determining their intention to enter into an in-principle agreement to settle.

 


Mr Subeg Singh v Sydney Trains [2017] FWC 4015

Not an easy ride: worker told to “hit the road” after a rude gesture

Erin Lynch, Director

Your Company Code of Conduct reads:

“Social Media Activity that contains discriminatory, obscene, malicious or threatening content, is knowingly false, create [sic] a hostile work environment, or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and will be subject to discipline up to an [sic] including termination of employment.”

You are out cycling in the early hours of the morning and the President and his motorcade pass you by. You (not being fond of the President) stick your middle finger up at him. Hours later, your friends are commenting on Facebook that they recognise you in a photo that has been taken of you in the “act”. You make the photo your Facebook cover photo and Twitter profile picture.

The next day, at your part-time job, you find out that they are receiving emails about you and members of the public are telling your employer to terminate your employment (they know you work there because your Facebook profile lists it).

Taking this into account, you think it best to notify your manager at your place of work. You do this knowing that there is nothing connecting you to the organisation. You weren’t wearing any clothing that connected you with the company and none of your social media accounts list the Company as your place of work. The only connection is your LinkedIn profile.

To your surprise you are taken into a room and your engagement is terminated. You are escorted from the building with your personal belongings in a box. The Company is asserting that you have breached the terms of the Code of Conduct above.

This scenario describes the recent experience of Juli Briskman in Northern Virginia. The “act” has cost the 50-year-old marketing executive her job.

To add to the above circumstances, Juli had recently raised (while undertaking her duties monitoring the Company’s social media presence) that a senior director had publicly said, in relation to a political topic on Facebook (where his profile identifies him as an employee of the Company), “you’re a (expletive) Libtard a——,”. However, this (male) employee remains employed.

If the Company had acted this way in Australia it may find itself in “hot water” over the dismissal. The worker may have at her disposal a number of claims, including an unfair dismissal claim, a general protections claim or a discrimination claim.

In respect of an unfair dismissal claim (subject to her meeting the eligibility criteria) the termination may be harsh and unjust, particularly in circumstances where employees who have engaged in similar (if not worse) behaviour have remained employed. Additionally, it appears that there was nothing connecting Juli and the Company and the Company’s awareness of the issue was only as a result of Juli being upfront about her actions.

A general protections or discrimination claim may be commenced on the basis that the Company has discriminated (or engaged in adverse action) on the basis of sex (given the differential treatment of the male employee).

There is also the potential for a claim that argues that the actions taken by the Company impinge on the expression of a political opinion.

While it is not uncommon for organisations to react swiftly to situations that may give rise to adverse publicity and it may be necessary to do so, any reaction should be measured and proportionate to the impact on the organisation’s business. This includes a consideration of:

  • the impact of the conduct on the Company’s reputation;
  • how the Company may have addressed similar conduct in the past; and 
  • whether this is a “one off” incident, taking into account the employee’s employment history.

New complaints handling processes in the federal anti-discrimination jurisdiction

David Weiler, Associate

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights’ enquiry into freedom of speech in Australia did not reach a consensus on any reforms to s18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth). However it did recommend a range of procedural changes to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s processes for handling complaints, aimed at raising the threshold for complaints and strengthening the powers of the Commission to deal with unmeritorious complaints. Many of these recommendations have now been enacted through amendments to the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth).

The threshold for complaints

The amendments increase the threshold for complaints by requiring complainants to detail, as fully as practicable, the alleged acts, omissions and practices that form the basis of the alleged unlawful discrimination. The intent of the new requirement is that complaints should contain more than bare allegations of unlawful discrimination and should sufficiently substantiate why the alleged conduct constitutes unlawful discrimination. The higher threshold gives the Commission greater capacity to make an initial assessment of whether the complaint has any merit at the time it is lodged, and to dismiss those complaints that are unmeritorious before the complaints handling process is instituted.

Termination of complaints

Another significant aspect of these amendments is the circumstances in which the Commission is required, or has a discretion, to terminate complaints. The new category of circumstances in which it is mandatory for the Commission to terminate a complaint includes:

  • the complaint is trivial, vexatious, misconceived or lacking in substance;
  • there is no reasonable prospect of the matter being settled by conciliation; or
  • if the President is satisfied that there would be no reasonable prospect that the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court would be satisfied that the alleged acts, omissions or practices are unlawful discrimination

In addition, the time frame for the discretionary termination of complaints has been reduced from 12 months to 6 months.Where a complaint is terminated, the President must notify the complainants in writing of the termination and of the reasons for the termination, and this notification must include a statement explaining that the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit Court can award costs in proceedings.

Leave of the Court

The amendments have also added a new requirement for leave of the Court to be granted for applications filed in the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court alleging unlawful discrimination following the termination of complaints in certain circumstances. Leave is not required where the President of the Commission considers the subject matter of the complaint involves an issue of public importance that should be dealt with by the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court, or where the complaint was terminated on the basis that there was no reasonable prospect of the matter being settled by conciliation.

Please contact a member of the PCS team if you require assistance in working through these new processes.

International Women’s Day: Women at Work in 2017

Michael Starkey, Associate 

With International Women’s Day falling this week, PCS thought it an opportune time to take a look at some of the issues impacting upon women in Australian workplaces in 2017:

  • the gender pay gap;
  • domestic and family violence leave; and
  • sexual harassment.

While domestic and family violence and sexual harassment are issues that also affect men, they are topics being addressed in the media with a particular focus on women.

The gender pay gap

Newly published research by Accenture has suggested that women in developed markets are still over 60 years from closing the gender pay gap, with this unlikely to occur until around 2080. Its survey of 28,000 women and women in 29 countries found that, on average, a woman earns US$100 to every US$140 earned by a man.

In spite of these statistics, Accenture found that initiatives to close the gender pay gap could have a significant impact by 2030, if implemented now.

Socially responsible employers should think about how they can contribute by promoting:

  • “digital fluency: the extent to which people use digital technologies to connect, learn and work;
  • career strategy: the need for women to aim high, make informed choices and manage their careers proactively; and
  • tech immersion: the opportunity for women to acquire greater technology and stronger digital skills to advance as quickly as men.”

Click here to access Accenture’s full report.

Domestic and family violence leave

In 2016, Queensland became the first State to implement paid domestic and family violence leave for its workers in the public sector. This has been followed by a push by several State premiers for the provision of such leave in the National Employment Standards.

Employers need not wait until domestic and family violence leave is legislated to take action and become part of the movement to meaningfully address the cultural issue that is domestic and family violence. A number of organisations, particularly in the not-for-profit sector, have already implemented paid domestic and family violence leave through enterprise agreements. Employers who feel unable to take a step as significant as this may consider providing similar leave benefits on a discretionary basis in support of individual employees.

Sexual harassment

Despite legislation making sexual harassment unlawful being in place at a Federal level since 1984, 2016 research conducted by the Young Workers Centre indicates that sexual harassment, remains a prevalent issue in Australian workplaces.

The Young Workers Centre’s Health and Safety Snapshot reported, based on interviews and surveys conducted with over 1,000 Australian workers aged between 15 and 24, that sexual harassment in the workplace is “commonplace, unaddressed and preventable”. The Snapshot found that young people, particularly young women, experience sexual harassment from their bosses, co-workers and customers, and that some believed that sexual harassment was “normalised” or treated by their employer as a “non-issue”.

Evidently, employers must do more to address sexual harassment in their workplaces. This not only requires that employers have effective policies in place, but that employees are educated and trained in these policies, and that, more broadly, a culture of civility and respect is promoted from the top down.

Click here to access the Young Workers Centre’s full report.

​‘Tis the season for not so jolly injuries

Benjamin Urry, Associate Director 

Christmas – the season for warmer weather, social catch-ups and end of year work functions.

Christmas – also the season of urgent deadlines, completing tasks to go on leave that little bit earlier, and perhaps not surprisingly the season of increased work health and safety incidents.

Work health and safety (WHS) – what’s not on Santa’s list

With the festive season upon us, businesses sensibly remind workers about the need to drink responsibly and treat other workers with respect to avoid bullying, discrimination and harassment issues. However, what is all too commonly left off Santa’s “workplace checklist” is the management of work health and safety risks.

Statistically speaking, the last two months of the calendar year result in the most work health and safety incidents. By way of example, just under half of all workplace fatalities in Victoria in 2015 occurred in that brief lead up to the end of year holidays.

Despite these statistics, many businesses either don’t have sufficient practical and legal measures in place to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of its workers. This may include continuing to use outdated policies and procedures applying old laws (“old” being pre-2011) which may result in a higher contractual liability. Alternatively, businesses may solely rely on “paper only” systems as opposed to systems which are flexibly designed to accommodate changing WHS risk profiles in the business.

Changes in 2011-2012 to WHS – the item left in the bottom of the stocking

In all States and Territories except Victoria and Western Australia, work/occupational health and safety laws were overhauled in 2011-2012 to provide for a more uniform national system. As a result of these changes, businesses needed to ensure that they were across the changes, including policy updates and better training for a broader range of workers beyond just employees (such as contractors who under WHS laws are considered workers).

However, in our experience many businesses are either not across these changes and rely on outdated policies and procedures or made some progress with implementing the required changes but have put them into the “I’ll get back to it later” basket.

Putting WHS on Santa’s list

With penalties at the levels set out in below table, increased safety risks associated with end of year functions or workers taking short cuts in the end of year rush, now is the time to initiate or finish those updates to your WHS policies, procedures and training.

A checklist of some of the items we would recommend as a minimum requiring attention is set out below:

  1. Update/prepare WHS policies and procedures, including the mandatory issues resolution policy (failure of which is a breach of WHS laws).
  2. Think about arrangements with contractors and other third parties and ensure they are required to comply with WHS obligations, including consulting with your business about WHS. This may necessitate an update to contractual terms.
  3. Train workers, managers and officers on their WHS obligations. This can be done separately or in conjunction with any end of year bullying, harassment and discrimination training. However, if this is the first time these persons are being trained on current WHS laws, separate training is recommended.
  4. Have appropriate systems in place to deal with incidents should they arise, including reporting chains and how to respond to investigations by safety regulators.

If you would like further information on the above or assistance reviewing or preparing WHS policies, procedures or training please contact a member of the PCS Legal Team.

​“The contract is not enough”: having a valid reason for dismissal

Michael Starkey, Associate

Imagine…

You’re at the end of your tether. For months on end, one of your employees, Steve, has failed to treat his colleagues with respect, failed to organise his time and concentrate on his work while at work, and failed to ensure his work complies with regulatory requirements.

You take a look at Steve’s contract. It allows you to terminate his employment without specifying a reason, as long as you provide him with four weeks’ notice. “Too easy”, you think. You call Steve to a meeting and tell him the company is paying him his notice period and letting him go today. You give him no further explanation, and tell him you don’t have to. Steve can’t believe it, but cleans out his desk, and leaves the office. Later that day, you discover pornographic material on the company phone and laptop Steve left behind. You feel even happier with your decision.

Six months later, it’s you who can’t believe it. Steve has won his claim for unfair dismissal. Among other things, the Fair Work Commission’s judgment says there was no valid reason for the termination of Steve’s employment. Now, your company has to pay him $10,000 in compensation. You wonder… “Where did I go wrong?”

The case

The scenario above is based on a recent case (“Croft”) which demonstrates that employers should not act on a termination with notice provision in a contract to terminate employment “carte blanche”, without providing a reason. This is because such provisions need to be considered in the context of Australia’s broader workplace relations system, which provides employees with access to statutory remedies if their employment is terminated in certain ways or in particular circumstances.

As was held in Croft: “a dismissal without identified reason but reliant upon a purported contractual entitlement to dismiss without reason, provided that notice or payment in lieu of notice was made, would plainly subvert the statutory unfair dismissal laws [which require a valid reason for dismissal related to an employee’s performance or conduct]… In the Australian jurisdiction there is no lawful foundation upon which employment can be created at will.”

Key takeaways

  • In Croft, the employer’s concerns about the employee’s conduct and performance could have been valid reasons for termination, if they had been explicitly relied on, in the right circumstances. However, employers who have concerns about an employee’s performance or conduct should ensure that the employee knows about these concerns (and has an opportunity to remedy them) well in advance of any resulting termination of employment.
  • Further, employers should clearly state the reason an employee’s employment is being terminated in the termination letter. Well drafted termination letters can serve as useful evidence in the event of any claim (whether for unfair dismissal or another cause of action, such as a general protections claim).
  • Interestingly, while Croft reaffirms the established position that misconduct that comes to light after a termination can be relied on as a reason for termination, it was held that, in this instance, the employer was unable to justify the dismissal based on its discovery of pornographic material on the employee’s company laptop and phone. This was partly because there was no policy regulating employees’ use of company equipment, again reinforcing the value of properly implemented policy documentation.

Lunch not included: What is “work” for the purposes of reasonable additional hours?

A recent case involving claims made by three individuals (the “Applicants“) against their former employer (the “Company“) has shed further light on what will constitute “reasonable additional hours”.

The Applicants were not covered by any award or enterprise agreement during their employment with the Company and each of the Applicants had signed employment contracts with the following clauses:

Hours of Work

Your hours of work are those that are reasonably necessary to fulfil the requirements of your role, or such hours as are required by the Company. Core business hours are 8.30 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday. In addition, you may be requested to work rostered overtime or on-call periods from time-to-time by the Company.

Rate of Pay

Your salary will be […] dollars per annum, inclusive of superannuation. Your salary includes compensation for all hours that you are required to work.

The Applicants were directed to attend the Company’s offices Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm and provided with a one hour lunch break each day.

Maximum weekly hours under the NES

The National Employment Standards (“NES“) under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provide that an employer must not require a full-time employee to work more than 38 hours per week unless the additional hours are “reasonable”.

The NES also sets out the factors that must be taken into account in determining the reasonableness of any additional hours of work. One of these factors is “whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime payments, penalty rates or other compensation for, or a level of remuneration that reflects an expectation of, working additional hours”.

Claim for overtime

The Applicants claimed they each worked an average of 45 hours per week (including lunch breaks), which is seven hours above the notion maximum of 38 hours per week. The Applicants argued that this arrangement was in breach of the NES and also sought payment for overtime on the basis of seven additional hours per week.

However, the Federal Court found that:

  • the Applicants’ unpaid lunch breaks did not count as time worked, and therefore the Applicants in fact worked an average of 40 hours each week;
  • the two additional hours (involved in the 40 hours per week) were “reasonable”, having regard to the factors set out in the NES; and
  • the Applicants had no entitlement to overtime under their contracts of employment in respect of the additional hours of work.

The Court therefore found that the Company had not breached the NES and dismissed the claim for overtime.

Lessons for Employers

  • Unpaid lunch breaks will not generally count as time worked for the purposes of the “maximum weekly hours” provision under the NES.
  • Requiring an employee to work two additional hours per week may be “reasonable” for the purposes of the NES.
  • Where appropriate, employment contracts should specify that the employee is required to work reasonable additional hours and that the salary paid to the employee includes compensation for such work.

Legal Professional Privilege: What is it and why is it important?

A lot of lawyers talk about “legal professional privilege” or “client legal privilege” and while this may sound like legal jargon that Harvey from Suits would use to impress a judge, privilege is a fundamental legal concept in Australia. This blog will briefly explain what legal professional privilege is and why it can be important for an organisation.

What is it and why does it exist?

Legal professional privilege is designed to preserve from disclosure confidential legal communications, and confidential documents, prepared for the dominant purpose of legal advice or litigation (actual or contemplated). In some circumstances, confidential third party communications can also be protected. This facilitates a free exchange of information between legal practitioner and the client, so that the client can be properly advised, without fear of potentially prejudicial information being disclosed at a later date. This in turn assists the efficient administration of justice and public interest overall.

What you need to know

For legal professional privilege to be established there must be a lawyer and a client, confidential communications or documents, which are created for the dominant purpose of legal advice or actual or anticipated litigation.

1.  Who are the lawyer and the client? 

There must be a professional relationship between lawyer and a client. Lawyers include all solicitors, barristers and in-house lawyers, provided they are acting independently and in a legal capacity. The client includes the person or body who engages the lawyer, as well as a corporate client’s employees or agents who are responsible for obtaining the relevant legal assistance.

2.  What are confidential communications or documents?

For privilege to apply, the relevant communications or documents must be confidential. This means there must be an express or implied obligation not to disclose the contents of the document or communication. Widely circulating legal advice throughout an organisation rather than containing it to those who “need to know”, for example, may indicate that a document is not confidential.

3.  What is the dominant purpose test?

Confidential communications and documents are privileged if they are created for the dominant purpose of the provision of legal advice or legal services relating to litigation. In everyday terms, the dominant purpose is the most influential reason for the creation of the document or communication. Simply labelling a document “privileged” or engaging a lawyer will not, without further consideration, be enough to attract privilege.

Why is it important for your organisation?

There are many situations that may arise in an organisation where it is desirable to obtain legal assistance and the benefits of legal professional privilege, for example, where a complaint is made by an employee or a health and safety incident has occurred.

The obvious benefit is that communications and documents attracting privilege retain their confidentiality and need not be disclosed, unless privilege is waived. This is particularly important in circumstances where the information is about matters that could bring the organisation into disrepute or is of a highly sensitive nature for example, sexual harassment investigations, executive terminations or confidential restructures.

In doing so, the organisation is able to protect itself against the possibility of this information being exposed to a third party and any repercussions this may have for the organisation, including damaging the corporate reputation or exposure in the media.

Turning a Blind Eye to Sexual Harassment

Elizabeth Kenny, Associate

Most organisations have policies and procedures around discriminatory behaviour and sexual harassment by employees and are aware of their own obligations in preventing discrimination and harassment. However, many organisations are less familiar with the question of potential liability where a customer or client acts in a discriminatory or harassing manner to their employees.

Under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (the “SD Act”), it is unlawful for any person to sexually harass another in the course of seeking or receiving the provision goods, services or facilities from another person. This imposes an obligation on the customer or client to refrain from sexually harassing employees, but the employer is not technically vicarious liable for such conduct.

What is less well known is that employers (or anyone) who “causes, instructs, induces, aids or permits” another person to do an act that is unlawful under the SD Act may be found liable for the conduct. In these circumstances, if an employer is aware of sexually harassing behaviour by others that affects their employees and does not take all reasonable steps to stop that behaviour, then it may be construed that the employer is permitting the person to engage in acts that are unlawful under the SD Act.

In addition, employers also have an obligation under work health and safety laws to ensure the health and safety of workers. An employer may be captured under this regime if the sexual harassing behaviour causes a risk to the health and safety of a worker or group of workers and the employer has not taken steps to eliminate these risks.

Recently, a Bunnings Warehouse store in Melbourne banned a number of tradesmen from its stores due to sexual harassment of a staff member. The female employee complained to management about the sexual harassment of certain tradesmen shopping at the store and Bunnings reacted by banning the tradies.

Such actions are indicative of an approach that does not turn a “blind eye” but rather faces the situation head on and takes decisive action. Employers may also wish to consider inclusion of procedures for dealing with sexually harassing conduct by customers or clients in their workplace behaviour policies and training sessions.

If you think that your organisation will benefit from a review of your workplace behaviour policies or wish to implement one in your organisation, please contact PCS.

Embracing Diversity Creates A Stronger Workplace

David Weiler, Associate

In celebration of the Mardi Gras season that has just swept Sydney, we take a moment to reflect on the positive impact that embracing diversity can have on your workplace. In our most recent edition of Strateg-Eyes we explored how employers can face the challenges associated with a diverse workplace in a manner that allows for inclusiveness and happier employees (this article was subsequently republished on Wolters Kluwer’s Employment Chat Blog). In the same issue, Senior Associate James Zeng demonstrated how diversity allows companies to approach issues from different angles, which in turn can drive innovation.

At the very core of diversity is the appreciation that each and every employee brings a different background and set of values to their work. In this sense, it is in the best interest of employers to recruit people who are able to offer something unique while at the same time are willing to embrace a culture of diversity.

Top employers around the country realise the need to move away from homogeny and many have taken considerable steps to highlight their specific approach to recruitment and the role diversity plays in their business. For example, Pride in Diversity is group dedicated to assisting organisations across all sectors “to develop and sustain workplace cultures in which sexual and gender diversity is not only accepted, but is affirmed and celebrated.”

In furthering this cause, Pride in Diversity publishes the Australian National Recruitment Guide (“ANRG”) each year which showcases organisations around the country that are engaged in LGBTI workplace inclusion. The 2015 edition of the ANRG includes various banking/financial institutions, legal and professional services as well as mining and resource sector employers demonstrating a diverse group of industries embracing diversity. The ANRG gives graduates and other jobseekers a snap shot of national employers that have taken initiatives to increase diversity as well as providing them with the confidence to be themselves during interviews.

The groundswell in support from large organisations to make diversity an important part of their hiring strategy and culture suggests considerable progress for equality in the workplace. However, a company can only be as “diverse” as its leaders and for an organisation to truly harness the potential of its individuals, it must practice what it preaches when choosing its executive team. We work with companies to reflect on their needs as a business, including how to establish and maintain a breadth of experience through a diverse workplace, in order to drive innovation and establish the desired culture.