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Employment
    •  Australian Workplace Agreements



Australian Workplace agreements 

A real estate agency employed, and signed an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) with, a sales representative on 18 March 2006 – just prior to when amendments to the federal workplace agreement legislation took effect on 27 March 2006. The employee later complained, and brought a claim for payment of wages, superannuation and annual leave entitlements.

The Court held that the AWA should be tested in accordance with the law prior to the 27 March 2006 amendments (the ‘no-disadvantage’ test). The Court found that the real estate agency had not breached the Act.

Harbour City Real Estate Pty Ltd t/as Re/Max Harbour City Real Estate (ACN 111 210 023) v Cargill (No 3) [2009] FCA 669 (19 June 2009)


UPDATE - Appeal reverses previous decision 

A real estate agency employed a sales representative and signed an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) with her on 18 March 2006, just prior to when changes to the federal workplace legislation took effect (on 27 March 2006). The employee later brought a claim for payment of wages, superannuation and annual leave entitlements.

The Magistrate found for the employee and awarded the damages she claimed. The Federal Court allowed the employer’s appeal, finding that the real estate agency had not breached the AWA. See above

The employee then lodged a further appeal. On the further appeal, the appeal court found that the original Magistrate’s decision was correct and reinstated the damages awarded to the employee. The reversal hinged on interpreting an undertaking appended to the AWA which was signed by the employer four months after the employee was hired (on 7 July 2006). Citing authority, the court took into account the circumstances at the time the undertaking was signed and found in the employee’s favour 

Cargill v Harbour City Real Estate Pty Limited [2010] FCAFC 7