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NSW Can Company Force Me to Sign Waiver Under Employment Law?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by WallyM, 21 July 2016.

  1. WallyM

    WallyM Member

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    My employer is introducing a new device to record job activity information (basically an 8" tablet).

    They have asked all employees to sign a document to say that they accept responsibility for any data usage above a certain level, and pay for any data, damage and/or loss of the device, as well as a bunch of other conditions. This includes automatically deducting these charges from our pay.

    A stalemate is kind of developing because I don't feel that I want to sign this document and be bound by its contents. My manager told me that unless I sign this document I won't be given one of the devices and that after August all work will be allocated using this device. Therefore, if I don't sign this document I cannot be allocated any work and "you are therefore terminating your employment".

    I am quite happy to use this device but I don't feel that I should be obligated to sign this "waiver". Is this stance the company is taking legal under employment law?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    What kind of employment agreement are you under? Modern award? EBA? Other?
     
  3. WallyM

    WallyM Member

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    I am a permanent full-time employee (with about 3 years service) on an EBA
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Generally employers cannot deduct amounts from pay that are for their benefit. However there may be clauses in the EBA that allow them to do that.

    Also if an employee loses equipment or is negligent in its use and breaks it, then generally the employee pays. But again, see the EBA.

    Excess data is an interesting one because it needs to be known how much is employer use and how much is employee use. If the employer can't tell, then you shouldn't have to pay. BTW, they may have software installed that allows them to monitor use.

    re: Bunch of other provisions. Description is too vague to provide any meaningful advice.
     
  5. WallyM

    WallyM Member

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    Thanks Rod,

    I suppose you have kind of hit on the nub of my gripe, why should I agree to this if most of it is covered by my EBA.

    The device is pretty tightly locked down, no apps can be installed, etc. It can only be used for work purposes, but saying that, it can be used for some things, GPS, Google Maps, etc. But it can be updated remotely from head office.

    As an aside:

    The EBA does have some funkyness in it, things like - Employees will be bound by all other company policies and procedures.

    I don't know (and I know I'm being flippant here) but there might be a company policy somewhere that says something like "all employees are required to sign any document that is presented to them"

    I suppose to boil it down to its bare bones my real question is, can the company say "Sign this or you will be sacked"
     
  6. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I do not have enough knowledge to be able to answer this question. Needs someone with more employment law knowledge than me.
     
  7. Serge Gorval

    Serge Gorval Well-Known Member

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    Hi mate,

    No policy will ever say that you have to sign a document.

    Your concerns are valid and you should not consent to the deduction for data usage, especially if you are directed to use the device. The same analogy would apply if say you are a professional driver and I require you to pay for additional wear and tear to the car that you use for your duties.

    If they stop assigning you work, you'll have a dismissal claim ( constructive). I doubt it will go that far.

    Rod FYI, I've noticed that you're quite active on the employment forum and just wanted to let you know that there's no such thing as "EBAs". They are a WorkChoices instrument that were repealed when Rudd introduced the Fair Work Act. Similar instruments are now called Enterprise Agreements or "EA's" may seem pedantic but two very different industrial instruments.
     
  8. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    I still see the term enterprise bargaining used however I now appreciate it may lead to an 'EA', not an 'EBA'.

    Tks for the correction.
     

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