BSL202 Workplace Law
Camellia Ltd is a large luxury cosmetics company of over 300 employees based in Perth. Camellia is well known for offering high end luxury beauty products made from some of the rarest botanicals known to mankind. Their products are instantly recognisable by the Middlemist’s Red Camellia crest on their boxes. It is also a very dysfunctional workplace. The following events have occurred:
1. Genevieve was invited to an interview at Camellia in September 2019. During her interview Genevieve was told that this was a very special time for the company, with its centennial anniversary coming up in June. As such the company was looking to bring on a fresh new talent to help the Head Chemist, Karl Pierre Laurent, produce the fragrance of the century, the Middlemist’s Red Camellia fragrance which will be released in June coinciding the centenary celebrations. At the interview Genevieve is told the following: The fragrance has already been in development for one year, however is running behind schedule. Genevieve was told that her work would consist of lab work, assisting the Head Chemist Karl Pierre Laurent. On her first day of the job Genevieve meets Dr Karl Pierre Laurent, the Head Chemist at Camellia. He is an eccentric fellow and after questioning her on her previous experience in the beauty industry, of which she has none, dismisses her as young and inexperienced. Genevieve later learns that Karl had wanted the position to go to his niece Cindy. Karl begins assigning Genevieve impossibly large workloads. She is tasked with working in the lab all day and then when the work day finishes to stay back after hours and clean the lab and all of the equipment. Her workload also includes doing all the filing and write up all the progress reports. When Genevieve raises this with her line manager, she is brushed away.
2. Daisy is a trainee in the labs. She works daily with harsh and dangerous acids and chemicals. Two weeks ago there was a large accident in the lab involving several acids and Daisy was injured. An investigation into the matter indicates that Daisy was not trained in lab safety protocols and that since Elfred Johnstone, the OHS supervisor resigned in June, no replacement was put in place. Daisy and Genevieve are good friends. When Genevieve raises this with her line manager she is told that it will be handled. One week later Genevieve received a letter of notice letting her know that she has been made redundant.
3. Following Genevieve’s departure from Camellia, Camellia holds interviews for another assistant. Emily has been invited for an interview. Emily went to the Camellia Head Office in Perth and interviewed with HR for the position as an assistant chemist. The interview went very well. After a very long three weeks of waiting to hear from HR, Emily received a letter in the mail with that all important Middlemist’s Red Camellia crest on the envelope. After tearing the envelop open, Emily is delighted to see that she has been offered the position! However she is horrified to see that the delivery of the offer had been delayed and she had note received it until now. The offer expires that same evening. The letter states that she should respond in writing. Emily rushes to respond to her contact in HR by email, letting her know that she has just now received the letter and is happy to accept the position.The next morning Emily rings the HR department at Camellia to confirm receipt of her acceptance. The HR representative is very cold and says the following ‘Unfortunately I only received your email this morning. As it took you three weeks to reply, we have decided to offer the position to another candidate’. Emily is very upset and tries to explain the situation to the HR representative. While the HR representative is sympathetic, she is not willing to acknowledge Emily’s acceptance. Instead she tells Emily that she can offer her a different position, one that pay much less and is not in her field of expertise.
4. Gertrude is a junior marketing manager with many years experience at Camellia. She has been working at the company for over fifteen years. When the Marketing Manager Jason retired in April of 2020, Gertrude applied for the position of Marketing Manager. While she was optimistic that she would get the position, she was not successful and the position went to one of her much less qualified co-workers, Sam. When Gertrude sought feedback on her application for the promotion she was told ‘Sam’s experience aligns better with the company’s needs’. Gertrude has since been accidentally CC’d in on an email that states that Gertrude would not be an appropriate choice for manager due to the fact that she is a single mother with three small children and needs flexible working hours and sometimes needs to take leave days. Sam is in his 20’s and has no children.
5. Camellia have recently discovered that Head Chemist, Karl Pierre Laurent, has been selling all his best formulas on this side to Camellia’s number one competitor Champit Ltd. There is evidence to support this.
1. Can Emily enforce her original contract of employment?
2. Gertrude has come to you seeking advice and would like to know whether Camellia can rightfully deny her a promotion on this basis?
3. Advise Camellia what actions could be brought against Karl.