Recent Cases

Qantas Airways Limited v Transport Workers Union of Australia [2023] HCA 27 (13 September 2023) (Kiefel CJ; Gageler, Gordon, Edelman, Steward, Gleeson and Jagot JJ)


Industrial law (Cth) – Prohibition of taking adverse action against person to prevent exercise of workplace right – Workplace right – Where s 340(1)(b) of Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provided that person must not take adverse action against another person to prevent exercise of workplace right – Where Qantas Airways Ltd made decision to outsource ground handling operations – Where outsourcing decision was adverse action in respect of affected employees – Where at time of outsourcing decision affected employees had no presently existing workplace right to organise and engage in protected industrial action and to participate in enterprise bargaining – Whether prohibition in s 340(1)(b) of Fair Work Act only prohibited adverse action taken to prevent exercise of presently existing workplace right.

Words and phrases – “adverse action”, “contingent right”, “enterprise bargaining”, “presently existing right”, “prevent”, “protected industrial action”, “rebuttable presumption”, “substantial and operative reasons”, “workplace law or workplace instrument”, “workplace right”.