13 October 2006
Federal Court considers OWS injunction application against Merringtons Optometrists
The Office of Workplace Services’ (OWS) application for an interlocutory injunction against Australian Ophthalmic Supplies Pty Ltd (trading as Merringtons) was heard on Tuesday by Justice Weinberg in the Federal Court of Australia, Victoria District Registry.
In its application for an injunction, OWS alleges that Merringtons applied pressure against one of its employees who will appear as a witness and give evidence against the company in a Victorian Magistrates Court hearing set down for Monday 16 October 2006.
The interlocutory application was adjourned until Thursday, 26 October 2006 thereby avoiding any interference with the Magistrates Court’s hearing.
In the interim, Justice Weinberg obtained an undertaking from Merringtons that the employee, who Merringtons have suspended from her employment, would continue to receive her salary and any other payments to which she would ordinarily be entitled in her employment.
OWS Director Nicholas Wilson welcomed the interim measures which ensure that the employee will not be materially disadvantaged by Merringtons’ decision to suspend her.
“Employees have the right to lodge a complaint about their employer with the OWS,” Mr Wilson said. “The current action demonstrates that OWS will act to prevent an employer from applying duress to an employee seeking to exercise that right.”
The role of the OWS is to ensure that the rights and obligations of both workers and employers are understood and enforced fairly under the Workplace Relations Act 1996. Employers and employees who would like more information on their rights and obligations should contact the Workplace Infoline on 1300 363 264.
Note to editors: In the OWS media release of 10 October 2006, “OWS seeks Federal Court injunction against Merringtons Optometrists”, it was incorrectly stated that the Merrington’s employee suspended by her employer “lives in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne”. This was incorrect. The employee lives in the Northern suburbs.