A recent case demonstrates the Fair Work Ombudsman’s commitment and willingness to protect vulnerable, exploited employees by holding not only businesses accountable for contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 but also external advisors who are involved in the contravention. If an advisor is found to be involved in a contravention of the Act, they will be found to have accessorial liability, and significant penalties can be imposed on them.
The international publication Who’s Who Legal, through independent research and peer review, has recognised MST Lawyers and four of its lawyers as the stand out firm in Australia in franchising law.
The requirement to act in good faith is an important term implied by law into contracts and franchise agreements. What exactly the term requires and how far it extends has been the subject of many judicial decisions over the past two decades. The requirement that a franchisor exercises its discretions under a franchise agreement reasonably, and in good faith was given a thorough review in a recent Full Federal Court case.
The case concerned the franchisor of the Pizza Hut franchise, Yum and 190 of the 200 independent franchisees in respect of a strategy to increase market share by reducing prices and simplifying the product offering. The case illustrates the Court’s approach to determining whether the implied term has been breached, and is indicative of the expectations of those exercising a discretion under a franchise agreement.
MST Lawyers’ previous updates on the Unfair Contract Terms provisions in the Australian Consumer Law highlight the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s focus on the UCT laws.
A recent speech by Mr Rod Sims, chair of the ACCC, indicates there may be a further focus and crackdown in relation to the UCT laws. Small businesses and financial services providers will need to be increasingly vigilant in ensuring their standard form contract do not contain unfair terms.