The past week's biggest HR stories cover: misclassified employees and underpayments; D&A policies; succession planning; and more...

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A $2.3 million underpayments case highlights how easy it is to fall into the trap of misclassifying workers, and the importance of staying on top of award requirements. Much recent discussion of employee misclassifications has focused on casual employees, but employers need to be wary of getting all all classifications right, says Gadens partner Brett Feltham.

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Zero-tolerance approaches to managing workplace drug and alcohol risks can be highly problematic, as illustrated by the Fair Work Commission's criticism of an employer's policy as "inconsistent" and "risky", says Henry William Lawyers director Nick Noonan. "You can have a policy say one thing, but to adopt it in such a strict and narrow approach results in increased potential liability," he says.

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Organisations will rely more on HR to reduce barriers to growth in an uncertain market, and this means succession planning must come to the fore, says Evolution Partners leadership team coach Brad Giles. "The problem is that succession planning isn't sexy. Building a culture that people love is sexy, executing a strategy that grows revenues at a fast rate is sexy. But your job isn't meant to be sexy."

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The Fair Work Commission has granted additional stop-bullying orders to an HR manager who became "collateral damage" in a workplace dispute. The Commissioner accepted that repeated references to the HR manager as a "book-keeper" constituted bullying.

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Two employees breached their duties of good faith and fidelity in poaching their former employer's clients after amending their contracts, the Federal Court has ruled. The decision demonstrates that "the courts are increasingly willing to recognise the fiduciary duties which all employees owe to their respective employers and order equitable remedies, including an account of profits", says Hall & Wilcox partner Fay Calderone.

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Elmo Software has just concluded a six-month 'emergent leader' pilot program to boost internal mobility and employee engagement, but it's not about giving everyone a title. "Leadership inside an agile business, which has to remain as flat as humanly possible, can't have a whole load of load of chiefs or captains or officers running around the place," says CHRO Monica Watt.

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The Federal Circuit Court has fined a company and director a total of $240,000 for underpaying wages and entitlements to a teenage employee. "It is important that employers understand that, if caught, it is very expensive to not properly pay employees," the judge said.