Misleading and deceptive conduct
It is unlawful for a prospective employer or recruitment agent to make false or misleading representations to a prospective employee. This is particularly relevant in today's competitive labour market where employers provide incentives to attract the best employees, but may not always honour their promises. Maurice Blackburn's employment lawyers regularly provide advice to clients about misleading and deceptive conduct.
The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) provides protection for prospective employees including executives against misleading and deceptive conduct. The provision of the Act cover the availability, nature or terms and conditions of employment, or any other matter relating to the employment, or a company's financial status, including profitability and risk, or other material aspect of any business activity of the company that proposes to engage the prospective employee.
If you have been misled or deceived about the terms and conditions of your employment, earnings or career progress, you may have a claim against you employer and there are a number of possible solutions that we can help you achieve.
Morton v Interpro
Morton v Interpro Australia Pty Ltd  FMCA 423
Mr Morton, a senior sales employee of Interpro, alleged his employer had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct regarding his employment contract. Mr Morton argued that the company made representations about its commission based bonus scheme during contract negotiations. And that he had accepted the offer of employment on the basis of these representations and had subsequently relocated from the United Kingdom to Australia to join the company. After commencing in the role, the company unilaterally revoked the commission based scheme.
The court held that the representation had induced Mr Morton to accept the role and move to Australia. In such circumstances, the representation was found to be conduct that was misleading and deceptive.
The court awarded Mr Morton compensation for damages suffered plus all legal expenses.
Moss v Lowe Hunt
Anor  FMCA 423 and Moss v Lowe Hunt & Partners  FC 1181
In 2010 Maurice Blackburn represented Mr Moss in a case of misleading and deceptive conduct. Mr Moss was an advertising and research consultant who ran his own company. He worked on a consultancy basis for Lowe Hunt & Partners (Lowe Hunt). Rather than using Mr Moss on a consultancy basis, Lowe Hunt wanted to employ Mr Moss directly and tried to recruit him to the company. In the course of this recruitment, Lowe Hunt made representations to Mr Moss, including that that the company was a financially successful agency and was in a strong business position.
Moss became an employee of Lowe Hunt after relying on these statements, but within 18 months his role was made redundant. The judge in the case stated it was misleading or deceptive to describe a business as being successful when it did not have the continued support of its parent company.
The court held that Mr Moss was induced to enter into the contract by the misleading conduct on behalf of Lowe Hunt and ordered compensation for damages plus all legal expenses to be paid to Mr Moss for the losses he suffered.