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 business and employment market where companies provide incentives to attract the best people, but may not always honour their promises. Maurice Blackburn's expert executive employment lawyers regularly provide advice to clients about misleading and deceptive conduct.

The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) provides protection for employees, including executives, against misleading and deceptive conduct.  The provisions of the Act cover the availability, nature or terms and conditions of employment and remuneration, or any other matter relating to the employment.  This includes representations regarding a company's financial status or prospects, 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.

Have you been misled by your employer?

If you have been misled or deceived about the terms and conditions of your employment, earnings, bonus structure, non-salary and discretionary benefits, or career progression, you may have a claim against you employer and there are a number of possible solutions that we can help you achieve. Maurice Blackburn are nationally recognised for our expertise in employment law matters; in fact the vast majority of our cases are successfully settled without ever needing to go to court. We can negotiate on your behalf, discreetly and effectively enforcing your contractual rights, while protecting your professional reputation.

Discuss your options with one of our employment law experts today.

Successful cases

Morton v Interpro

Morton v Interpro Australia Pty Ltd [2009] 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 [2009] FMCA 423 and Moss v Lowe Hunt & Partners [2010] 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.


Insurance Building Solutions (Victoria) Pty Ltd (Trustee) [2016] FCA 430

Ms Racki, a former General Manager of Johns Lyng, an insurance building firm was awarded nearly $350,000 in damages by the Federal Court in a claim for misleading and deceptive conduct.

The Court found that Ms Racki had been induced to leave her higher paying job in reliance on misleading and deceptive statements by the company about its profitability, in circumstances where part of her remuneration would be a proportion of the net profit of the company.

The Court stated that there was no objectively reasonable basis for the statements about the company’s profitability at the time that they were made. 

This significant award of damages reflected the difference in income between the amount Ms Racki would have earned if she had remained with her former employer and her actual earnings with Johns Lyng.

Our fees

Your initial consultation with our Executive Employment Lawyers is on a fixed fee. If your case proceeds we operate on an hourly rate.

About our employment law fees

It doesn’t cost you anything to know where you stand

Can we help?

Find an office near you

Let us contact you

It doesn’t cost you anything to know where you stand

We take calls 24/7

Call us now
1800 305 568

Free Call

Find an office near you

Let us contact you