Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Real, albeit remote connection with the State of Western Australia required to invoke the Commission’s jurisdiction

An employee of a company engaged in the business of mineral exploration filed a contractual benefits claim in the Commission, claiming loss of salary for the period where his employment was reduced from five to three days per week.

The employer challenged the Commission’s jurisdiction to deal with the claim on the basis that the applicant had not named the correct respondent and also, that his employment did not have a sufficient connection with the State of Western Australia, as the employee was located in and performed all of his work in Sweden.

Firstly, having regard to the employment arrangements between the parties, and in particular the terms of the Employment Agreement, in the context of the facts, the Commission concluded that the named respondent was the applicant’s employer.

Secondly, whilst the Commission accepted the work performed under the Agreement was solely in Sweden in relation to the Swedish mineral resources operations of the group, and the employee was paid in Swedish currency in Sweden, it found that at all times the employer under the Agreement was resident in the State of Western Australia. Further, it was contemplated that the WA jurisdiction would exclusively apply to the Agreement and any disputes between the parties to the Agreement, to which the Commission accorded considerable weight. Finally, the employee’s involvement in the Swedish branch as a Director and as its nominated Deputy Managing Director, was expressly contemplated by the Agreement and formed part of his duties as a senior employee of the Perth based employer.

The Commission found the employment did have a real connection with Western Australia, in the sense that that principle was outlined in Parker v Mark Anthony Tranfield (2001) 81 WAIG 2505.  

The decision can be read here.

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