Employers can add to Notice of Representation but need to be careful if doing so
The Full Bench considered whether an employer can add to the statutory Notice of Representation it provides to relevant employees to initiate bargaining.
In this case the Notice of Representation provided by the employer was in identical terms to the statutory requirements however at the bottom of its notice the employer had added the following wording: “Please complete the following slip and return the slip to Mark Vincer, Manufacturing Manager”. Underneath this wording was the heading “Nomination of bargaining representative” followed by “I xxxxx nominate yyyyy to be my bargaining representative ….”.
The unions took exception to the wording on the basis that it was likely to mislead or confuse employees such that the required notice could not be taken to be given.
The Full Bench rejected the unions concerns on the basis the additional wording did not mislead or confuse. In doing so however the Full Bench stated it “is generally unwise” to alter a notice and it would have been better if the employer had put wording like “If you wish to appoint a bargaining representative …” before the words “please complete”.
The case is important as it allows employers to encourage employees to nominate their own bargaining representatives (ie other employees) although if doing so employers have been cautioned by the Full Bench to make it clear an employee need only do so if they wish.