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					                                                         THE KENT LAW FIRM’S
                                                                                                                                          4A/5 BIRTWILL STREET
                                                                                                                                          COOLUM BEACH Q 4573

                                                                                                                                          PH: 07 5446 4300



                                                 INFORMANT
                                                                                                                                          FAX: 07 5446 4050
                                                                                                                                          WEB: www.kentlaw.com.au
                                                                                                                                          EMAIL: info@kentlaw.com.au


 The Information in this newsletter is merely a guide and is not a full explanation of the law. This firm cannot take responsibility for any action readers take based on this
 information. When making decisions that could affect your legal rights, please contact us for professional advice                                    AUTUMN 2009



                       New mortgagee obligations                                                                            What’s inside…
                       under the Property Law Act                                                                           Case in point: Bratz v Barbie
                                                                                                                            Mattel wins its copyright infringement lawsuit
 The Queensland Government has introduced a new law with the aim of “protecting                                             against MGA, resulting in a cease of
 homeowners from mortgagee fire sales”. The Property Law (Mortgagor Protection)                                             production of the popular Bratz dolls.
 Amendment Act 2008 commenced on December 12.                                                                               First prosecution over sham contracting
    The Act amends the Property Law Act 1974 and introduces the following changes:                                          The federal Workplace Ombudsman has
     the mortgagee’s duty under the Property Law Act to take reasonable care to                                            launched its first prosecution for alleged
    sell mortgaged property at market value will now expressly apply to receivers and                                       sham contracting against Sydney-based
    to mortgagees selling under power of attorney, and                                                                      Centennial Finance Services.
     there are specific steps which must be taken by a mortgagee or receiver when                                          Cosmetic company faces $500,000
    selling property under a “prescribed mortgage” and failure to take such steps may                                       lawsuit for ‘making woman work more’
    be punishable by fines of up to $20,000. The explanatory notes accompanying the                                         A cosmetics company executive is facing off
    Act provide that the type of mortgages intended to be captured are mortgages                                            against her employer in a $500,000 lawsuit
    over land of a consumer credit nature.                                                                                  over claims she had to work harder than
    Parliament has also passed the Residential Tenancies and Rooming                                                        male colleagues.
 Accommodation Bill 2008. Among other changes, this law will increase the notice                                            Facebook scammers seek money in
 period that must be given by a mortgagee to terminate a residential tenancy granted                                        London
 without the mortgagee’s consent from one to two months.                                                                    Australian Facebook user accounts have
 To learn more about your obligations under the new Property Law Act, contact your                                          been hacked, opening them up to scammers
 local solicitor.                                                                                                           who then use the account to send live chat
                                                                                                                            messages to their friends asking for financial
                                                                                                                            assistance.

                                                                                                                            Rent price rises at 20-year high
       Cosmetic company faces $500,000 lawsuit for                                                                          Rents have recorded their highest increase
                                                                                                                            since 1988 amid fears the rental crisis will
              ‘making woman work harder’                                                                                    only get worse as the impact of the global
                                                                                                                            recession takes hold.
  A cosmetics company executive is facing off against her employer in a $500,000
  lawsuit over claims she had to work harder than male colleagues.
     Sales manager Jo-Anne Finch is suing The Heat Group, a distributor of brands
  including Max Factor and CoverGirl, for alleged discrimination and harassment.                                             First prosecution over sham
     Efforts to kiss and make up have so far failed and the matter was listed for a                                                   contracting
  directions hearing in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
     In a hotly contested claim lodged with VCAT, Ms Finch said she worked 60-hour
  weeks and that her male counterparts put in only 40 hours on average.                                                      The national workplace watchdog has
     The Fairfield woman also claimed that, while she was on annual leave and sick                                           launched its first prosecution for alleged
  leave, her male managers regularly and persistently contacted her by phone and                                             sham contracting against Sydney-based
  email.                                                                                                                     Centennial Finance Services.
     She has also alleged a male manager made unwelcome sexual advances,                                                         The federal Workplace Ombudsman
  including commenting on another woman’s breasts and telling Ms Finch she was                                               will allege in the Federal Magistrates
  “hot” and “sexy”.                                                                                                          Court that the company breached the
     Ms Finch, who is on leave, said she was so stressed by the situation she suffered                                       sham contracting provisions in the
  cramping and bleeding and almost miscarried before her daughter was born in 2007.                                          Workplace Relations Act when it
     In court documents, she accused The Heat Group founder and managing director                                            “converted”       eight     employees    to
  Gillian Franklin, a former Global Entrepreneur of the Year award winner and                                                contractors, but continued to have them
  Australian Grand Prix board member, of ignoring her complaints.                                                            perform the same duties under the
     The Heat Group and Ms Franklin have indicated they will strongly defend all of                                          employer’s direction.
  the claims.                                                                                                                    The workers were told to get their
     The cosmetics distributor promotes itself as one of Australia’s most family-friendly                                    own Australian business number (ABN),
  employers, with innovative employment policies aimed at women.                                                             sign a “sales consultant agreement” and
  Some of Ms Finch’s allegations, which are yet to be contested before VCAT, have                                            to invoice the company when they made
  previously been rejected by the Equal Opportunity Commission. She has since                                                sales. They were also told that they
  revised her complaint and hired a new lawyer. Ms Finch is seeking a written apology,                                       would no longer receive annual leave,
  compensation for lost income, 12 weeks’ maternity pay and $500,000 for damages                                             sick leave or superannuation.
  and costs.                                                                                                                 If you have concerns about your workplace
                                                                                                                             rights, contact your local solicitor.


The Informant Autumn 2009                     THE KENT LAW FIRM 4A/5 BIRTWILL STREET COOLUM BEACH QLD 4573
                                                     Ph: 07 5446 4300 Fax: 07 5446 4050 Email: info@kentlaw.com.au
                                             Case in point: Bratz v Barbie
 Popular Bratz brand to cease production of the dolls after Mattel sues over breach of employment contract



 Mattel, maker of the popular Barbie              Hong Kong Toy Fair. Bratz dolls hit                      infringement and breach of contract
 fashion doll, has won a major legal              shop shelves in June 2001.                               but also withdraw its dolls from sale in
 battle against its chief competitor,                 “This is a victory for all the hard-                 2009.
 Bratz, after a jury ruled the rival doll         working people at Mattel who come                            It has been argued that Mattel’s
 had been designed by a Mattel                    together to create many of the most                      sales have been hit hard by MGA’s
 employee in breach of contract with              beloved toys for children," said chief                   Bratz dolls and their popularity. Mattel
 the toy giant.                                   executive officer Bob Eckert, who also                   was       founded     in   1945     and
    “A ten-person jury has rendered a             called the jury’s decision a victory “for                manufactures and markets toys,
 unanimous decision that the majority             all those who believe in fair play”.                     games, dolls and other consumer
 of Bratz design drawings, prototypes                 “While the case has been very                        products. Barbie is its most famous
 and sculpts were created by doll                 complicated, the underlying principle                    brand. MGA Entertainment is also a
 designer Carter Bryant while he was              has been a simple one – you shouldn’t                    toy manufacturer. It has been around
 employed by Mattel,” a press                     take what isn’t yours.”                                  since 1979, and its best-known line is
 statement sent out by Mattel said.                   The decision affected MGA but not                    Bratz.
    Mr Bryant had an agreement with               Mr Bryant, who reached an out-of-                            Mattel’s Barbie sales dropped over
 Mattel under which he assigned to the            court settlement with Mattel in May,                     the past few years. In 2007, Barbie
 toymaker all ownership rights of                 less than two weeks before the trial                     sales dropped by 15 per cent while
 anything he created during his                   began.                                                   those of the Bratz reached more than
 employment there.                                    The trial opened at the end of May,                  $4.8 billion in the US alone.
    However, while he was still at                but the case has its roots in 1999,                          As expected, MGA said it intended
 Mattel, Mr Bryant entered into a                 when Mr Bryant worked for Mattel as a                    to appeal the judge’s order and Mattel
 contract with California-based MGA               designer.                                                said it remained open to “all viable
 company, licensing Bratz to them. That               The jury was then asked in the next                  options” as the matter moves through
 was in September 2000; Mr Bryant left            phase to determine the amount of                         the courts.
 Mattel in October of the same year.              damages to be awarded to Mattel.                         If you have concerns about intellectual
 A month later, MGA showed Bratz                  MGA is being forced not only to pay                      property laws in Australia and want to
 prototypes for the first time and in             Mattel $100 million for copyright                        learn more about your rights and
 January 2001 exhibited Bratz at the                                                                       obligations to employers, contact your
                                                                                                           local solicitor.



  Facebook scammers seek                                       Fair Work Bill
      money in London                                         moves ‘Forward                                  Rent price rises at 20 -
Australian Facebook user accounts                              with Fairness’                                       year high
have been hacked, opening them up to
scammers who then use the account to
send live chat messages to their friends            The      Federal     Government       has
                                                    introduced in Parliament legislation to
                                                                                                           Rents have recorded their highest
asking for help.                                                                                           increase since 1988 amid fears the
   “Several of my friends received a                implement its election commitments
                                                    made in Forward with Fairness.                         rental crisis will only get worse as the
message through Facebook Chat from                                                                         impact of the global recession takes
their online Facebook friends,” one                     The Fair Work Bill 2008 is an
                                                    entirely new Bill and, at 575 pages, it                hold.
user, Nick, said.                                                                                              Latest figures from the Australian
   The messages claimed the person                  is substantially shorter than the
                                                    current Workplace Relations Act 1996                   Bureau of Statistics show the annual
was “on a trip to London, but had been                                                                     rate of growth in rents across the
mugged, and was now marooned                        (Cth). The Bill was published with an
                                                    extensive explanatory memorandum                       country has jumped to 8.4 percent in
without passport or cash somewhere in                                                                      the year to last month, up 2 percent
North London,” he said.                             and the Government has already
                                                    issued fact sheets on a number of key                  from 2007, The Australian reported.
   The ploy usually culminates in a                                                                        The statistics also reveal the increase
request for a Western Union money                   areas.
                                                    In particular, the Bill introduces a new               in rents has jumped from 5.4 percent
transfer.                                                                                                  to 8 percent in Sydney, 11.2 percent to
   Digital strategist Mark Neely found              safety net, comprised of the National
                                                    Employment Standards (NES) and                         12.2 percent in Perth and 8.6 percent
out his account had been hacked when                                                                       to 10.1 percent in Brisbane.
a friend called to ask if he was alright.           modern awards; sets out a new
   “I immediately attempted to log into             system of good faith bargaining for
                                                    collective agreements in which Fair
Facebook, but the password had been
                                                    Work Australia will have a pivotal and
changed,” he said.
                                                    potentially more interventionist role;                 This newsletter is a free service from your
   “I tried to reset the password, but the
                                                    brings back unfair dismissal                           solicitor. If there is any issue you would
email address linked to my Facebook
                                                    protection for most employees (and                     like us to cover in a future newsletter
account had also been changed. I could
                                                    limits, but does not entirely remove                   please call us. Also, if there is anyone you
not access my account.”
                                                    the operational requirements                           know who would like to receive this
   Facebook’s security team has begun
                                                    exclusion for redundancy), and                         newsletter please let us know and we’ll
work on the account data to try to
                                                    maintains many of the existing rules                   add their name to our distribution list.
pinpoint      the     perpetrators    and,          in the areas of industrial action,
depending on the relevant jurisdiction,                                                                    However, if you do not wish to continue
                                                    freedom of association and right of                    receiving it please let this firm know and
will be working with law enforcement to             entry – with subtle, but significant
track them down.                                                                                           we will not send it to you again.
                                                    additional powers to unions.



The Informant Autumn 2009           THE KENT LAW FIRM 4A/5 BIRTWILL STREET COOLUM BEACH QLD 4573
                                           Ph: 07 5446 4300 Fax: 07 5446 4050 Email: info@kentlaw.com.au

				
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