Developing HR Policies

I gave a presentation on HR policies at a seminar in Sydney last week.

Essentially the talk was a case study on the Full Court of the Federal Court decision In Goldman Sachs JBWere Services Pty Limited
v Nikolich
[2007] FCAFC 120 which upheld the original decision that Goldman Sachs J B Were Services Pty Ltd pay $515,869 in damages to a former employee, Peter Nikolich, for breach of contract as a result of Goldman Sachs not complying with certain of its policies.

The case prompted interesting debate about the purpose of HR policies, whether they are intended to be contractual, whether they are binding on employers as well as employees and how they are created, monitored and managed.

In Nikolich’s case, it appeared that Goldman Sachs’ 119 page policy document had developed over many years (and a merger with JBWere) without a clear understanding of its role in the organisation’s policy framework.

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