James Cook University Enterprise Agreement 2016

The academic attempted to invoke section 14 of the James Cook University 2016 (JCU Enterprise Agreement) enterprise agreement to challenge the decision to terminate his employment. Article 14 states that “the JCU undertakes to act in a manner consistent with the protection and promotion of intellectual freedom within the university and in accordance with the JCU code of conduct.” Does your freedom of mind clause or a broader enterprise agreement include a restriction on the freedom granted? In light of the Ridd Tribunal`s review of the primacy of an enterprise agreement over a code of conduct, the text of the agreement must first be used to determine whether a worker`s behaviour or comments may have been contrary to relevant restrictions. It is interesting to note that there was a corresponding sub-clause in the university`s enterprise agreement, which required Mr. Ridd to “respect the rights of others”; and “What we expect, through the (academic) code of conduct and our enterprise agreement, is that we have a secure, respectful, ethical and professional job,” said Vice-Chancellor Iain Gordon on 7.30. Does the nature of the worker`s actions or comments otherwise go beyond the scope of the freedom granted? If this is the case, it is probably no longer a question of whether or not the worker has breached the provisions of the enterprise agreement, since the agreement itself does not apply to such behaviour, so that the employee remains open to standard investigations and disciplinary procedures. Peter Ridd received an official warning in 2016 for critical comments he sent to a reporter through a colleague. Professor Ridd was fired last month for allegedly making disrespectful comments about his colleagues on Sky TV and in private emails he sent to his university account. The ACF found that the obligations of freedom of mind under section 14 were not absolute and by expectations and limits with respect to “respect for the rights of others… and maintenance of professional standards by staff.” The ACF noted that some of the academic`s behaviours are the expression of “personal opinions and frustrations” and “general criticisms of the JCU or the broader academic sector.” The Federal Court of Australia (“FCA”) has overturned a Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCCA) decision to fire a university researcher, raising questions about the boundary between freedom of mind and gross misconduct. Like those at James Cook University, any enterprise agreement for The Group of 8 Australian universities contains similar provisions that guarantee the practice of intellectual freedom for their academics.