CM Law Notes: Helping you help others

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This issue of Christian Media Law Notes includes: ‘Work Experience or Wilful Exploitation?’: a look at a recent Federal Court ruling and how it impacts volunteers and organisations with unpaid workers. Plus a preview of David Ford’s session in our Governance Stream at CONNECT15, including implications for CMA members of the ACNC’s standards, how board members can minimise risks, and how to deal with disputes and investigations.

CM Law Notes – April 2015

Governance: role, responsibilities and potential liabilities of Board members; how to deal with disputes and investigations

In the 17th Century, Queen Christina of Sweden said:

In the art of governing, one always remains a student.

At next week’s Connect 15 media conference, David Ford will be looking for board members who are open to learning more about their role, responsibilities and potential liabilities. As the Federal Government continues to give hints that the ACNC will be with us for some time yet, David will consider the practical implications for those governing CMA members of the ACNC Governance Standards that have been in effect for almost two years now. He will also provide strategies for board members to minimise the risks of becoming liable financially or of being in breach of statutory obligations.

Finally, recognising that board members are imperfect human beings serving in organisations that revolve around people – the people on the board, the members, the staff, the supporters and the beneficiaries – it should not shock or surprise us when there are differences that escalate to disputes that lead to allegations that need to be investigated. Unfortunately, too many charities are ill-equipped and unprepared when this happens. David will both equip and prepare board members, leaders and managers of CMA members to deal with such matters.

As Governance for Good, the ACNC’s guide for charity board members, states:

Whether you are taking up the responsibilities of a board member for the first time or you are an experienced board member looking for a refresher, there is always something you can do to improve your knowledge and the governance of your charity.

Join David Ford at the Governance Stream Session 2 at 3:00pm on Wednesday 22 April.


Work experience or wilful exploitation?

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia recently ordered Crocmedia to pay a $24,000 penalty for breaches of the Fair Work Act relating to an unpaid work experience scheme. This case raises important considerations for employers that accept unpaid work experience interns or volunteers. Read more

How does Crocmedia impact volunteers?

Volunteers are a common, and in many cases, essential ingredient in the activities of CMA members.  What is the legal position of volunteers in light of the Crocmedia case? Interns who are employees must be distinguished from volunteers who work for a non-vocational purpose with organisations such as churches, sporting clubs, charities or community organisations. Read more for the relevant principles and to see how this worked out in the Teen Ranch case where a volunteer was injured on a camp.


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