• Commercial Law

    Commercial Law

    We are business people as much as we are lawyers. We will take care of the legal documents so you can confidently run your business.
    As your business grows, its risk profile and governance challenges will change. We partner with our clients over the long term to ensure they are in the driver’s seat for success.

  • Dispute Resolution

    Dispute Resolution

    We are in your corner when the going gets tough. Having resolved over 6,500 disputes for business owners have seen it all before.

    Whether you need a skilled negotiator or a fearless litigator, we specialise in delivering commercial results when:

    Customers refuse to pay;
    Suppliers let you down; and
    Business Partners do the wrong thing.

  • Employment & Safety

    Employment & Safety

    The biggest challenge for any business owner, is managing their employees.

    A difficult employee can make you question why you got into business in the first place and be toxic to your team morale.

    We deliver proactive solutions to manage your team via employment contracts, policies and procedures as well as handling employment disputes when they arise.

  • Property & Construction

    Property & Construction

    Property is the key most wealth in Australia.  Whether you are buying, selling, leasing or developing property, you need a lawyer you can count on.

    We can advise on the whole property development process from obtaining finance to development approvals, construction and sale or leasing.

    We also act for the Master Builders Victoria and have extensive expertise in construction contracts and disputes.

  • Family Law

    Family Law

    At Taurus Legal Management we understand the unique challenges clients encounter during family disputes, especially when children are involved. Our family lawyers specialise in handling high-asset cases with a focus on protecting clients wealth, securing their family’s future, and safeguarding the best interests of their children.


Following the Covid19 pandemic, many individuals have become accustomed to the lifestyle that comes with work from home. For those who are parents or simply enjoy the flexibility, it is something that many employees don’t want to give up.

So, can an employer, having first asked you to work from home through the Covid19 pandemic, now take that back?

Is this requirement ‘lawful and reasonable’?

Employees are required to follow “lawful and reasonable” directions from their employer, no matter the employment status. For many years, the Australian Courts have ruled this requirement as “implied” in every employment contract.

A comprehensive plan instructing employees to return to the workplace is likely to be considered as lawful and reasonable, and not complying with these directions can be a valid reason for disciplinary action, such as terminating an employee’s contract.

However, if employees are able to complete their job at home and have a valid reason to do so (for example due to an existing health condition) they may be able to argue that returning to the workplace is unreasonable. Employees may also be able to argue that the requirement is not lawful if their employment contract does not mandate work to be completed at a certain location.

It’s important to check each employee’s obligations and rights under their employment contract before making a request to return to the office.

Consultation between employers and employees

If their employment is covered by an award or enterprise agreement, employees can assert their right to be consulted on the basis that a request to return to the workplace is a “major workplace change”.

This requires employers to provide notice, discuss the proposed changes with employees (both written and verbally) and take “prompt consideration” to any queries raised.  Although employers do not need consent from their employees, it is important that they genuinely consider their employees’ views on the change. The approach should be individualised to consider each employee.

Am I eligible for flexible working arrangements?

If “workplace flexibility” provisions are mentioned in the employee’s contract, award or agreement, they potentially have the right to request to work from home.

The National Employment Standards (NES) contained in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) give employees the right to request flexible working arrangements if they’ve been with the employer for at least 12 months, and fit one of the following criteria:

  • are a parent, or have responsibility for the care of a child who is school aged or younger;
  • a carer (under the Care Recognition Act 2010);
  • have a disability;
  • are 55 years of age or older;
  • are pregnant;
  • are experiencing family/domestic violence; or provide care or support to an immediate family or household member experiencing family/domestic violence.

Casual employees are able to request flexible working arrangements if they have met one of the above criteria and have been with the employer for at least 12 months, or if there is a reasonable expectation of continuing work with the employer on a regular and systematic basis.

Requests for flexible working arrangements are likely to be utilised more than ever after the Covid19 pandemic. This is because there is a base-line to compare the employee’s role being completed from home versus in the office, which is relevant to whether an employer can refuse the request.

An employer can only refuse a request on “reasonable business grounds” if they have:

  • Discussed the request with the employee and reasonably tried to reach an agreement or alternative arrangements to accommodate the employee’s situation; and
  • Considered the consequences for refusing the request.

Reasonable business grounds to refuse a request may include:

  • The arrangements are too costly;
  • Other employees’ working arrangements cannot be changed to accommodate or it would be impractical to change other employees’ working arrangements, or hire new employees to accommodate the request; or
  • The request is likely to result in a loss of efficiency or productivity or have an impact on customer service.

From 6 June 2023, employees have a right to appeal a refusal in the Fair Work Commission. As time goes on, it will be interesting to analyse the decisions of the Fair Work Commission and whether they result in more employees being granted flexible arrangements.


If an employer imposes a return-to-office mandate, they need to provide clear guidelines to their employees. It is important that employers consult with their employees and take time to consider their feedback before enforcing such a change. This will help to avoid any dispute.

If an employee requests a flexible work arrangement, the employer needs to actively engage with them and give them opportunities to provide supporting evidence. An employer must act promptly in order to review the supporting evidence and respond within the required timeframe.

If you are an employer who has a dispute with an employee regarding flexible working arrangements, or an employee needing assistance submitting a request to your employer, contact our experienced employment lawyers on (03) 9481 2000 or info@tauruslawyers.com.au.

Posted by Taurus Legal Management