• Partnership Disputes

    Partnership Disputes

    We have resolved hundreds of disputes between business partners and understand they are not easy.

    That’s why you need to engage a specialist in resolving these types of disputes.

  • Trade Disputes

    Trade Disputes

    When it comes to business disputes, we have seen them all.

    We are experts at enforcing agreements and intellectual property rights to protect your business.

  • Employee Disputes

    Employee Disputes

    We are all too aware of the damage an employee can do if they defect to a competitor with confidential information.

    We specialise in resolving disputes of this nature.

  • Debt Recovery

    Debt Recovery

    Getting paid on time and in full is so important for every business.

    Our track record proves we know what we are doing.

  • Business Transactions

    Business Transactions

    We are first and foremost business lawyers for business owners.

    We will give you the tools you need to take advantage of commercial opportunities whilst ensuring minimal risk.


Public Servant Loses Landmark Free Speech Case in the High Court

When can an employer fire an employee over what they put on social media?  This case gives us some insights into where the Court draws the line.


Ms Michaela Banerji alleged that her employment with the Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection had been unlawfully terminated in 2013. Ms Banerji claims that her employment ended as a result of Tweets she had sent expressing opinions that were critical of the Australian Government’s immigration policies.

Ms Banerji’s employer argued that an internal investigation had been conducted and found that her Tweets breached the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct. Accordingly, Mr Banerji’s employer terminated her employment.

The Law

There is an implied right in the Constitution that each person is entitled to freedom of political communication. The question in this case was whether the employer’s Code of Conduct breached the implied right contained in the Constitution resulting in Ms Banerji’s termination being unlawful.

The Code of Conduct required:

  1. An employee take reasonable steps to avoid any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with the employee’s employment; and
  2. An employee must uphold the integrity and good reputation of the employee’s agency.

Ms Banerji argued that because the Tweets were sent via her personal device and did not disclose that she was a public service employee, the Tweets did not bring the Government into disrepute.


The Administrative Appeals Tribunal initially held that Ms Banerji’s termination restricted her implied right to freedom of political communication.

The decision was recently appealed to the High Court who had to determine whether:

  1. The employer’s Code of Conduct was enforceable or a breach of the right to freedom of political information; and
  2. Whether (in light of point 1 above) Ms Banerji’s employment was unlawfully terminated.

The High Court unanimously held that the Code of Conduct was proportionate to its purpose of maintaining an apolitical public service. Given this, the High Court held that Ms Banerji’s employment had been legally terminated and she was not entitled to any compensation as a result.

This case may be relevant for Mr Israel Folau’s Federal Court proceeding which is expected to be heard later this year.

Posted by Taurus Legal Management