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Vedder Thinking | News Esther Langdon Comments on Docking Wages in HR Grapevine

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Employment Solicitor Esther Langdon recently commented on the notion of employees having their wages docked for poor effort in the workplace in HR Grapevine

The article uses the recent example of tennis professional Bernard Tomic being fined his full Wimbledon prize money due to a lack of effort when his opponent defeated him in just 58 minutes. While this wasn't the first instance of Tomic having his earnings docked due to poor effort (he was fined over $15,000 in 2017 following a defeat where he admitted to feeling "bored"), using this case as a reference provides key takeaways for HR about monitoring and penalizing lazy staff. 

When asked to compare the Tomic example to a normal employer-employee relationship, Ms. Langdon said, "The Tomic case doesn’t translate easily into the employment context. It centres not around
employers, employees and wages, but around ‘fines’ imposed by the Wimbledon authorities under the Code of Conduct," she explains. "Through the legal lens, such ‘fines’ in the world of high stakes sport are a very different beast from ‘wages’. Wages are a fundamental part of the employment relationship and as such are protected under the statutory unlawful deduction from wages legislation and also by implied duties owed by every employer to every employee. An employee who had their wages docked unceremoniously for ‘lack of effort’ without a fair procedure, chance to state their case, chance to improve and so on would have claims for constructive and unfair dismissal. Not so for high flying sportsmen, who play by different rules," she concluded.


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Esther Langdon