A recent decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court sends a warning to both employers and recruitment agents that they may be found liable for misleading and deceptive conduct under section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (TPA) for representations made to job applicants or persons whom they seek to 'head hunt'.
Implications for employers
- The decision of the Full Court serves as a warning to employers and recruitment agencies that they may both be found liable under the TPA for representations made to job applicants. The representations made in this case, when read together, were sufficient to justify the finding of misleading and deceptive conduct.
- Employers who engage 'head hunters' to conduct job searches must ensure that the boundaries of any authorised communications are clearly defined and articulated. Otherwise, it is likely that the employer will be held responsible for the actions of the recruitment agency.
- Representations about job security, promotion prospects and other similar employment conditions should be avoided during the recruitment process unless the employer is actually prepared to include such terms in a written contract of employment.
- Employers and recruitment agencies may both be found liable for representations made to job applicants.
- Corporations that engage 'head hunting' agencies may be held responsible for representations made for and on their behalf.