As part of its annual efficiency and cost review, Global Banking
Corporation, one of world’s largest banks, whose headquarters are in
Kuala Lumpur, decides to review its Australian operation.
An independent Malaysian consulting firm is engaged to do a year-long
review. In its report, one of the findings is that high salaries in
Australia are reducing the profitability of the bank. One of the
recommendations is to hire more junior staff and trainees who can be
recruited on lower starting salaries.
The idea is viewed as a win: win initiative for the bank and new staff.
The new approach lowers costs and gives young people an opportunity for
a career with the bank. In line with this recommendation, each branch
recruits new junior staff.
The Adelaide branch in South Australia, one of the busiest in Australia,
places its new junior recruits on its enquiry desk, to deal with
questions from new and existing customers. Many of these new recruits
started at the same time as you, when you joined the marketing team a
couple of weeks ago.
The newly staffed enquiry desk has now been operating for two weeks and
the Adelaide branch manager is delighted with this new initiative. The
new staff are young and enthusiastic and operating costs have declined
40%. The Manager has also noticed that waiting time at the enquiry desk
has decreased. The new staff are dealing with queries much faster, a
fact which the Manager attributes to their youth and energy.
Sam is one of the new recruits on the enquiry desk. You met Sam at the
induction training program for new staff last week. As you walk past the
enquiry desk, you overhear the discussion between Sam and a white haired
man who is considering one of the bank’s investment products – a foreign
currency investment offered by the bank, known as the Currency Hedge Fund.
Customer: “Young man, I am a grandfather. I want a risk free investment
with a high return so I can pay for my granddaughter to study at
University next year. My life savings are $100,000 and I need to earn at
least 8% per year to cover my living costs in retirement and to pay for
my granddaughter to go to University to get a Management degree. She
wants to study marketing.”
Sam: “Well sir, we do have one investment which can earn 10% per year.
It is our highest earning investment. It requires a minimum investment
of $60,000 so that would work well for you because you want to invest
$100,000. It is called the Currency Hedge Fund. Basically, the bank
invests your money in foreign currency.”
Customer: “I see. Well, is it safe? I can’t afford to lose money. I want
something that is high return, no risk.
Sam: “Sir, rather than me explaining it now, let me give you the
brochure which sets out the detail.”
As you walk past, you notice Sam hands the customer the glossy brochure
on the Currency Hedge Fund but not the thick white document entitled
“Currency Hedge Fund – What you need to Know” which set out full details
of the scheme, including risk.
Customer: “Ok, well thank you. Oh look, that is my bus – I have to run!
Thank you so much for your help and advice.”
Sam: “You are most welcome, sir. ‘Think Investment, think Global’! ”
As the customer runs from the building, you approach Sam to point out
that the customer had not been given the white document with the glossy
brochure. “Oh I know,” replies Sam. “The Manager has told us those white
papers cost a lot to print. And the risk and return details keep
changing with currency volatility in Europe, so we are not giving them
out every time now”.
Suddenly you hear a thud and you turn around to see the elderly man on
the floor holding his knee and obviously in pain. As you race to help
him, he shouts “Look what you have done! There is water all over the
As you look around you realise he is correct. It is raining outside and
water is on the floor near the entrance from customers coming into the
building from the rain.
You recall the Bank staff training session you attended yesterday on
workplace health and safety and application of the Workplace Safety Act
2000 (SA) . You remember that section 5 of that Act states “An employer
must ensure that employees are provided with a safe workplace.” The
trainer in yesterday’s session emphasised that “workplace health and
safety is everyone’s responsibility.”
Answer both Question 1 and Question 2
What legal issues does this situation raise and what are the possible
Discuss, having regard to the facts and legal principle/s, and support
your argument/s with authority i.e. by reference to relevant cases
Discuss possible defences and other legal principles which might be
raised to avoid or lessen liability, having regard to all the facts.
Support your argument/s with authority i.e. by reference to relevant
cases and/or legislation.
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