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What's new in HR: Thursday’s public holiday, passive aggressive sacking, and ageism

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
What's new in HR: Thursday’s public holiday, passive aggressive sacking, and ageism

What’s been trending in HR news?

Public holiday 22 September

With the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Australia will have a public holiday this coming Thursday 22 September. But concerns have been raised about this. Experienced economist Stephen Koukoulas has highlighted that this decision could cost the Australian economy $1.5 billion.


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese noted on Twitter that the day is, “an opportunity for communities all over Australia to remember the Queen.”

In his official announcement of the public holiday, Prime Minister Albanese stated: “Her Majesty was the only reigning monarch to ever to visit Australia and it was clear from her first trip that she had a special place in our hearts.”

He added: “I encourage all Australians, wherever you may be, to take time to pause and reflect on Her Majesty’s extraordinary life of service.”

Employers should be mindful of their obligations in relation to public holidays as laid out by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Sneaky sacking

In other news, quiet quitting has spawned a new term: quiet firing. As reported by HR Leader on TikTok, quiet firing is an employer’s version of quiet quitting, whereby they passive aggressively wear down an employee in the hopes they will quit.

The aim is to get rid of an employee without firing them. This could be through excluding them from work events, purposefully and constantly delegating their least favourite work to them, unfairly increasing their workload or ignoring them.

This behaviour is clearly not healthy in a workplace.

According to a survey by Resume Builder, it’s very common, with one in three managers admitting to engaging in this behaviour.

A LinkedIn poll corroborated this with 83 per cent saying they’ve seen it happen including 35 per cent who say it’s happened to them.

The key to avoiding these passive aggressive behaviours in the workplace is to be open and communicate. If an employer and employee are openly communicating their feelings with one another, there may be less room for resentment to build.

Age is just a number

Unfortunately, ageism has been trending. A study by Always Designing for People (ADP) said that 11 per cent of workers have been discriminated against due to their age. Contrary to what some may think, it was actually the young workers who felt they’ve experienced these issues more, with 38.5 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds experiencing ageism in the workplace. 21 per cent of over 55s saw similar discrimination.

The Australian Human Rights Commission says: “The Age Discrimination Act 2004 (ADA) prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of age. It applies to young and older workers alike.”

According to Seek, the best way to avoid age discrimination is to eliminate any negative assumptions. It is encouraged to steer clear of even asking someone’s age at all.

Seek’s three tips, as laid out in the article noted above, for avoiding these issues are:

  • Don’t request a candidate’s date of birth
  • Consider your own assumptions
  • Focus on diversity.



Ageism, often known as age discrimination, is the act of treating someone unjustly because of their age. In the workplace, this might manifest as a person being passed over for a job or promotion, older workers being denied benefits or early termination of employment.


According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, discrimination occurs when one individual or group of people is regarded less favourably than another because of their origins or certain personality traits. When a regulation or policy is unfairly applied to everyone yet disadvantages some persons due to a shared personal trait, that is also discrimination.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.