Joining parties

New respondents

In a complaint of discrimination and sexual harassment relating to work at two Nando’s franchises, the complainant applied to join another individual and the franchisor (Nando’s Australia Pty Ltd) as respondents. The application was made approximately 18 months after the complaint had been referred to the tribunal, and after there had been a compulsory conference.

The individual was the manager of the franchises. He had not been named as a respondent because the complainant was confused about his identity, believing he was one of the other named respondents. The tribunal said the claims against him fell within the same factual and legal matrix as the claims against the other respondents, and he did not oppose the application. The tribunal was satisfied it was desirable that he be joined as a respondent.

The claim against the franchisor was based on the relationship of agency with the franchisee companies, as well as a claim of direct discrimination. The tribunal declined to join the franchisor as a respondent, referring to the complainant’s delay in bringing the application, and that joinder of the franchisor would raise further complex issues including whether the franchisee companies acted as the franchisor’s agents.

Parker v Two Champions Pty Ltd & Ors [2018] QCAT 13