Labour and employment in Australia
Ashurst offers comprehensive coverage of workplace relations law, from employment law and executive remuneration through to industrial relations, and retains a highly impressive client base of Australian and international companies. Active at the forefront of recent developments in employment law, the practice has been providing strategic advice on the response to Covid-19 and acting on underpayment compliance matters for major Australian employers. Another area of strength is handling industrial relations for clients in the transport, retail, mining and government sectors. Practice head Stephen Woodbury in Sydney is a trusted adviser to his roster of market-leading clients. Other key team members include the Brisbane-based Ian Humphreys, a recognised name in complex strategic work, and financial services expert Jennie Mansfield in Sydney. A junior name to note is Julia Sutherland . In team news, Marie-Claire Foley retired to a consultant role in May 2020, and George Cooper moved in-house at IBM in January 2020.
Other key lawyers:
Aurizon Holdings Limited
Australian Building & Construction Commission
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Commonwealth Government of Australia
Registered Organisations Commission
University of Sydney
- Providing strategic and legal advice to Woolworths Group Limited on the identification and remediation of underpayments to salaried employees.
- Advising and representing WorkPac in a test case about the law of casual employment as it had been understood for almost 100 years in a matter of broad national significance.
- Acting for Airservices in a “first of its kind” class action proceeding in the Federal Court.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills is known for its strength in advising financial services clients, particularly on recent changes to the regulatory regime. Other areas of expertise include advising leading oil, gas and mining companies, handling business-critical and highly public employment litigation, and managing senior executive appointments and remuneration. The practice has had a prominent role in the market in responding to two recent major challenges: the highly publicised underpayments issue and employers' response to Covid-19. Miles Bastick heads up the practice, and is a key name for strategic advisory and litigation advice. Other key names include Anthony Longland, a mining and resources expert who heads up the Perth team, and fellow section heads Kirsty Faichen in Brisbane, Steve Bell in Melbourne and Drew Pearson in Sydney. A junior partner with expertise in industrial relations and enterprise bargaining is Rohan Doyle in Melbourne. Whistleblowing expert Shivchand Jhinku in Sydney was promoted to partner in May 2020.
The Australian Ballet
- Acting for Rugby Australia in relation to the Code of Conduct tribunal hearing and subsequent legal proceedings brought by Mr. Israel Folau who alleged that Waratahs Rugby and Rugby Australia had unlawfully terminated his employment.
- Advising Woodside on all aspects of the challenges to its operations bought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and the related border closures.
- Acting for Snowy Hydro in the enterprise bargaining for Snowy Hydro’s main enterprise bargaining agreement and planning for the A$5.1 billion Snowy 2.0 project.
With a strong presence across Australia, Minter Ellison's workplace department regularly attracts complex and high-profile work, and has proven capabilities across all areas of labour and employment law. The department has a broad base of industry strengths, including acting for clients in the financial services, education, construction, energy and resources, government and media. Jim Fox heads up the national practice group from Sydney. Dan Williams in Brisbane leads the team's Queensland offering and has recently been advising on a groundbreaking High Court case with major implications for casual workers and their employers. Other group leaders include Amanda Watt in Melbourne, who is known for her expertise in board-level strategic risk management; Kathy Reid in Perth, whose client base includes some of the largest employers in Western Australia; and industrial relations and media sector specialist Andrew Short in Adelaide. A further recommended lawyer is special counsel Cassandra Collier in Melbourne, whose practice has recently included a high-profile investigation.
‘For workplace investigations and advice, Jennifer Patterson is our “go-to”. Jennifer is discreet, effective and reasoned.’
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Westpac Banking Corporation
Civmec Construction & Engineering
Insurance Australia Group
- Advising the Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations in the Rossato proceedings on casual employment.
- Advising Murdoch University on response to allegations of adverse action and breaches of the rarely litigated Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003 (WA) brought by a senior academic staff member.
- Acting for Linfox Australia Pty Ltd on a complex industrial dispute involving approximately 60 long distance truck drivers based in Western Australia.
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Maintaining its position as a market leader in this space, Seyfarth Shaw LLP provides highly sophisticated advice across employment and industrial relations work. It is at home acting on highly significant advisory matters as well as representing top clients in complex and high-profile litigation. Darren Perry heads up the practice from Sydney and is a market leader in industrial relations strategy and complex employment litigation. Two other market heavyweights (in the Melbourne team) include Chris Gardner, a highly regarded expert in enterprise bargaining, and Henry Skene, a leading name in workplace reform. Another name to note in Melbourne is Michael Tamvakologos, an expert in workplace strategy development work with additional experience in employment restraints. Other experienced team members with active practices include Erin Hawthorne in Melbourne, and Ben Dudley and Rachel Bernasconi in Sydney. A senior associate with a burgeoning Melbourne-based practice is Justine Giuliani, whose expertise includes post-employment restraint matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is entirely employment lawyers – group of experts in the area. Very knowledgeable and partners are very practical. You can call them up and get practical advice, rather than just a spouting of the law.‘
‘Erin Hawthorne and Henry Skene are terrific. Very approachable and very practical in their advice – you can call them with a scenario and you’ll get a practical answer about what to do next.‘
‘Real life, concise, practical advice from practitioners who are accessible and professional.‘
‘Michael Tamvakologos and his team don’t simply work matter to matter, they develop a deep and current understanding of our business in terms of its short- ,medium- and long-term strategies. This informs technically excellent advice which considers the practical implications for our business, and often means that they can be proactive in terms of issue spotting. Michael genuinely cares about his clients and clearly has a passion for his work, and this shows in the level of service and quality of advice.‘
‘Michael Tamvakologos really cares about his clients and understands our business on more than a superficial level. This leads to more pragmatic advice than is typical. This is coupled with a his obvious passion for the law and experience across the whole spectrum of E&IR matters. I can’t think of a single time when Michael and his team have not delivered excellent advice and offered innovative solutions. Service levels are also very high. Rachel Bernasconi in Sydney is also an excellent lawyer and extremely responsive, Erin Hawthorne is an excellent litigator.’
BAE Systems Australia (BAE)
Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT)
Seven Network, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Daily Mail
Online betting agency
- Acting as sole strategic advisors to DP World regarding its industrial and employment law issues.
- Advising Telstra on the reorganisation of the Telstra business as part of its T22 strategy.
- Successfully removing a picket line through litigation in the Supreme Court of Victoria and defending the attempted termination of an enterprise agreement at VICT.
Baker McKenzie's employment department covers all areas of law in this space, and attracts high-calibre clients for significant matters. The team's offering spans strategic industrial relations advice, defending highly sensitive sexual harassment and bullying claims, whistleblowing, senior executive matters, class action and immigration. A major source of work for the practice is the healthcare sector, with a number of national and international pharmaceutical companies counted among clients. Sydney-based practice head Michael Michalandos focuses in particular on executive-level issues, including corporate misconduct, whistleblowing and investigations. Other notable team members include Paul Brown, who specialises in collective industrial actions, Spiro Mellos, an expert in complex executive-level claims, and the Melbourne-based Sean Selleck, who has deep experience in non-standard labour practices and supply chain management. A more junior lawyer with a growing practice is Stephen Hardy. Named partners are Sydney-based unless otherwise mentioned.
‘One thing that really stands out about the Labour and Employment team at Baker McKenzie is the responsiveness of everyone on the team. Labour and employment matters can be extremely time sensitive, and it’s great to know that the team at Baker McKenzie will do whatever they can to make themselves available at all sorts of time and on little to no notice. That brings a lot of comfort to in-house legal teams and their business partners. The other key differentiator for Baker McKenzie is its extensive global network. I know I can rely on Baker McKenzie lawyers in almost every location around the world in which we operate.‘
‘Stephen Hardy has been incredibly helpful and responsive, and I rely on him extensively. He always adopts a pragmatic approach and offers practical tips that make it is easy to put his advice into action. He also works really well with non-legal clients in the business, by providing very clear, straightforward and easily-understood guidance.’
Krispy Kreme Australia
Ardent Leisure Limited
Appco Group Australia
Smiths Detection Australia
- Advising Unilever Australia Limited on the negotiation of the enterprise agreement for the Weis Toowoomba Site, and the closure agreement for the site with various unions.
- Representing Hutchison Ports (Sydney and Brisbane) before the Fair Work Commission in various industrial disputes at the Sydney port facility, and defence of claims by the Maritime Union of Australia with respect to the alleged non-payment of enterprise agreement provisions.
- Acting for Krispy Kreme Australia Limited before the Fair Work Commission on the arbitration of various matters arising out of the negotiation and approval of a national enterprise agreement.
Clayton Utz fields a sizeable team across offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra which covers the full spectrum of employment work in this space. Key strengths of the practice include expertise advising clients in the corporate, construction, energy and natural resource, and higher education sectors, as well as offering expertise in industrial relations and regulatory litigation. In addition to this, the Sydney team has significantly grown its client base in the digital and tech sector. Saul Harben heads up the national practice from Perth, and maintains a strong roster of mining and government sector clients. Elsewhere, Hedy Cray heads up the Brisbane team, and is a name for strategic advisory work in Queensland, while Graham Smith in Melbourne combines expertise in advising on workplace strategies with deep experience working on federal industrial regulation. In team news, Robbie Walker retired in June 2019 and Abraham Ash departed for Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors in March 2020.
Korea Zinc (its subsidiaries Sun Metals Corporation, Townsville Logistics and Townsville Marine Logistics)
Delivery Hero (Foodora Australia Pty Ltd)
Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd (VAA)
Gladstone Airport Corporation.
Tiger Airways Pty Ltd (Tiger Air)
Regional Express Airlines (Rex)
Group of 8 Universities (including Monash University, Australian National University, University of NSW, Sydney University, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Western Australia and University of Adelaide)
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC)
Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO)
Registered Organisations Commission (ROC)
Gold Fields Australia
NSW Rural Fire Service
- Advising the Administrators of VAA and associated entities in relation to their voluntary administration.
- Acting for JCU in defending a high profile litigation by a former academic staff member, including in respect of an appeal before the Federal Court filed by the University, concerning whether the University could dismiss the employee for serious misconduct.
- Advising ExxonMobil in Federal Court proceedings against the AWU for damages and penalties in respect of unprotected industrial action in 2015.
Corrs Chambers Westgarth continues to grow its client base of ASX-listed companies and major multinational corporations, and provides a wide range of services across employment law. In particular, the firm has recently been advising employers on the implications of Covid-19 on their workforces, as well as handling enterprise bargaining negotiations and large-scale staff transfers. Melbourne-based practice head John Tuck specialises in workplace disputes, risk management and litigation on behalf of state and federal governments and a variety of businesses. Other key names include Paul Burns in Melbourne, a regulatory expert regularly involved in employment litigation and complex commercial restructurings, and Sydney-based Jack de Flamingh, an experienced industrial relations specialist. The Melbourne-based Sarah Clarke was promoted to partner in July 2020; she focuses on complex terminations of employment and workplace investigations.
‘The team is responsive, knowledgeable and pleasant to work with.‘
‘The team goes above and beyond to tailor advice that not only encompasses legal compliance more broadly but also industry and business specific factors that make the interactions personalised. Always available to answer questions and provide responses in a timely and efficient manner. Exceptionally knowledgeable with sound legal advice. Exceptional context knowledge which includes being well abreast of recent decisions in the FWC which are noteworthy to our specific industry along with well set out communication RE larger national decisions. Corrs Chambers Westgarth is the firm I choose to engage with on an ongoing basis due to their friendly, down to earth nature framed by exceptionally strong and pragmatic advice. Giving legal advice that is not only technically accurate but also looking from a practical ‘application’ perspective is so incredibly important when it comes to labour and employment law.’
‘The individuals aim to build rapport which has resulted in a working relationship built on trust and confidence whereby I can seek out advice knowing that the individuals are genuinely invested in providing such a high level of service to my organisation. The way in which legal training was conducted, taking into consideration the target audience (blue collar frontline supervision) the individuals within the team conveyed the legal messages in a format that was easy to understand in simple and straightforward terms. The ability to ‘talk to the right audience’ was something that I’ve not seen lawyers from other practices do in my experiences to date. It is one of the most value adding aspects of Corrs Chambers Westgarth and in particular Jack De Flamingh.‘
‘The balance of local (Australian) expertise, coupled with the resources of a global (ius laboris) network of firms.‘
‘Continued high-level of responsiveness from Paul Burns during this disruptive time of COVID-19.’
‘Alerting us to issues within the market (changes to annualised salary arrangements; new work, health and safety reporting requirements for COVID-19) which have allowed us to close significant potential compliance gaps.‘
‘Long-standing (20 year) association between the lead partner and our organisation has meant that there is a deep understanding of our business and a deep respect in our organisation for the opinion and advice from that lead partner.‘
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
State of Victoria
John Holland Group
University of Melbourne
- Advising BP on its long running enterprise bargaining negotiations with more than 5,700 Australian employees, set against the backdrop of industrial action.
- Advising a number of leading organisations operating in the Australian market on issues relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Australia. The advice is across a range of sensitive issues that bring real reputational risk., including: stand down orders (work cessation), union action and walk off threats, staff self-isolation and advice on leave arrangements, cost cutting measures and other business continuity advice.
- Advising Hays Specialist Recruitment (Australia) Pty Ltd on the business-critical approval of the Black Coal Enterprise Agreement with its workforce, which permitted the use of casual employees.
King & Wood Mallesons
Regularly instructed by leading corporate clients on significant strategic and advisory matters, King & Wood Mallesons is particularly well known for the financial services expertise of practitioners based out of the Sydney office; this area of work includes the implementation of new compliance measures, payment reviews and high-profile litigation. The Brisbane office is particularly strong in industrial relations disputes for heavy industry clients in Queensland. The team is jointed headed up by Murray Kellock in Melbourne, who maintains a broad and impressive client roster, and the Perth-based Philip Willox, whose practice includes a focus on Fair Work Act compliance matters. Other key names in the practice include Andrew Gray in Sydney, an expert on senior executives appointment and disputes, and Brisbane-based practitioner Jamie Wells, who combines industrial relations expertise with a niche practice in public sector structuring and restructuring work. A special counsel with a strong practice is Ruth Rosedale in Perth.
‘Unparalleled responsiveness and availability. A commercial and pragmatic approach that enables the advice to be readily applied and communicated internally without having to be translated for the real world. The advice given is always grounded in the broader organisational context – helping to ensure the long term implications are factored in, not just the short-term outcome.‘
‘I can always rely on Murray Kellock to tell it straight – a very real world practitioner who understands that this is an area of the law that is all about people, who have real world motivations and stresses, and that how I need to move forward in my matters needs to prioritise an understanding of and plan to deal with the likely reaction of those individuals to it.‘
Specialist employment firm Kingston Reid has been a noteworthy new name on the market since its founding in November 2019 by former partners at K&L Gates. Operating out of offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, the practice maintains an impressive client roster, with industry strengths in the government, ports and logistics, financial services, mining and resources, and construction sectors. Managing partner Alice DeBoos in Sydney has expertise defending large employee claims and industrial disputes. Other key team members include Steven Amendola, who is the name to note in Melbourne and whose practice spans major clients in both the public and private sectors, and Duncan Fletcher in Perth, whose expertise is in developing workplace relations strategies, especially in the resources, maritime and major projects sectors. A more junior partner with a significant practice is Michael Stutley, who has experience dealing with cross-border matters.
‘Every member of the practice who we engage with provides a very high level of responsive service.‘
‘Christa Lenard has proven time and time again that she is willing to go the extra mile to be a valuable partner for us, making herself available at all times (often out of hours) to assist with pressing and time-sensitive matters that are significant to our business. Christa has been able to successfully build relationships with a number of leaders within my organisation through her personable approach to providing direct, yet balanced advice. I appreciate that Christa takes a very commercial view of the matters.’
‘Duncan Fletcher (and his team) are industry leaders, have a good understanding of the business, provide pragmatic advice and have strong technical knowledge. We have not had reason to use any other firms for advice on this area.‘
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development
Fortescue Meals Group
Illawarra Retirement Trust
McConnell Dowell Constructors
McDonald Jones Homes
NSW Ministry of Health
NSW Police Force
Seven West Media
Teekay Shipping (Australia)
Transport for NSW
Visa Global Logistics
- Representing Teekay in relation to 22 unfair dismissal applications with a maximum compensatory value of more than A$1.6 million.
- Representing Macquarie Bank in responding to seven claims in the Federal Circuit Court by ex-financial advisers for underpayment.
- Working with Fortescue on the successful implementation of a temporary extended work roster to allow production and employment to continue through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Norton Rose Fulbright is distinguished by its reputation for handling strategic workplace investigations into employee conduct and compliance. Other clear strengths of the team are in advising on large-scale downsizing, corporate restructures and wind-downs, and in defending high-value, sensitive litigation, often involving allegations of discrimination and harassment. Industrial relations is another area of focus, especially involving the negotiation and drafting of enterprise agreements. The practice has an impressive roster of clients in the government sector, including major state and commonwealth agencies. Jason Noakes heads up the department from Sydney, with support from Sally Woodward (also Sydney), an expert on discrimination and harassment matters; the Brisbane-based Martin Osborne, who is known for his advice to clients in the energy, resources and infrastructure sectors; and the Melbourne-based Helene Lee, whose broad practice includes recent high-profile work in employment restructures.
‘The reason I keep returning to NRF is Martin Osborne. Martin provides down-to-earth advice in a way which makes it easy for a layman like me to understand. As a client I am also able to explain to Martin what the outcome is that I am looking for and he will then work out the legal options available and recommend what is the best way to get there.‘
New South Wales Police
A number of major contractors on the Ichthys LNG Project
Australian Federal Police
Department of Health and Human Services
Australian Building and Construction Commission
- Working with the client to resolve a wage underpayment problem affecting about 900 employees to a total amount of about A$2m.
- Negotiating several enterprise agreements, successfully addressing issues with the Fair Work Commission regarding the approval process, and opposing an intervention from the CFMMEU.
- Representing NSW Police in its defence of a claim in the Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales brought by a former police prosecutor that alleged he had been unlawfully terminated and seeking reinstatement.
The employment and safety team at Allens acts for a number of Australia's largest companies as well as major multinationals. The wide range of work includes advice on major workforce reviews, handling senior executive appointments, exits and remuneration, transactional support and employment litigation. Simon Dewberry heads up the team from Melbourne, and has deep experience advising on major workplace investigations, restructures and industrial relations issues. He is supported by Sydney-based lawyers Veronica Siow and the recently promoted Sikeli Ratu (made up to partner in July 2020), whose practice focuses on enterprise bargaining and the implementation of major organisational change.
National Australia Bank (NAB)
The Star Entertainment Group
- Advising Sunwater in relation to the underpayment of senior leaders and technical specialists between 2006 and 2019.
- Defending proceedings initiated in the Federal Court by a former employee against BlueScope and senior employees, including allegations of breaches of the Fair Work Act and the employment contract.
- Acting for NAB in the investigation of a number of sensitive whistleblowing disclosures and other complaints regarding misconduct.
Integrated into the firm's global network, the employment department at DLA Piper attracts a number of high-profile multinational clients for advice on Australian operations, as well as drawing a large proportion of work from local connections. The team is distinguished by its strengths in the life sciences, consumer goods, food, retail, and financial services sectors. Sydney-based team head Nicholas Turner's expertise includes restrictive covenants and advising multinational clients moving into or expanding within Australia. Among other key lawyers, Rick Catanzariti in Melbourne maintains strong client relationships in the manufacturing, retail, transport, and government sectors, while Perth-based Leanne Nickels is a specialist in industrial relations strategies in relation to mining and resources projects.
‘The advice provided by DLA Piper’s Perth labour and employment team is always pragmatic, business-focused and delivered in a cost-effective manner.‘
‘DLA Piper’s labour and employment practice, and its partner Leanne Nickels, provide excellent technical advice which is attuned to the specifics of our business. We know that we can always rely on Leanne and her team to deliver what we need in a timely manner, and at a sensible cost. Leanne is also personable and approachable, and exhibits a genuine regard for her client relationships.’
Westpac Banking Corporation
Gold Road Resources
Ora Banda Mining
One Tree Community Services Inc
Peakzone Pty Ltd trading as Peak Industrial Electrical (Part of the Everett-Smith Group)
- Providing key employment advice on significant private equity deal of the year for AirTrunk which then lead to a deep review of all employment contracts, policies, work rules and processes throughout existing and newly formed operations in Asia Pacific.
- Advising SmileDirectClub on the employment aspects of its entry into the Australian market. This included advice regarding head office employees, advice regarding modern award compliance in respect of employees across the retail network and advice regarding models of engagement for health practitioners.
- Advising Wellard Limited (Australia’s largest livestock exporter) and its Chairman, in Federal Court of Australia and High Court of Singapore proceedings with Wellard Limited’s former Managing Director.
Johnson Winter & Slattery is known for its focus on certain key areas in contentious employment law, including sexual harassment and whistleblowing claims, post-employment restraint of trade obligations, and high-profile employment class actions. On the advisory side, the team is experienced in areas, such as industrial relations, especially for major change projects and enterprise agreements, and acting for private equity companies in post-acquisition organisational restructures. Sector strengths include media, transport, education, energy and resources, information technology, retail, financial services, health and aged care sectors. The team is jointly headed up by Jan Dransfield and litigator Ruveni Kelleher in Sydney, and Lucienne Mummé in Melbourne.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is big enough to have real depth of experience and expertise but not so big that it feels siloed to work with.‘
‘Jan Dransfield is approachable, practical and thoughtful in her advice. She always sees the bigger picture and her strategic thinking and problem solving is exceptional.‘
‘Lucienne and the team provide commercial, practical solutions to complex problems. They go beyond the legal solution to understand the business needs.‘
A2 Milk Company
AMP Services Ltd
Bendigo & Adelaide Bank
Boehringer Ingelheim Pty Ltd
Newell Group (including Sunbeam)
Qantas Airways Limited
Seven West Media Limited/Seven Network (Operations) Ltd
Southern Cross Austereo
St Vincents Health Australia (SVHA)
Swissport Pty Ltd
Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc and Teva Pharma Australia
- Advising AB InBev on arrangements for transfer of employees out of the Australian business being sold to Asahi into a company that would remain part of the AB InBev group.
- Acting for Merivale Group in class action proceedings commenced in the Federal Court regarding alleged underpayments.
- Successfully defending various employment proceedings against a subsidiary of the Qantas Group in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Lander & Rogers
Operating out of offices in Sydney and Melbourne, the workplace relations and safety team at Lander & Rogers serves a wide and varied national client base. Areas of specialism for the department include industrial relations, discrimination matters, investigations, underpayment issues, restraint of trade disputes and transactional support on M&A deals. In addition to sector strengths in retail, financial services, education and community, another notable focus is on advising government entities on a range of administrative, industrial and regulatory matters. The Melbourne-based Daniel Proietto heads up the practice, with support in Sydney from the veteran practitioner Tony Woods.
Department of Planning, Industry & Environment
South Western Sydney Local Health District
Victorian Department of Justice & Community Safety
Country Fire Authority
Tandem Corp Pty Ltd
The University of Melbourne
Department of Justice and Community Safety
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co (Aus) Limited
Australian Rail Track Corporation
Victorian Department of Parliamentary Services
Blood Service division of the Australian Red Cross Society
Transport for NSW
Catholic Education Melbourne
DXC Technology Australia Pty Limited
Coles Group Limited
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Sydney Branch
Bunnings Building Supplies
EnergyAustralia Pty Ltd (Project Work)
Victorian TAFE Association
Insurance Australia Limited
- Acting for Tandem in defending a class action that has been brought against them by Shine Lawyers. The claim purports to be on behalf of up to 4000 independent contractors who it is claimed are or were in fact employees.
- Acting for ARTC in relation to the negotiation and approval of a new enterprise agreement for its NSW operations.
- Successfully defending and dismissing a general protections application made against Healthscope in Federal Circuit Court of Australia seeking damages in excess of A$1M.
Regularly acting for multinational corporations and state and local governments, Maddocks is recognised for the strength of its industrial relations and disputes practice. It is also known for its remuneration and benefits practice, and capability to provide transactional support and cross-border advice. Sexual harassment cases and regulatory matters are further strengths of the department. Practice group head Lindy Richardson has a strong client base in the Victorian local and state government sector. Catherine Dunlop leads the Melbourne team, while Bruce Heddle heads up the offering in Sydney. In team news, Karli Edwards departed for HWL Ebsworth in January 2020.
‘In my experience the employment law team at Maddocks has always worked hard to ensure that they provide best practice advice and representation. They have a thorough understanding of both the relevant law and our key objectives and strategies.‘
‘Stand out features are their knowledge of the law relevant to our particular area, their accessibility, being available to deal with issues seemingly at any time, and the fact that they are a close knit team.‘
Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited
State Government of Victoria (Various clients including State Revenue Office, Department of Justice and Community Services)
Commissioner of Police, New South Wales Police Force
Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (NSW State Gov)
Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE
More than 50 Victorian Local Governments
- Advising Domino’s on all of the industrial relations aspects of the class action proceedings which have been commenced against Domino’s in the Federal Court on behalf of employees of Domino’s sub-franchisees.
- Acting for the State in a long running litigation dispute with a now former employee, which has involved proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Court of Appeal and the Fair Work Commission.
- Representing the CoP in judicial review proceedings, which are currently before the Supreme Court of New South Wales, in a matter involving a police officer who was removed from the New South Wales Police Force for testing positive to illicit drugs.
The workplace relations and safety group, headed up by Mark Howard in Melbourne, serves clients from its offices across Australia in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide. Advising both public and private sector employers, the team is particularly known for its work in the defence of employment practices liability claims.
Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors fields a highly specialised workplace and employment team which advises SMEs through to ASX-listed companies. The team has a longstanding reputation for being at the forefront of developments in enterprise bargaining laws. The firm CEO Nigel Ward is an employment specialist. Other key names in Sydney include Luis Izzo and Abraham Ash (who arrived from Clayton Utz in February 2020), while the key name in Brisbane is Dianne Hollyoak.
‘ABL know our organisation and are able to give advice and guidance on a range of employment matters from simple and straight forward to complex and with risk. They have contemporary knowledge of law and apply their prior experience.‘
‘Timely and measured advice and guidance that is relevant to the risk appetite of the organisation.‘
‘The high-quality knowledge of industrial relations and the experience the partners and team have in their speciality fields. Advice given is always in depth, yet easy to interpret and understand.‘
‘Dianne Hollyoak is a pleasure to deal with and the depth of her knowledge is evident. Dianne also looks to what is best for the client and will advise if the investment should be made in advice relevant to the situation you are dealing with.‘
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Representing the Australian Chamber in industry-wide negotiations and proceedings to urgently vary awards in the Clerical, Restaurant, Hospitality and Vehicle Manufacturing/Repair/Sales industry, achieving consensus on urgent award variations in order to maintain jobs in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Representing Chatime Australia in the 30-month investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman into underpayments of Award covered staff; representing Chatime in the subsequent prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman in the Federal Circuit Court against Chatime and its managing director.
- Acting for Merivale in the termination of its long-standing enterprise agreement and securing a seamless termination of the enterprise agreement over a measured timeframe to ensure Merivale’s workforce transitioned to new industrial instruments without incident.
FCB Workplace Law
Specialist workplace relations firm FCB Workplace Law advises a diverse client base on all areas of workplace law. This includes, in particular, everything from enterprise bargaining and underpayment auditing through to investigations and HR advice. Sector strengths include retail, aged care, construction, manufacturing, professional services, real estate and hospitality. Managing partner Campbell Fisher heads up the team from Sydney, while Bianca Seeto is in charge of the Brisbane office and is an expert in serving clients in the retail, hospitality and fast food industries.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team at FCB – particularly the Brisbane team led by Bianca – is amazing. They take the time to build relationships and understand our business and therefore able to deliver practical solutions while managing risk.‘
Rugby Union Players Association
Bakaraju, Ravi Chandra
Bovogen Biologicals Pty Ltd
NES Global Pty Ltd
CW Retail Services Pty Ltd
A2B Australia Pty Ltd
KinCare Health Services Pty Ltd
- Representing the Rugby Union Players Association in the Code of Conduct matter concerning Israel Folau, Religious Freedom, Freedom of Speech, Breach of Contract and Code of Conduct for a Wallaby. This was one of the most high profile matters involving a Australian sports star in the last decade.
- Advising on an important case that will set the minimum employment conditions across an entire industry and potentially cost that industry up to $50 million due to incorporation, as most WA pharmacies are sole traders, and cost our client (a Franchise business) $20 million to incorporate its franchisees.
- Defending an application by a current employee – a rarely litigated area of the General Protections system.
Gadens Lawyers stands apart for its strengths advising clients in the FMCG and hospitality sectors, having recently advised on a number of 'wage theft' matters in this space. It also counts among its clients the Fair Work Ombudsman, especially in relation to the JobKeeper scheme. Practice head Steven Troeth is a key name in the education sector, especially among independent schools. Other key names include Siobhan Mulcahy, an FMCG sector expert and Brett Feltham, a specialist in employee global mobility. In team news, Ian Dixon retired May 2020.
Richemont (Cartier, Dunhill, IWC Schaffhausen, Montblanc, and Van Cleef & Arpels)
- Advising Pirelli in relation to various employment and workplace relations issues which arise in its Australian operations.
- Providing strategic and timely advice and support to McCain on the range of employment related issues at a corporate and manufacturing site level.
- Advising Richemont in relation to various employment and workplace relations issues which arise in its Australian operations.
Gilbert + Tobin
The compact employment team at Gilbert + Tobin focuses its practice on transactions, disputes and investigations. In litigation, the department is active in cases relating to the Fair Work Commission, and in Federal, Supreme and District Court litigation. On the advisory side, the team handles the drafting of contracts and agreements, advises on corporate governance and assists clients with organisational restructuring and redundancy. Dianne Banks in Sydney heads up the department, with support from special counsel James Pomeroy.
Other key lawyers:
‘I have worked with a number of G&T legal staff over the past few years and found their approach to be collegiate, consultative and above all able to get the best outcome by driving a win-win solutions strategy.‘
‘They are highly ethical, experiences and anticipate a range of outcomes. They ensure you are aware of all angles of the law and help you interpret advice to drive the best outcome. They are transparent and accountable.‘
‘Great depth of knowledge in Australian employment laws and regulations, at a state and federal level. Gilbert & Tobin’s practice seamlessly provides coverage across BAU queries (contract reviews and advisory work) and litigious matters. Highly recommend this team.‘
‘Dianne Banks and her team are responsive, knowledgeable and pragmatic. They take the time to understand our business and its needs, and help drive the outcomes we seek.‘
‘The labour and employment practice at Gilbert & Tobin are helpful and responsive. The team is on par with other firms and worked well with other Gilbert & Tobin teams to provide a more complete advice.‘
‘James Pomeroy’s superior technical knowledge is applied with commercial pragmatism. James’ calm demeanour when providing his advice under time pressure from the business was greatly appreciated. James also took the time to explain his advice and so provided a development opportunity from a client perspective.’
Nuix Pty Limited
Rema Tip Top Asia Pacific Pty Ltd
Rookwood General Cemetery
Tata Communications (Australia) Pty Limited
- Acting for Digital Wallet Pty Ltd (Digital Wallet) and three individual respondents defending a complex general protections claim brought by Digital Wallet’s former CEO who also made allegations of breaches of the whistleblower laws under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) seeking penalties and compensatory damages.
- Acting for Rema Tip Top Asia Pacific (Rema) in complex litigation against its former Managing Director and CEO, who had dishonestly misappropriated company assets.
- Advising Nuix in relation to a dispute with its former CEO regarding disputed contractual entitlements up to some 450,000 Options.
Hall & Wilcox combines employment advisory capabilities with an established reputation in litigation. In particular, the team has recently carved out significant niche expertise in restraint of trade matters. The national practice operates out of offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. Practice head Karl Rozenbergs in Melbourne has deep litigation expertise, regularly dealing with clients in the financial services, aged care, manufacturing sectors and quasi-governmental bodies. Other key names in the team include Alison Baker in Melbourne and Fay Calderone in Sydney.
- Advising on self-disclosure to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) regarding underpayment of modern award entitlements to a discrete group of employees, totalling almost A$400,000 and affecting hundreds of employees.
- Acting for the energy supplier in relation to the negotiation of employee and asset transfer agreements and industrial relations issues as part of a A$600 million services agreement with another company; advising on the strategy and terms around the transaction including the strategy for announcing the transfer, the energy supplier’s consultation obligations, its strategy for managing the industrial campaign commenced by the union, and managing employee communications.
- Advising and representing a leading telecommunications provider in employment litigation matters, particularly general protections, discrimination, and unfair dismissal claims.
Harmers Workplace Lawyers
Acting for employers, employees and representative organisations, specialist employment firm Harmers Workplace Lawyers operates out of offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The practice offers general employment advice, as well as representation in high-profile disputes and assistance with industrial relations matters. Sydney-based practice head Michael Harmer maintains longstanding relationships with a wide range of clients. Other key names in the Sydney team include Emma Pritchard and Jenny Inness.
- Successfully challenging the validity of the controversial Commonwealth Backpacker Tax (worth c.$150million/year to the Commonwealth) on discrimination grounds / breach of international bilateral agreements.
- Averting major industrial action and instigated renewed EA bargaining for an international food production plant through novel arguments.
- Advising on workplace fatalities for several clients in the construction, manufacturing and material handling sectors.
The employment and industrial relations team at HFW, headed up by the Sydney-based Mark Sant, is known in particular for its sector expertise in hospitality, construction, stevedoring, transport and energy. The practice is known for its experience handling contentious and sensitive employment disputes before the courts. In a hire significantly boosting the department's west coast offering, Charmaine Tsang joined the Perth office from Lavan Legal in April 2020. Industrial relations and enterprise bargaining specialist Brendan Milne in Melbourne is another key name to note in the team.
‘HFW have been a strong business partner over the last few years. They have a high level professional and supportive team who know our business and ensure they proactively approach and understand legislative changes affecting the hospitality industry. They are approachable and provide competent and clear advice in a language that resonates with our people.‘
‘They provide advice that is prudent and highlights the risk options clearly ensuring we are well informed to make decisions affecting compliance which supports our reputation.‘
‘Mark Sant has provided support 24/7 when required. He has always been approachable, sensitive to our business needs and I have always felt that “no question is a silly question”. He is courteous and professional at all times.‘
‘HFW stands out with their commercial client-focused industrial relations and employment practice. They understand our business needs and deliver quality advice with no ambiguity that makes business sense. The team is accessible and easy to work with; they provide business advice as much as legal advice. I have been working with the team for 2 years. We engaged the team for all things IR ranging strategic advice around structures and compliance to court disputes. We would not turn to any other firm for legal advice in this space.‘
‘Charmaine Tsang always provides clear and concise advice that is commercially sound. She is an exceptional IR lawyer, great to work with and proactively looks for innovative ways to assist our business. She is passionate about promoting diversity in the legal sector.‘
‘The labour and employment practice at HFW is unique in the manner in which it delivers its legal services because it provides options to its clients with respect to the delivery of legal services – ranging from a traditional approach to delivery to the use of technological solutions. This allows clients to receive services in a manner which suits their needs. The team itself is also very capable, with a wonderful depth of knowledge and experience across all areas of employment and industrial relations law. The team members are warm and engaging, and they listen and consider clients suggestions and needs, and try to deliver legally compliant and pragmatic solutions.’
‘I work closely with Mark Sant in particular. He has great business acumen, as well as a vast understanding of the law and legal issues, and so is particularly fabulous at devising strategies and solutions that work. He is also very easy to deal with, builds trust well, provides timely and cost effective advice and is an expert in his field (both employment and industrial law).‘
‘Brendan Milne is a stand out advisor and I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone. He is easy to deal with, always available and responsive, goes the extra mile, has a vast knowledge of industrial relations but is also very practical and takes the time to understand our commercial drivers and our stakeholders.’
Accor Hotel Group
Munich Holdings of Australasia Pty Limited
- Acting for WSP in a stop-bullying claim brought by one of its employees in the anti-bullying jurisdiction of the Fair Work Commission against the company and the employee’s manager.
- Providing advice to John Holland regarding a dispute brought against it by a former employee in the Fair Work Commission alleging that he had been underpaid various allowances and misclassified under the applicable enterprise agreement, including by drafting written submissions.
- Assisting and advising DDH1 in responding to a discrimination claim lodged in the Australian Human Rights Commissions by a labour hire candidate who had been unsuccessful in obtaining a role with the company.
The workplace relations and safety group at HWL Ebsworth, headed up by Mark Howard in Melbourne, serves clients from its offices across Australia in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, and Adelaide. Advising both public and private sector employers, the team is particularly known for its work in the defence of employment practices liability claims.
The labour and employment team at Jones Day benefits from the firm's global network, which allows it to provide Australian employment law advice to international clients. In particular, the practice advises corporate clients on employment aspects of M&A and outsourcing transactions, with additional experience in senior executive termination, post-employment restraints, employment benefits, industrial relations and data privacy matters. Adam Salter leads the team from Perth.
‘Jones Day is the only firm that we trust when it comes to Labour and Employment Matters. Jones Day strength is their depth of knowledge whether it be employment or commercial. The lawyers and partners that we have worked with are extremely professional, super proficient and their expertise on a whole range of matters is second to none.‘
‘Adam Salter (Perth), Aimee Donjerkovich (Perth) and Jennifer Chambers (Sydney) are all brilliant lawyers. They provide exceptional service whenever I needed them or the business needed them. They have always provided advice to protect our businesses interest and provided exceptional result every time.‘
ACI Worldwide (Pacific) Pty Limited
Martin Brower Australia Pty Limited
Horizon Global Corporation
Teleperformance Australia Pty Limited
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR)
- Advising KPMG Australia on all employment law aspects of its merger with Ferrier Hodgson.
- Advising Horizon Global (NYSE: HZN) on all employment law aspects of the sale of its Australian and Asia-Pacific division to Pacific Equity Partners.
- Advising Teleperformance Australia on a mass redundancy of all employees working at a call centre in Melbourne.
Headed up by the Newark-based chair of the firm's global employment practice Rosemary Alito, K&L Gates combines experience across broad regulatory and litigation in this space. It is known in particular for its work in a number of sectors including health, education, agriculture, sports and government. Key names in Australia include Nick Ruskin, sports and healthcare sector expert Michaela Moloney, and public sector specialist Peter Lupson (all Melbourne-based).
Australian Football League (AFL)
Australian Red Cross
Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA)
Department of Education
Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Co-Operative Ltd
St Vincent’s Hospital
Central Highlands Water
Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC)
- Acting for 21 leading law firms in a case before a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission about annualised salaries clauses in the Legal Services Award as part of the Four Year Review of Awards.
- Advising a large humanitarian aid charity concerning a large scale underpayment project in underpaid wages and entitlements.
- Advising Victoria University over three years in its enterprise bargaining process, to achieve a new and simplified enterprise agreement.
Melbourne-based boutique employment firm KHQ Lawyers provides advice on industrial, safety and HR matters to a wide range of clients, with expertise advising contractors in the resources and infrastructure sectors, young companies in tech, media and financial services, and government entities. Practice head Chris Gianatti operates nationally on the full range of front-end and contentious industrial, employment and safety law matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘KHQ’s people are passionate about their specialty areas, but will also seek to engage and understand our business in order to understand our drivers and approach to ER, IR and WHS issues. What really sets KHQ apart is their language. While the legal aspects are always there, it is presented in a business digestible format. Equally, the firm is always willing to explore options and test areas of law. It can be exciting to work with them.‘
‘Chris Giannatti and Michael Cochrane are standouts in their employment law field. Chris’s encyclopaedic case law knowledge is one of the best I’ve come across. His ability to provide legal solutions ‘on the fly’ is definitely a stand out, but the complex written work acknowledges the audience is the business, not other lawyers necessarily.’
‘Michael has an excellent strategic mindset when managing cases. Great focus on the longer game and sticking to the case narrative. Within that is excellent judgement on the tactical components of running cases.‘
‘A diverse team with a combination of skills and experience. Strong technical and commercial expertise. The in-house experience of partners at this firm is invaluable to the practice, enabling efficient, practical and commercial advice and outcomes.‘
‘Everyone I have dealt with at KHQ is approachable, personable and effective, overall a fantastic team to work with.‘
‘I feel the team at the practice at KHQ Lawyers are unique because they are all really personal. They take the time to understand not only our company needs and requirements, but our individual needs and requirements.‘
‘Pragmatic. Expert. Available and very approachable. Commercial – they understand commercial drivers in decision-making by business.‘
‘I have worked with a number of firms over the years, however I have never experienced the level of service, knowledge and accessibility that Chris Gianatti of KHQ provides to me as a client.’
‘Chris Gianatti is sensational. Always returns calls promptly and willing to discuss matters. His team is the same, treating the client to exceptional advice and service.‘
‘KHQ Lawyers is focused on finding the best solution for the business rather than wanting to proceed to litigation as a default option – litigation (although a necessary evil) doesn’t complete projects!‘
‘Chris Gianatti and his team know the industry and they know the players. They are always happy to make an effort to visit site and see and understand the problem for themselves. I see them as integrated members of the team as opposed to a resource I turn to when needed.‘
‘The practice’s real strength is that its lawyers are able to combine technical legal knowledge with practical industry experience to ensure that solutions developed are able to be achieved. This is particularly important in employment/industrial issues as any solution needs to be workable and acceptable at a workplace level.‘
‘The practice has also promoted within significantly which is a testament to their culture and their ability to develop their people which is reflected in their practice.‘
‘The size of the firm allows a more personalised approach and lawyers are always available to deal with issues.‘
‘Chris Gianatti and the team in the Labour and Employment practice of KHQ create a unique relationship with the client. They do so by focussing on the strategic business outcome desired and how it may be achieved cost effectively. You always feel they genuinely care.‘
‘Chris Gianatti – leads from the front – happy to understand core issues before he delegates. An expert who you can trust your company with.‘
‘KHQ Labour and Employment practice is made up of an exceptional group of highly competent and experienced lawyers who understand employment law and OHS&E like no other firm that I’ve dealt with in 20+ years. KHQ’s advice is practical and strategic, they navigate the applicable law and provide solutions to workplace problems that ensure best outcomes in the short and long term. As they have grown over the years so has their specialist expertise in a number of industries including building and construction, logistics and transport and manufacturing. The KHQ team are personable, approachable and available 24/7.‘
- Advising on a three-year industrial dispute that involved all aspects of the practice that has re-defined major corporate project industrial relations strategies.
- Providing end-to-end support for a multinational entrant into Australia.
- Acting as strategic adviser for major projects in the infrastructure sector, with A$20bn in infrastructure projects nationally.
McCullough Robertson fields a leading employment law practice in Queensland, and is recognised in particular for its work in the government sector and for overseas clients seeking to establish in Australia. The department continues to grow, with the arrival of Amber Sharp to the Sydney office from Bartier Perry Solicitors in June 2020 followed by the internal promotion of Lydia Daly in Brisbane in July 2020. Mick Moy, an expert at advising state government entities, heads up the team from Brisbane.
Australian Rail and Track Corporation Limited
Australian Federal Police
ESCO Australia Holdings Pty Ltd
State of Queensland (Queensland Health)
RSL Care RDNS Limited trading as Bolton Clarke
Copper Mines of Tasmania Pty Ltd
- Acting for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in proceedings brought in the Fair Work Commission by an AFP Aviation Security Officer, alleging a breach of the AFP’s Enterprise Agreement.
- Advising CPB Contractors on its industrial relations strategy and framework for the Cross River Rail Project, an underground railway project through central Brisbane, which is currently under construction and is worth approximately A$4bn.
- Representing Queensland Health in a claim by the Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation Queensland (ASMOFQ) in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission in which ASMOFQ is claiming that senior medical officers at particular rural hospitals across Queensland should be entitled to an allowance designed for specialist emergency medicine physicians.
The national workplace relations, employment and safety practice at Mills Oakley continues to grow its team and client portfolio, which spans multiple industries and includes international and ASX-listed companies in addition to public sector bodies. The team heads are Ross Levin in Melbourne, Malcolm Davis in Sydney, Andrew Klein in Canberra, Harold Downes in Brisbane and Daniel White, who splits his time between Sydney and Perth. In team news, workers compensation expert Rachael Sutton joined the Sydney office from Holman Webb in October 2019.
‘A boutique law firm but with Big Four capability in labour and employment. A unique blend of experience across employment law.‘
‘The team are proactive and well connected in industry, very knowledgable of the latest trends and developments in what is a fast paced resources industry. Very well versed in technicalities of law and legislation, with a strategic mind set. Specifically, the above values are displayed by Daniel White.‘
‘Industry knowledge, client care and focus, service time (fast turnaround), diligent case and submission preparation, professional service, access to capable and experienced barristers.’
‘Strong at building and maintaining client relationships.‘
‘We have worked predominately with Daniel White in the Industrial Relations team. Daniel has extensive offshore oil and gas experience and this is critical to our requirements. He works extensively with a range of oil and gas operators and service providers which provides him with insights into industry trends and IR strategies, particularly as it relates to EBA negotiations and the various offshore unions.‘
‘Daniel White provides a high level of service. He has an in-depth knowledge of our industry. He delivers quick turnaround times to meet often tight deadlines.’
‘Incredibly responsive, practical and astute.‘
‘Daniel White is the most responsive lawyer I have ever dealt with. His advice is always pragmatic and commercially sound.’
‘Mills Oakley demonstrated a very strong sense of partnership with our business. They sought to understand how our operations worked, such that the advice they provided was uniquely tailored to our circumstances.’
‘The team has a diverse set of experience, which allows them to advise across all areas of workplace relations. The team also accommodated specific operational circumstances within our business and tailored the service model to how we worked, including secondments, on-site delivery and training sessions.‘
‘In our dealings, Mills Oakley prioritised timeliness and ease of contact. Our matters were particularly time sensitive and often short notice – Daniel White always made himself available to provide guidance and assistance whether by phone, email or in person. Daniel understood our industry and the sectors we operate in, which allowed him to provide advice that was informed by, but also led the trends in those areas. With Daniel’s specialist assistance, we were able to achieve outcomes not achieved by others facing similar issues.’
‘Harold Downes has a fantastic legal mind and provide practical and commercial legal advice. Great subject matter expertise, approachable and client relationship focused.‘
A major resources corporate
CPB Contractors Pty Ltd
Fremantle Port Authority
Fair Work Ombudsman
Macmahon Holdings Ltd
- Acting for Worley in defence of an application brought by a former employee in relation to breaches of his employment contract and misrepresentation about his conditions in the District Court of Queensland.
- Assisting a major resources corporate with a number of general protections and unfair dismissal claims. We have successfully settled all briefs on favourable terms for the client against former employees to date.
- Assisting Sodexo with the implementation of its offshore catering enterprise agreement.
Moray & Agnew
With a fast-growing labour and employment team operating out of six offices across the country, Moray & Agnew serves a varied client base, and has specialist knowledge of government in workplace and industrial relations law. The Melbourne-based Nick Duggal, who has experience advising clients in insurance and healthcare sectors, heads up the national workplace relations practice and is supported by team leaders Tim McDonald in Sydney, Elizabeth Radley in Newcastle, Emma Reilly in Canberra and special counsel Brian Jackson in Perth.
Other key lawyers:
AAI Ltd t/as Suncorp Insurance / GIO / AAMI / Vero Insurance
AMP Life Limited
Australian Capital Territory Government
Australian Government departments, agencies, and regulators including: Australian Tax Office; Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment; Department of Defence, Comcover / Department of Finance; Department of Veterans Affairs; Fair Work Ombudsman
Avant Insurance Limited
Burnham Group Pty Ltd
Calvary Hospital, Bruce
Care Plus Services
Firbank Grammar School
Frontier Software PLC
Goodwin Aged Care Services Limited
Hungry Jack’s Australia
Hunter Water Corporation
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Pty Limited
Municipal Association of Victoria / MAV Insurance and member councils; City of Melbourne; Latrobe City Council; City of Kingston
New South Wales State Government – multiple departments and agencies, including Insurance and Care NSW (iCare) and associated agencies and employers, Department of Education, Housing NSW, NSW Sport and Recreation (Office of Sport), NSW Police, NSW Treasury Managed Fund
New South Wales Local Government including Armidale Regional Council; Central Coast Council; Cessnock City Council; Fairfield City Council; Lake Macquarie City Council, Maitland City Council, Muswellbrook Shire Council, Newcastle City Council, Northern Beaches Council, Richmond Valley Council and Singleton Council
Pnors Technology Group
Real Estate Employers’ Federation Association
St Michael’s Grammar School
University of Newcastle
University of Technology, Sydney
Victorian State Government – multiple departments and agencies, including: Court Services Victoria, Transport Accident Commission (TAC), VicRoads, Victoria Police, Department of Education and Training, Department of No Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Department of Transport, Sport and Recreation Victoria
- Handling a pilot program by the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman to advise eligible businesses on their employment obligations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Advising and providing ongoing support to Milemaker Petroleum on its employment obligations from its acquisition by Caltex and following.
- Assisting Avant Insurance Limited with the workplace issues arising from the deployment of a number of its Doctor members into the COVID-19 Response Public / Private Hospital Partnership in Victoria.
Piper Alderman's employee relations department maintains a strong stream of work in the eastern states in addition to a dominance in its traditional southern heartland, drawing clients from corporate entities and well-known public sector organisations. Melbourne-based practice head Tim Lange has specialist experience handling matters involving heavily unionised workforces. Other key names in the team include Sydney-based Tim Capelin, Erin McCarthy in Adelaide and newly made up partner Ben Motro in Sydney. The team has been boosted by Joe Murphy who joined from Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team’s very prompt response to an urgent request for assistance was very much appreciated. The advice is always practical and sound.‘
‘Tim Lange was always available, be it over the weekend or just in the evening, and prompt in responding to queries even when the response could have waited. His thorough understanding of employment laws and how they are applied by courts and tribunals were very useful.‘
‘Pragmatic team, technically strong.‘
‘Tim Lange – takes time to understand business drivers, pragmatic. Good availability.‘
‘The team at Pipers understands our business and is quick to provide us with advice and support. Their advice is accurate, timely, and presented in a clear and understandable manner.‘
‘Erin McCarthy’s knowledge is excellent and it is never too much trouble for her to share this and she ensures that we have a good understanding of the advice provided.‘
‘Tim Capelin seems to be available to assist us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and has never let us down. He is a valuable extension to our company.‘
‘The team that I work with are responsive to our needs. We have required assistance with little notice and the team has rallied and been available to us. I appreciate the way they work together and the fact that I can communicate with different team members and know that I am being accurately informed and that they are all across the matter. The team is organised and so builds confidence with us as their client. They provide updated information when necessary and ensure that we are prepared for hearings or the submission of documents in a timely manner.‘
‘The individuals are very strong communicators and make themselves available at any time we need them. They are responsive, organised, and always have a full understanding of the relevant matter. The team members I work with are understanding of my lack of legal training and at times understanding, they ensure I am fully informed and have any questions answered in a timely manner.‘
‘Tim Lange provides very practical commercial advice which is always on point. The thing that makes Tim different is that he focuses on building the relationship and growing capability with his clients and doesn’t bill for every interaction like some legal firms.’
‘They have access to a great team and can handle every legal question in-house using their internal resources and knowledge. Have always received a prompt response with a timeline given as to when I can expect an answer. Very friendly and approachable team. Understand big and small businesses and create a “family-like” atmosphere for clients.‘
‘Strong attention to detail, while appreciating context. Excellent technical legal analysis coupled with sound commercial nous.’
‘Erin McCarthy, in particular, is amazing She can converse with our managers, board, HR team and executive and convey information in real terms that people understand. She is down to earth, has a sense of humour, and gets our business because has taken time to learn about our operations and risk appetite etc. Erin also has provided our teams with training many times over the years to help us prevent IR issues and also ensured our business is provided with information ahead of legislative changes to ensure we are prepared and compliant. People feel comfortable working with Erin because she has a really practical approach and has built strong and trusting relationships with our key stakeholders. We can always trust Erin to have our best interests at heart.‘
‘The depth of understanding of our business and the employment law that is unique to our industry is second to none. The team is a trusted and reliable partner for our business.‘
‘David Ey and Erin McCarthy excel in their responsiveness, their knowledge of our business, their judgement, the quality of their advice, timeliness, and professionalism. They give advice that we trust and to top it all off, they are nice people to deal with.‘
‘Tim Capelin is professional, knowledgeable, and very capable of resolving complex matters.‘
‘Tim Lange’s approach makes me feel safer when navigating difficult situations. This is because of his calm, considered approach.‘
‘Professional, straight to the point. Not leveraging time with clients. Warm and welcoming approach. Industrial law strength but also how this applies to organisations and practical management strategies.’
‘Emily Haar is very approachable for thoughts and opinions as to strategic plan. Business focused and Emily works with the client to minimise risk.’
CPB Contractors (a member of the CIMIC Group)
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance
Dufry (The Nuance Group)
SA Power Networks
Fulton Hogan Construction
- Acting for the Country Fire Authority (CFA) defending a series of claims made by members of CFA’s volunteer workforce seeking access to disciplinary files relating to internal complaints made about those individuals and other documents relating to operational management of brigades.
- Acting for Sodexo in resisting a series of claims brought by managers affected by a redundancy determination.
- Successfully defending Fulton Hogan and several of their managers against a prosecution brought by the CFMMEU in the Federal Court in September 2019.
The international HR services team at Bird & Bird often advises clients on strategic matters and assists with large cross-border projects. An area of strength is in contentious matters involving injunctions and enforcing non-competition and non-solicitation clauses in employment contracts. Kristy Peacock-Smith leads the team and is based in the Sydney office.
‘Kristy Peacock-Smith leads an exceptionally diligent and commercially-minded practice. They’re a pleasure to work with and understand the competing pressures in-house counsel often face.‘
‘Kristy Peacock-Smith and her team of associates have been exceptional in their service to my company. Kristy approaches each problem in a pragmatic, practical way and always brings humour to even the most complicated situations. She is extremely knowledgeable and intelligent and so is her team. The Bird & Bird team is responsive and finds ways to properly manage deadlines.‘
‘Responsive and commercially minded and willing to understand their client’s reasons/drivers.‘
Ritual Technologies Inc
90 Seconds Australia Pty Ltd
Didi Mobility (Australia) Pty Ltd
ThermoFisher Scientific (Oxoid Australia Pty Ltd)
The Walt Disney Company (Australia) Pty Limited
Syneron Medical (HK) Ltd
ServiceNow Australia Pty Ltd
Australian Institute of Company Directors
Electronics for Imaging, Inc.
CGI Glass Lewis Pty Ltd
Align Technologies Inc.
Ares Management Ltd
Instructure Australia Pty Ltd
Asset International Inc.
M&G Real Estate
Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre (Garvan Group)
Circles Australia Pty Ltd
Professional Footballers Australia Inc
Solera Holdings Inc
Aiven Australia Pty Ltd
Built Robotics Inc.
Domo Australia Pty Ltd
Electronics for Imaging Australia Pty Ltd
Insider Pte Ltd
Lucido Group LLC
- Representing BT in injunction proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW and successfully enforcing non-competition and non-solicitation restraints
- Representing a Marc Moric, young, professional football player, in proceedings involving exploitation of interns.
- Carrying out multiple investigations into unethical behaviour for a multinational commercial real estate services and investment firm, involving senior business leaders
Clyde & Co LLP
Although best known for its workplace health and safety practice, Clyde & Co LLP is active in employment, particularly on the contentious side in complex, high-profile cases involving allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination. Sydney-based Michael Tooma heads up the practice.
Shire of Denmark
- Acting as defence counsel for the Shire of Denmark in lengthy proceedings concerning the appointment and dismissal of senior Local Government employees
Colin Biggers & Paisley
Colin Biggers & Paisley is known in particular for its strength in the construction, education, aged and community care, insurance and government sectors. Practice head Greg McCann in Sydney is a health and safety expert who also acts for corporate clients on contentious employment law matters. In team news, the Brisbane-based Sara McRostie departed for Queensland Crown Law in October 2019.
Catholic Church Insurance
Zurich Financial Services Australia
Trustees of Edmund Rice Education Australia
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Australia (JLT)
Clarence Coal Pty Ltd
St Kevin’s College Toorak
- Defending a significant employment law class action brought against Ready Workforce Pty Ltd (a Division of the Chandler Macleod Group) by Simon Turner, the representative applicant in a class action involving 279 casual employees.
- Advising a steel fixing company on a review of a penalty imposed by WorkCover Queensland.
- Investigating the allegations that two health practitioners employed by the client established their own practices in competition with client Disability Services Organisation, while still employed by the client.
Squire Patton Boggs acts for employers on a range of areas, including employment disputes, investigations, board-level advisory work for international employers and global business migration. The team is also known for a technical focus on contracts, policy review and industrial relations strategy. Key lawyers in the practice are Bruno Di Girolami in Perth and John Oakes in Sydney.
‘Well regarded firm who are recognized as leaders in their space and within the local legal fraternity.‘
American Airlines Inc
GBG DecTech Holding Pty Ltd
Infrastructure Advisory Firm
Master Builders Association of NSW
National Insurance Brokers Association of Australia
Spencer Ogden (Australia) Pty Ltd
Squire Patton Boggs (Miami) – Cummins
Technip Oceania Pty Ltd
West Australian Octopus Pty Ltd
- Advising on litigation involving the first litigated offshore safety prosecution in Australia which will create precedent in the offshore safety and safety case contravention area.
- Assisting Cummins with a global diversity project which involved integrating processes relating to EEO, harassment, diversity, gender equality, affirmative action and race discrimination into a single global policy.
- Representing various head builder contractors (in excess of 15 contractors) in their individual dealings with the CFMEU and negotiating new enterprise bargaining agreements.