Firms To Watch: Labour and employment

The workplace team at Holding Redlich spans Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns, representing employers and government bodies with senior lawyers Stephen Trew and Charles Power being the key team members.

Labour and employment in Australia

Ashurst

Ashurst has a strong practice that offers advice across the whole spectrum of contentious and non-contentious employment law mandates to national and Asia-pacific-based clients; these matters include workplace relations issues, executive remunerations, industrial relations in the rail, transport, mining and government sectors, discrimination matters and workplace health and safety work. The group has also played an active role in assisting its corporate clients with rectifying past underpayments. Stephen Woodbury  is based in Sydney and is the global head of employment with an impressive list of clients, including Woolworths, McDonalds and the University of Sydney; Woodbury is adept at advising on industrial issues as well as employment litigation. Brisbane-based Ian Humphreys has expertise in complex strategic matters, while in Sydney, Jennie Mansfield is adept at acting for major banks and other financial institutions. Julia Sutherland  advises private and public sector clients on workplace health and safety compliance.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Woodbury

Testimonials

‘The team goes above and beyond to meet our needs.’

‘James Hall is incredibly responsive, strategic and commercial.’

‘Ian Humphreys has enormous experience and always looks to provide the personal touch to assist our business.’

Key clients

Qantas Airways

IBM

Alcoa Corporation

Workpac

Lend Lease

Anglo American

Woolworths

University of Sydney

Norske Skog

Commonwealth Government of Australia

McDonalds

AGL

NSW Government

Commonwealth Government

Airservices Australia

Optus

University of Tasmania

Sports Integrity Australia

Puma Energy

Nova Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Qantas Airways Limited in relation to a number of significant matters relating to the stand down of employees across the Qantas Group, including two significant pieces of litigation: 1) the proper interpretation of the legislation introducing the federal JobKeeper Payment scheme and 2) whether employees who are stood down are entitled to access paid personal/carer’s leave, where the High Court refused to grant the unions special leave to appeal the matter.
  • Advised the University of Sydney on all aspects of a misconduct process involving an academic and defending claims in the Fair Work Commission and Federal Court.
  • Acting on behalf of WorkPac in the High Court of Australia in a matter challenging the Federal Court decision in Rossato which ruled that casual employees employed on a long term and systematic basis are at law, permanent employees and entitled to all benefits of permanent employment including paid annual leave.

Herbert Smith Freehills

The experienced employment law team at Herbert Smith Freehills is adept at advising clients on industrial relations matters (Russell Allen (Perth) is particularly skilled in this arena), workplace change facilitations, health and safety strategies and high-profile disputes and litigation. Highly unionised clients often call upon the firm for assistance, and the group has also assisted clients with underpayment investigations. Workplace health and safety expert Steve Bell has been appointed the national head of employment, taking over from Miles Bastick, who is still active in high-profile matters for the team. In Victoria, Anthony Wood provides strategic advice and advocacy to employers, while Rohan Doyle is an expert in enterprise bargaining issues and industrial disputes. Nicholas Ogilvie and Drew Pearson are also names of note.

Minter Ellison

The strong and capable workplace team at Minter Ellison spans across Australia, advising a broad range of clients on their employment and industrial relations issues, discrimination matters and workplace health and safety mandates. Core sectors of focus for the group include the financial services, education, construction, energy and resources, transport and logistics, media and public sectors. Trent Forno has taken over as the national practice head from Jim Fox. Other notable practice group heads include Kristy Edser in Sydney, Victoria Hepburn in Brisbane, Amanda Watt in Melbourne, who has expertise in providing strategic risk management advice at board level, Kathy Reid in Perth with her industrial relations expertise, and Andrew Short in Adelaide. Dan Williams in Brisbane has particular strength in the construction industry, advising major contractors on industrial relations issues and disputes. Special counsel Cassandra Collier is also a name of note in Melbourne.

Testimonials

‘ Jennifer Patterson is an experienced, robust and candid adviser, with credibility and gravitas to present to any senior executive and Board.’

‘Minters has a large team of lawyers practicing in employment law who are clearly experts in the field. They are client focused and versatile.’

Key clients

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Westpac Banking Corporation

Lendlease

QBE

Peabody

Australia Post

AGL

Civmec Construction & Engineering

Insurance Australia Group

Thales

Work highlights

  • Contributed to the Male Champions of Change report entitled ‘Disrupting the System – preventing and responding to sexual harassment in the workplace’.
  • Successfully represented Qube in a complex right of entry dispute in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) which arose following multiple attempts by an CFMMEU official to enter four premises occupied by Qube and at which it conducts warehousing and transport operations.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Shaw LLP is praised by a client as ‘the premier law firm on the eastern seaboard of Australia in the employment law space’.  The team offers advice across the entire spectrum of employment, industrial relations and workplace health and safety matters to leading Australian and international employers; the group is adept at handling both strategic advisory work as well as high-profile litigation matters. Sydney-based group head Darren Perry is known for his skills in industrial relations strategy and complex employment litigation. In Melbourne, Chris Gardner is considered an enterprise bargaining expert and is also skilled in union-related litigation, while Henry Skene is a thought leader regarding employment and industrial relations work. Michael Tamvakologos is also based in Melbourne, possessing strength in the workforce strategy development arena. Erin Hawthorne was promoted to partner in 2019 and has strength in litigation, while Justine Giuliani is also a name of note in Melbourne with a varied practice. Luke Edwards has left the firm to join King & Spalding LLP.

Practice head(s):

Darren Perry

Testimonials

‘Key strengths are their commercial acumen, deep understanding of our key business drivers, attention to detail, faultless service standards and accurate, creative thinking on some of the most significant employment related matters that our organisation has ever faced.’

‘I regard Seyfarth Shaw as the premier law firm on the eastern seaboard of Australia in the employment law space. Its client focus and responsiveness is second to none and the quality of its advice is first class at a cost that is not inexpensive but to my mind appropriate.’

‘The Seyfarth team is always a safe pair of hands to partner with on complex matters of legal risk. The technical, nuanced advice is always given knowing that it needs to be operationalised and so always comes “fitting” our business.’

‘Very practical and pragmatic – practical response to employment problems, rather than theoretical responses which tell you what the law says.’

‘What stands out is the practical, sensible answers – really value being able to phone up Erin Hawthorne with a practical problem and talk through the best way to navigate it, given the legal considerations we’re trying to manage.’

‘There is an obvious passion for the work that Michael Tamvakologos and his team have. There is a sense that they really care about outcome and take pride in playing their part in our success. Michael and his associate Justine Giuliani are both exceptional lawyers who bring a range of options to the table on each matter which exhibit a deep knowledge of business, not just legal, impacts.’

‘Chris Gardner devotes time and attention into getting to know our business and commercial pain points, as well as our leaders. He prides himself in delivering pragmatic legal advice tailored to the realities of our operations, and he is the best in the business at doing so. Always a pleasure to deal with.’

‘Ben Dudley, founding partner, a lawyer of outstanding intellect, commercially focused and who provides exceptional client service.’

Key clients

Victoria International Container Terminal Ltd.

DP World

Patrick Stevedores

The Just Group

Telstra

Seven

ABC

Daily Mail Group

AMA Group

Mechanical Maintenance Solutions Pty. Ltd.

Serco Australia

IPH Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising DP World regarding its industrial and employment law issues, including bargaining with the CFMMEU for new enterprise agreements.
  • Advised Telstra on the re-organisation of the Telstra business as part of its T22 strategy and on its enterprise agreement negotiations which took place over two years and included industrial action.
  • Advised Virgin Australia in relation to many significant employment and industrial matters including advising on post-employment restraint issues and negotiating on-boarding arrangements.

Baker McKenzie

The employment team at Baker McKenzie provides strategic industrial relations advice and representation in class actions and Fair Work Ombudsman investigations and prosecutions, as well as support on enterprise agreements for local and multinational companies; the healthcare sector is also a focus of the team. Sydney-based Michael Michalandos is head of the practice across the Asia-Pacific region and has expertise in whistleblowing matters; he and Spiro Mellos (Sydney) are strong in advising on sensitive executive and board level issues. Paul Brown (Sydney) is particularly adept at handling industrial disputes for national employers and clients in the information technology and gambling industries. Kellie-Ann McDade  (Melbourne) is recognised for her work with luxury retail brands, while Sean Selleck (Melbourne) is known for his work in the modern slavery space. Stephen Hardy has left the firm to join K&L Gates.

Practice head(s):

Michael Michalandos

Testimonials

‘The Bakers HR team are exceptional. They invariably deliver clear, timely and commercial advice on, oftentimes, complicated and sensitive matters. They have an excellent understanding of our business and industries and the nuances at play and are extremely easy to work with. We have 100% confidence in their advice, gained over a long time.’

‘Michael Michalandos is a standout. He is knowledgeable, approachable and always commercially minded in finding solutions to difficult problems. He has the ability to effectively communicate to all levels within the organisation.’

‘Kellie-Ann has shown exceptional leadership in guiding our company through a challenging litigation that goes to the core of our business. She has been considered, accessible and has the confidence of our General Counsel and board.’

‘Kellie-Ann has consistently met deadlines with high quality work. She has adapted to lockdowns and Covid restrictions whilst maintaining our chances of success in litigation. We have been very impressed with her.’

Key clients

Unilever Australia

Hutchison Ports

Krispy Kreme Australia

Appco Group Australia

Smiths Detection Australia

Allianz Australia

Redflex Group

Capital Transport Group

McAfee Security

Work highlights

  • Defended Hutchison Ports (Sydney International Container Terminals) successfully in the Fair Work Commission with respect to an application by the Maritime Union of Australia for payments whilst on strike.
  • Acted for Unilever with respect to the defence of a claim by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union in relation to the interpretation of the Enterprise Agreement applicable to Unilever’s Minto site.
  • Represented Serco in the successful defence of an unfair dismissal application.

Clayton Utz

The employment team at Clayton Utz has a presence across Australia, with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra. The practice has capabilities in industrial actions, class actions, large underpayment mandates and litigation, and its client roster includes large national and international corporations, governmental agencies, major IT clients and universities across Australia. In Melbourne, Dan Trindade leads the team after taking over from Saul Harben (Perth); Trindade is particularly strong in industrial relation matters, whilst Harben is active in workplace health and safety mandates for clients in the resources and energy sectors. Hedy Cray leads the Brisbane team and is active in the university space, advising on both strategic matters and litigation.

Practice head(s):

Dan Trindade

Testimonials

‘The team is accessible and they work side by side with a forensic and technology services team which provides value add and further reach as to the services they provide.’

‘Saul Harben – intelligent, articulate, informative, robust, strategist.  Amy Toohey – accessible, knowledgeable, provides practical advice to match complex legal advice.’

‘The CU team we work with, led by Dan Trindade, has an excellent understanding of our business and our sector, and a deep understanding of employment law. The team is able to think creatively about how best to address challenging situations but also realistic and commercial when assessing these ideas. The team works very effectively together, and are highly capable, so that I am happy to work directly with more junior members of the team for many matters. The other aspect of this team that I value highly is their ability to select the right counsel for a matter and their ability to work effectively with counsel. In my observation, the CU team is held in high regard by the counsel we have worked with, and rightly so.’

‘Dan Trindade – deep knowledge of the law and able to apply this thoughtfully and creatively. Pragmatic and understands our business drivers well, so advice is not only legally excellent, but also commercially sound. Has built an excellent team around him that we have great confidence in, he empowers more junior members of his team.’

Key clients

The University of Melbourne

University of Sydney

University of Queensland

University of New South Wales

Australian National University

Monash University

Adelaide University

University of Western Australia

Deakin University

LaTrobe University

Western Sydney University

University of Canberra

James Cook University

Adelaide University

Notre Dame University

Charles Darwin University.

The Department of Home Affairs

Australian Federal Police

Comcare

Australian Public Service Commission

Defence Housing Australia

Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet

Department of Defence; Australia Taxation Office

Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

Department of Health

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Department of Home Affairs

Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Services Australia.

Lendlease Building Pty Ltd

Bangarra Dance Theatre

Gold Fields Australia Pty Ltd

City of Casey

Ignite Limited

Moreton Bay & Moreton Bay Boys

Townsville Hospital and Health Service

Volvo Group Australia

Collins Foods Limited

Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd

Tiger Airways Pty Ltd

Regional Express Airlines

Gladstone Airport Corporation

Infosys

IBM Australia

AVAYA

Teradata

Zuora

Amazon Web Services

TCS

Wipro

G Treasury

Cloudability

itelligence

KimKim

Delivery Hero

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

Registered Organisations Commission Fair Work Commission

Esso/Exxon Mobil

Origin

ConocoPhillips

Senex

Sun Metals

Gold Fields Australia

Maersk

Iluka Resources

Glencore / Minara Resources

Alcoa

Diamond Offshore

Mineral Resources

Resolute Gold Mining

Aphrodite Gold

Wolf Minerals

Atlas Iron

Alinta Energy

Magnetite Mines

Consolidated Minerals Korea Zinc

Ausgrid

ExxonMobil

Victorian Minister for Industrial Relations

The Department of Health and Human Services

The CFA

Victoria Police

Toyota Motor Corporation

Multiplex Australia

Diamond Offshore

Iluka Resources

Minara Resources

Gold Fields Australia

Harvey Beef

Fletcher Insulation

National Road and Motorists’ Association

TJX/ TK Maxx

Strammit

Greyhound

Puma

Ovato Limited

Sunsuper

Work highlights

  • Acted for ExxonMobil in a protracted industrial dispute around enterprise bargaining over a six-year period.
  • Acting for Project Volar Creditors’ Trust on a multidisciplinary team to provide support and assistance to the administrators of Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd and related entities (VAA) during the administration period and for the ultimate sale of VAA.
  • Defending James Cook University in high-profile and extremely complex proceedings brought by a former academic. The former academic has appealed to the High Court, after the Full Federal Court majority determined, amongst other things, that the former academic’s termination of employment had nothing to do with academic freedom.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth

John Tuck (Melbourne) leads the labour and employment team at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, and undertakes investigations and litigation and advises on regulatory matters. The team handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious work for private and public sector clients across a variety of sectors, including the energy and resources, education, financial services, public, media and entertainment, retail, logistics and transport industries. In particular, the team advises clients on enterprise bargaining and industrial relations issues, risk management and crisis response work, executive remuneration strategies, employment litigation and regulatory investigations. Paul Burns (Melbourne) is skilled in strategic labour relations work, advising on enterprise bargaining mandates and corporate restructurings. In team news, Graeme Watson joined the team following his role as an adviser to the Federal Government of Australia, Anthony Longland and Kirsty Faichen joined from Herbert Smith Freehills in November 2021, and Sarah Clarke, who is skilled in litigation and industrial matters, was promoted to partner in July 2020.

Practice head(s):

John Tuck

Testimonials

‘Paul Burns is a fantastic partner to work with – really cares about his clients and keeps in touch regularly. On matters he both has the technical legal details nailed down but also steps up and looks at the client’s strategic and commercial reality.’

‘The team comes across as professional and are knowledgeable in the area of expertise they are representing. They also have the ability to draw on other team members when required if the person you are dealing with is not the expert.’

‘Jack de Flamingh is highly competent in the employment area of law. He stands out because he is able to think of the big picture strategy that other competitors cannot. He is also always available, which for my business is essential.’

‘The nature or the advice and its importance is always cutting edge and makes a genuine difference. We always go to them with the hardest matters, the most sensitive and it is always managed impeccably. Our environment is particularly challenging and the need for advice that is flawless is crucial – they always rise to the moment and help manage the situation. They are time efficient and get straight to the point.’

‘Highly experienced, makes an immediate impact and are able to work with all levels of the organisation. Their deep experience usually means that they have encountered a situation like the problem we bring them before, so the subject matter is approached in a sure and tested way. They inspire confidence that means even when the matter is highly sensitive and challenging, there is confidence that they will get it right, tensions and panic are averted and clearer heads are able to consider the various options proffered.’

Key clients

BP

Glencore

National Australia Bank

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

State of Victoria

Coles

Downer EDI

Spotless Group

CIMIC Group including CPB Contractors, UGL

Ferrovial Agroman (Australia) Pty Ltd

Medibank

Google

Nbn

University of Melbourne

Multiplex

Woodside

Vodafone

John Holland Group

Stockland

Australia Post

Hastings Deering

Queensland Government

Amcor

Australian Char

Southern Cross University

Work highlights

  • Advising Hastings Deering on the strategy for the replacement enterprise agreement that covers the client’s Australian based workforce of over 3,000 employees.
  • Representing Fremantle Port during an internal investigation – also in conjunction with police – with regards to alleged fraudulent behaviour by a very senior employee.
  • Assisted Clermont Coal with determining the strategy and process associated with negotiations of the Clermont Coal Enterprise Agreement 2020, which 83% of the workforce approved.

King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons provides advice to ASX-listed and blue chip clients, with expertise in the financial sector, advising numerous financial institutions and two of the big four retail banks in Australia on strategic and advisory employment needs. The Melbourne practice in particular has strength in industrial relations issues with appearances in Fair Work Commission hearings. The Perth office is also active in union matters, especially in the mining and construction sectors. Murray Kellock and Philip Willox jointly sit at the helm of the practice, based in Melbourne and Perth respectively; both have an impressive list of varying clients, advising on senior executive issues and disputes. Partner Ruth Rosedale is a key name to note in Perth, Andrew Gray (Sydney) handles executive employment issues, and Jamie Wells (Brisbane) is particularly adept in industrial relations matters and public sector restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Murray Kellock; Philip Willox

Key clients

Westpac

IAG

Chevron

National Australia Bank

AMP

Toll Transport

Cross River Rail Delivery Authority

McKinsey

Tabcorp

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Bank of Queensland

BHP

Morgan Stanley

Bombardier

Dow Chemicals

Bankwest

Citigroup

Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet

Transurban

Suncorp

Aurizon

Work highlights

  • Advising Westpac on BEAR and management accountability issues arising in respect of the AUSTRAC litigation commenced in November 2019.
  • Advising NAB on investigations into staff pay-outs and a review of problems with the bank’s payroll system.
  • Acting for BHP in the ongoing defence of class action proceedings brought on behalf of labour hire workers at the Mt Arthur coal mine, alleging Skene liabilities due to mischaracterisation of those workers as casual.

Kingston Reid

Kingston Reid is a specialist employment firm founded in 2019 with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. The team advises employers on end-to-end advisory work and contentious matters, including complex industrial strategies in the construction, mining and resources, financial services, transport and logistics, public and healthcare sectors. Of recent note, the team has played an active role in underpayment matters. Managing partner Alice Deboos leads the team from Sydney, with expertise in defending large industrial claims and handling general employment matters. Steven Amendola in Melbourne acts for public sector clients and is highly involved in industrial relations reform. In Perth, Duncan Fletcher is strong in workplace relations strategies for clients in the resources, maritime and project sectors, while Christa Lenard, who is based in Sydney, often appears in industrial tribunals and federal court proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Alice Deboos

Testimonials

‘Every member of the firm who we engage with provides a very high level of responsive service – no matter is ever too difficult or too menial for them to tackle, and the lawyers seem to pride themselves on providing high quality, practical, timely, and well considered advice to us. In all cases, a clear summary of commercial and industrial risks is presented to us with recommendations to allow for us to make the most legally and commercially sound decisions, while knowing that we will have the support of the firm in our decision making.’

‘The team often prompt us to provide greater consideration to unforeseen risks due to trending issues, and practical ways for us to mitigate or address each of these potential challenges. The team have taken considerable effort to familiarise themselves with our business, including the industrial instruments and landscape that applies to us, and provide timely advice tailored to our specific circumstance which is appreciated.’

‘Despite having a smaller team than top tier firms, the level of service, especially responsiveness to urgent requests for advice, is significantly better than top tier firms we have recently engaged. The Kingston Reid team is able to engage meaningfully with the range of our internal stakeholders from junior in-house lawyers to senior executives.’

‘Kingston Reid has a very strong understanding of our business and provides advice that is always “fit for purpose”, provides commercial advice that is well considered and appropriate for the risk appetite of the business, has strong relationships with internal stakeholders and takes the time to get to know our strategic objectives and priorities, adds value through their advice rather than simply being a cost for the business and is a modern practice and uses their skills and technology in innovative ways.’

‘I appreciate that we can have honest and direct conversations with all members of the firm to ensure that we are receiving the advice that we need on commercial terms that are appropriate for our business, and never feel that the team are ‘clocking up hours’ unnecessarily in their work. When compared to other firms who we have worked with, I consider that the value for money provided by Kingston Reid is good, and their rates are definitely competitive in market.’

‘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 for which we provide instruction, and that she is not ‘gun shy’ when it comes to risk, often willing to advise us on the most successful ways for us to achieve commercial outcomes whilst meeting our legal obligations and managing risk in doing so.’

‘Steven Amendola provides clear and frank advice which can be received by our senior leadership without needing further ‘interpretation.’ He is able to articulate risks and options, rather than simply provide a technical legal response and appreciates the particular sensitivities that our organisation faces in the labour and employment space, that may not apply to other employers.’

‘Duncan Fletcher has a very good understanding of the business, has a strong relationship with key stakeholders, provides commercial and pragmatic advice, has exceptional technical knowledge, is very responsive and easy to work with and works with us as an extension of our team to understand our strategic objectives and help us to plan and deliver them.’

Key clients

BGC

BlueScope Steel

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

CPB Contractors

Department of Health

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development & Communications

Essential Energy

Fortescue Metals Group

Fuji Xerox

Illawarra Retirement Trust

Macquarie Bank

McConnell Dowell Constructors

McDonald Jones Homes

NSW Ministry of Health

Newmont Mining

NSW Police Force

Pacific National

Serco Australia

Seven West Media

SRG Global

Sydney Trains

Teekay Shipping

Transport for NSW

Ventia

Visa Global Logistics

Work highlights

  • Acting for the ATO with regards to a significant proportion of its workforce working from home and the Australian Services Union instituting Federal Court proceedings asserting this should be done under the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.
  • Represented Teekay in 22 unfair dismissal applications and successfully had the FWC Full Bench decision overturned before the Full Court of the Federal Court.
  • Represented RAC Insurance Pty Limited in successfully preventing the Finance Sector Union from challenging the approval of its Enterprise Agreement by the Fair Work Commission with an argument that its employees had been misclassified according to the Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2020.

Allens

Allens has an impressive client roster which includes all four of Australia’s big banks, government departments, government-owned corporations and multinational businesses. Its broad offering includes advice off wage underpayment matters, investigations concerning workplace bullying and harassment, and whistleblower claims. The team is also still active in issues at the executive level including exits and post-employment restraints as well as contentious matters.  Simon Drewberry leads the team from Melbourne with expertise in the wage underpayment space. In Sydney, Veronica Siow is also a lawyer of note and is strong in transactional, restructuring and privatisation matters. Sikeli Ratu is also based in Sydney and was promoted to partner in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Simon Drewberry

Other key lawyers:

Veronica SiowSikeli Ratu

Testimonials

‘Tip top service advice and general assistance through a long project. Best labour law firm that I have come across.’

‘Knows the business and its values; accessible and highly responsive.’

‘The strengths of the Allens Labour and Employment practice is the quality and depth of knowledge of its partners, the diversity of its people and their responsiveness to client needs.’

‘What makes the Allens lawyers stand out is their high level of integrity, their quality legal skills, their commerciality and their responsiveness to client needs and deadlines. Simon Dewberry and Sikeli Ratu are stand-out partners. They are exceptional lawyers. They resource matters appropriately and efficiently and are extremely responsive to client needs.’

‘Veronica Siow is definitely an expert in her field-highly responsive, solution focused and pragmatic; excellent value for money.’

‘Sikeli Ratu has been an absolute star.’

Key clients

National Australia Bank

Sunwater Limited

BHP

Super Retail Group

The Star Entertainment Group

TPG Telecoms

Oracle Corporation

BAE Defence Systems

Brambles Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Super Retail Group in relation to the underpayment of employees in its store management, team member and store set up operations across its retail brands including Rebel Sport, Supercheap Auto, Macpac and BCF.
  • Acted for NAB in the investigation of a number of sensitive whistleblowing disclosures and other complaints regarding misconduct.
  • Advising TPG Telecoms’s Board and preparing the executive services agreements for the CEO and C-suite executives, and advising on the executive long term incentive plans.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper‘s employment team leverages the firm's wider international footprint and advises both local and international clients across a wide range of contentious and non-contentious mandates. Practice head Nicholas Turner (Sydney) has an impressive client base locally and internationally in the technology, life sciences and financial sectors, with a particular focus on sensitive executive-level and compliance issues. In Melbourne, a name of note is Rick Catanzariti who has strength in advising clients on industrial relation strategies regarding large projects. Leanne Nickels leads the Perth team, and her clients include businesses in the mining, construction, energy, education and transport sectors.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Turner

Testimonials

‘High level of industry relevant engagement and practical knowledge is provided in addition to the legal advice.’

‘Very quick to understand the issues and concepts around the problems I present to them and their advice includes legal and strategic considerations based on their practical experience in dealing with unions and labour related legal issues.’

‘Advice is commercial, prompt and exactly what I need.’

‘I can’t say enough good things about Clancy in particular – extremely prompt, technical, commercial advice on the whole gamut of issues that arise. Extremely impressed with the level of service both on contentious matters and routine enquiries. My go to for employment advice in Australia and to manage advice from other DLA offices globally.’

‘Leanne Nickels understands our business and has always provided good advice in a timely manner. Leanne is able to get to the key points in any issues very quickly.’

Key clients

Ares Management Corporation

Adobe

CoreStaff WA Pty Ltd

AirNorth Engineering

One Tree Community Services Inc

Standard Chartered Bank

Xero Limited

Berkley Insurance Australia – Senator Jacqui Lambie

Everlight Radiology Limited

Dentsu Aegis

Laureate

Newell Rubbermaid

Vyaire Medical

Work highlights

  • Acting for Adobe in enforcement of post-employment obligations in proceedings in the NSW Supreme Court, successfully obtaining delivery up orders and full forensic examination of relevant cloud storage accounts and electronic devices, while simultaneously defending unfair dismissal proceedings regarding the same employee.
  • Acting for Senator Jacqui Lambie in Federal Court proceedings brought against her by two former employees who allege that they were dismissed from their employment in the Senator’s office in breach of their general protections under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
  • Acted for One Tree Community Services Inc in a dispute with United Voice including an application for Special Leave to appeal to the High Court.

Johnson Winter & Slattery

Johnson Winter & Slattery’s employment practice is strong in handling complex contentious matters, including unfair dismissal issues, discrimination claims and class actions. Its sector strength spans the media, transport, education, energy and resource, technology, retail, financial services, health care and aged care arenas. The team is co-lead by Ruveni Kelleher, who established the practice and is skilled in acting for private equity and venture capital clients; Jan Dransfield, who has extensive expertise in the federal courts, tribunals and before the Fair Work Commission; and Lucienne Mummé, who has substantial experience in industrial relation matters.

Other key lawyers:

Louise Russell ; Erin Wilson 

Testimonials

‘They provide direct personal service from the most expert people in the firm ie partners.’

‘Very commercially minded and customer centric. They can balance the tough advice with a customer friendly approach that helps you feel empowered on critical decision making.’

‘Efficient, cost conscious and good value.’

‘JWS came highly recommended and have proven to be the best company we could have been referred to. Their knowledge and immediate response to our requirements were exemplary. They have implemented crucial elements within our business enabling us to be up to date with current employment law.’

‘Jan Dransfield is highly experienced and expert and provides advice with a legal, commercial and common sense perspective.’

‘Jan Dransfield is approachable, understands clients needs well and is very practical.’

‘Jan Dransfield (Partner) and Erin Wilson (Associate) were professional, efficient, effective and always available at short notice for the urgent matters we had at hand.’

‘Jan Dransfield is always professional with a highly commercial mindset. Erin Wilson – very aligned with Jan in a similar nature.’

Key clients

AMP Services Ltd

BSA Limited

Headset Solutions Pty Ltd

KDR Victoria Pty Ltd

Lineage Logistics LLC

Merivale Group

Qantas Group

Signature Orthopaedics

Swissport Pty Ltd

Global Travel

Veolia

Rentokil

Work highlights

  • Acting for BSA Limited, a publicly listed technical services contracting company, in relation to class action proceedings commenced in the Federal Court regarding sham contracting and underpayment allegations.
  • Advised and assisted KDR Victoria Pty Ltd trading as Yarra Trams on the industrial and employment impacts of Covid-19 related restrictions.
  • Acting for Panthera in defending proceedings brought by its former Chief Executive Officer.

K&L Gates

The health, education, agriculture, sports, retail and public sectors are key areas of focus for the labour, employment and workplace safety team at K&L Gates. Of recent note, the practice has been active in advising clients on wage underpayment issues. Newark-based Rosemary Alito leads the team. In Melbourne, Nick Ruskin, who is active in litigation and has industrial relations expertise; Michaela Moloney, who has expertise in the sports and healthcare sectors; and Peter Lupson, who advises clients in the public sector, are all key names. Stephen Hardy has recently joined the team from Baker McKenzie.

Practice head(s):

Rosemary Alito

Testimonials

‘The Labour and employment team has an intricate knowledge of the sports industry and take a practical approach to providing legal advice and services. The team collaborates with their clients and other practice groups within K&L Gates to deliver legal advice and services.’

‘Michaela Moloney has strong technical expertise and a great radar for the underlying interpersonal dynamics of disputes, which helps her to provide strategic and effective advice on litigation strategy.’

‘Michaela Moloney is approachable and available to her clients. Michaela takes the time to listen to the needs and requirements of her clients to devise a strategy and plan for providing the legal advice and practical tools. Michaela is one of the leading sports employment partners in the country.’

‘John Monroe, Senior Associate, is diligent and practical in his approach to legal advice. He has a genuine interest in achieving best outcomes for his clients. John is able to unpack issues and problem solve appropriate outcomes – his thorough understanding of case law and legislation is impeccable and assists in the navigation of modern employment law issues.’

‘Stephen Hardy is a trusted adviser and business partner who is responsive, practical and down-to-earth. His advice is solution-driven and he is very pragmatic in resolving disputes.’

‘John is always our first point of call! He is considered and thorough when providing advice, and incredibly knowledgeable about current issues and findings that may be pertinent to a particular situation. He also consults with the partners and refers on appropriately. Michaela is knowledgeable and professional, as well as being personable and relatable. Both have good knowledge of and are integrated into our industry, so their advice is relatable and appropriate, therefore helpful.’

Key clients

Victorian Managed Insurance Authority

Ardent Leisure

Department of Education

Commercial Passengers Vehicles Victoria

Australia Football League

Cricket Australia

Victoria University

Australian Red Cross Society

Work highlights

  • Advised clients on the dynamic working conditions enforced by governments and regulators in response to Covid-19.
  • Advised clients in the retail sector to navigate the entitlements of the General Retail Industry Award 2010 and the Clerks–Private Sector Award 2010.
  • Advising Australia’s major sporting codes on the full scope of employment law advice from employment agreements, to review of application of modern awards, through to dispute resolution.

Lander & Rogers

Lander & Rogers offers advice to clients across a wide range of employment issues, including industrial relations issues, discrimination matters, investigations, restraint of trade work and M&A. Advice regarding wage underpayment has also become a core part of the practice’s offering. With strength in the public sector, other focuses of the practice include the retail, financial services and education industries. Daniel Proietto leads the group from Melbourne while government expert Tony Woods is based in Sydney. The group’s east coast offering has been bolstered by the addition of Vince Rogers and Shannon Chapman to the team from Ashurst.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Proietto

Testimonials

‘The team in Sydney has great depth and utilises it for the benefit of the client. Their use of technology throughout the pandemic has been seamless and makes maintaining our relationship easy and practical.’

‘The Landers team are so responsive and easy to deal with. There’s a great spread of talent across the team, and team members work together well to provide seamless client service. They provide good value and communicate well about billing issues.’

‘Aaron Goonrey is an exceptional practitioner. His availability and ability to think outside the box make him a key pillar of advice for our workplace strategies’.

‘Kaitlyn Gulle is a sensational negotiator and advocate. She’s right across the detail of her matters, understands the underlying causes of conflict and can think creatively to come up with practical solutions to intractable disputes. She’s dedicated time to understanding our team’s needs and operating environment and has generously made Landers staff available to undertake secondments to support us during periods that we’ve been understaffed.’

Key clients

ISG Management

Department of Defence

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP for Bristol-Myers Squibb

Victorian Department of Justice & Community Safety

Emergency Management Victoria

NSW Trains

Hendry Group Pty Ltd

Transport for NSW

Healthscope Operations

Australian Financial Complaints Authority

NSW Ambulance

Ord Minnett

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Arthur J. Gallagher

Work highlights

  • Advised Tandem on defending a class action that has been brought by Shine Lawyers, claiming to be on behalf of over 4,000 independent contractors who it is claimed are or were in fact employees.
  • Advised the Department of Justice & Community Safety and Emergency Management Victoria relating to issues associated with the creation of the new entity, Fire Rescue Victoria, and the transfer of employees from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and County Fire Authority to FRV.
  • Advised a NSW government dedicated Covid-19 Taskforce established to coordinate Transport for NSW’s response to the pandemic and to ensure its approach to Covid-19 aligns with the government’s response.

Maddocks

The employment, safety and people team at Maddocks is skilled in both private and public sector mandates, and government work is a particular strength of the group. Industrial relations issues and disputes are notable areas of expertise of the team, as well as workplace safety issues. The practice also has capabilities in unfair dismissals, remuneration matters and investigations. Lindy Richardson is the national practice group head, acting for not-for-profit organisations and government agencies. Bruce Heddle leads the Melbourne team and Catherine Dunlop heads up the Sydney team. Meaghan Bare is the latest addition to the team with substantial experience in industrial relations work, executive terminations and anti-discrimination law.

Testimonials

‘Excellent knowledge of public sector employment law. Solid knowledge of the law and sound practical application.’

‘Provide practical solutions which balance legal and commercial considerations.’

‘Very deep industry knowledge (across our mainstream and more nuanced aspects), great senior and junior coverage (allocated as appropriate), real interest in our business and its drivers of success and challenges, responsive, accessible, sensible and willing to share a view, great to deal with and low on egos.’

‘Maree Skinner is responsive and responsible, with a mindset to resolve problems for clients in an effective manner.’

Key clients

Victorian State Government Departments/Agencies

Victorian Local Council Departments/Agencies

Commonwealth Government Departments/Agencies

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited

Costco Wholesale Australia Pty Ltd

Macquarie Bank Limited

Optus

Deutsche Australia Limited

Australia Skydive Pty Ltd

Dexus Holdings Pty Ltd

City West Water

Laser Clinics

Jackalope Group

Future Fund Management Agency

Wilson’s Advisory

hipages

Ernst & Young

QBE Insurance

ORIX

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Work highlights

  • Advising IOOF on, inter alia, employment matters arising from acquiring the MLC Wealth business from National Australia Bank.
  • Defended Costco successfully in an unfair dismissal claim before the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission.
  • Representing the Department of Premier and Cabinet in a test case, referred directly to the Court of Appeal, considering the previously untested question of whether and in what circumstances an employee’s international or interstate service will count as service for the purposes of accruing Victorian long service leave entitlements.

Mills Oakley

Mills Oakley Lawyers undertakes advisory work and litigation for clients in the employment space spanning across a range of sectors including the construction, maritime, technology, hospitality and financial services industries. Clients include international corporations, government agencies and quasi government bodies, and privately owned entities. The team heads are Ross Levin in Melbourne, Malcolm Davis in Sydney, Andrew Klein in Canberra, Harold Downes in Brisbane, and Daniel White in Perth. Samantha Maddern and William Ward joined the firm from Norton Rose Fulbright and Meyer Vanderberg Lawyers respectively.

Testimonials

‘The people are highly experienced, engaging and knowledgeable.’

‘Work as trusted partners, excellent subject knowledge & expertise, clear billing and fair pricing, relationship practices offer additional value for money.’

‘The employment team at Mills Oakley has grown steadily and significantly over the last 4 years, which is testament to the team’s abilities. Despite the growing size, it is evident MO operate as a cohesive team. Flexible with billing practices and often operate under fixed or maximum fee arrangements which give certainty to our business.’

‘Their quickness to respond, act and follow up. Daniel White (Partner) is thorough and explains the difficult stuff in an easy to follow dialogue and written communication.’

‘Samantha Maddern is expert in her field offering pragmatic and sound advice without over complicating matters. She takes a balanced approach always recognising the need to weigh commercial realities.’

‘Daniel White – as head of this busy practice Daniel is always accessible and across all matters in his team. His advice is second to none – commercially savvy, pragmatic and legally sound.’

Key clients

Perth Airport Pty Ltd

SILK Laser Clinics

Fremantle Port Authority

Powertech

Amec Foster Wheeler

Strategic Workforce Solutions

Broadspectrum

McDermott

CPB

CBGU D&C Joint Venture

Transdev Sydney Ferries

BGIS Pty Ltd

MSS Security Pty Ltd

Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care

Work highlights

  • Representing the Fremantle Port Authority in the defence of two protected action ballot orders brought by the CFMMEU (Maritime Division) which resulted in favourable results in the Fair Work Commission, and the preparation of a section 424 application to terminate or suspend protected industrial action on the basis of significant harm to the Australian economy.
  • Acting for CPB in relation to employment, workplace relation and safety matters relating to its direct employees and in connection with various projects undertaken around the country whether done in its own name or as part of a joint venture.
  • Advising Perth Airport in relation to the drafting, negotiation, implementation and Fair Work Commission approval of its new enterprise agreement for 2021 which covers airport service staff, ground services staff and ground transport staff.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright's Australian team is able to utilise the firm’s international presence with cross-border collaboration between practices. Its impressive client roster includes multinational corporations, leading national businesses and government agencies. The team undertakes strategic workplace investigations, industrial relations matters and complex workplace litigation. Sydney-based Jason Noakes  is skilled in acting for both public and private sector clients. In Brisbane, Martin Osborne  is adept at unlawful industrial actions within the energy, resources infrastructure, construction and government sectors, while Helene Lee  in Melbourne is adept at handling industrial relations matters. Recently promoted partner Alexandra Shields (Sydney) is also of note. Sally Woodward has left to join PwC LLP.

Practice head(s):

Jason Noakes

Testimonials

‘The team is easy to work and partner with. They have the technical expertise and depth and are able to cross refer to other practices to suit the instruction.’

Key clients

Event Hospitality & Entertainment

MYOB

Multiplex

Lendlease

WPP AUNZ

Veolia Environmental Services

GM Holden

QBE

NSW Police

iCare

Department of Finance

Work highlights

  • Acting for a large construction client on developing and conducting an organisation-wide training program in workplace behaviour to be delivered to the Australian and Regional Boards, all construction Site Managers throughout Australia, as well as all employee levels.
  • Advised and acted on behalf of GM Holden Pty Ltd in relation to a claim made by Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia on behalf of two of its members who had performed services at GM Holden as contractors and had subsequently been offered employment by GM Holden.
  • Advising and acting on behalf of Veolia Environmental Services (Australia) Pty Ltd in relation to a range of employment and industrial related matters including advice in relation to restructuring and redundancy issues, transfer of business, performance management processes, misconduct investigations, terminations of employment, policy and contract reviews, enterprise bargaining and the defence of various employment and industrial proceedings.

FCB Workplace Law

Specialist workplace relations firm FCB Workplace Law is based across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and has sector focuses in the retail, aged care, health, infrastructure, real estate and hospitality industries. The practice acts for both public and private sector clients on a broad range of employment law matters. Campbell Fisher is the managing partner and one of the founders of the group situated in Sydney; Fisher has a particular focus on advising on board or executive level mandates. Bianca Seeto sits in the newest office in Brisbane and provides industrial relations and employment law advice.

Practice head(s):

Campbell Fisher

Testimonials

‘FCB is unique in its desire and ability to truly partner with the people within our organisation to guide, advise, challenge and achieve results that serve our needs with the highest quality advice regarding risks and potential negative outcomes. FCB’s collaboration style results in my team wanting to seek input and broader industry and legal input so we can in turn provide trusted advice to our internal stakeholders.’

‘The team has excellent automotive experience.’

‘FCB are expert employment and workplace lawyers. Campbell Fisher has been a leading lawyer in this field for many years and has built a firm with excellent expertise.’

‘From my personal experience, I feel like FCB is the place to go to in Sydney for all workplace law matters. I am still very grateful for all the guidance and assistance FCB provided in the workplace bullying episode. I will certainly recommend anyone who needs workplace assistance to consider FCB as the first choice.’

‘Matthew Robinson has a good understanding of workplace law.’

‘Ben Gee has deep expertise in employment law and is very experienced in applying his knowledge to every-day situations. The advice we receive is pragmatic and is integral in solving workplace and employment issues.’

‘I have been fortunate to know Bianca Seeto for numerous years now and her technical ability, passion for what she does, genuine desire to want to understand the business and seek to achieve great outcomes together is unlike my experiences with other firms.’

Key clients

Rugby Union Players Association

Luxottica Australia

Robert Deans & Fishbank Development

Showcase Realty

NES Global Pty Ltd

Suprima Bakeries

Bovogen Biologicals

KinCare Health Services Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented the Rugby Union Players Association in negotiations for all professionals’ players contracts for calendar year 2020 and 2021.
  • Advised Showcase Realty and collated substantial evidence in order to lodge an application to the NSW Supreme Court for an Anton Piller order.
  • Conducted a detailed audit for Suprima Bakeries of the overlapping industrial agreements that covered employees and provided advice to Suprima Bakeries on the best form of interim management and strategy the company should adopt while addressing and streamlining its complex structure.

Gadens Lawyers

Gadens Lawyers handles the complete life-cycle of employment law issues, including recruitment, termination and discriminatory matters and litigation for household name corporates and institutionalised clients. The team is also active in compliance, restructuring, industrial relations, executive-level and wage underpayment issues in the hospitality and FMCG sectors. Melbourne-based Siobhan Mulcahy is head of the team with a particular focus on strategic human resources, while previous team head Steven Troeth has strength in the education sector. George Haros and his team joined the group in April 2021 from DWF.

Practice head(s):

Siobhan Mulcahy

Key clients

Richemont

Aussie Broadband

4D Medical

McCain

7-Eleven

Baby Bunting

Fair Work Ombudsman

KPMG

Williams-Sonoma

Pirelli

Work highlights

  • Advised Aussie Broadband Ltd on its A$40m initial public offering and its successful listing on the Australian Securities Exchange.
  • Advising McCain on the range of employment related issues at a corporate and manufacturing site level.
  • Advised KPMG as voluntary administrators of certain entities within the iconic Australian and New Zealand real estate group LJ Hooker, with creditors voting in favour of a DOCA proposal.

Gilbert + Tobin

Transactions, investigations and disputes in the Fair Work Commission, Federal, Supreme and District Courts are core areas of focus for the employment team at Gilbert + Tobin. The team also drafts enterprise agreements, provides advice on corporate governance issues and assists clients with restructurings and terminations. Dianne Banks heads up the practice from Sydney and special counsel James Pomeroy is also a name of note.

Practice head(s):

Dianne Banks 

Other key lawyers:

James Pomeroy

Testimonials

‘The G+T’s employment team are highly competent, understand sensitivities and our culture and take a commercial approach to trouble shooting issues in the workplace. They provide timely advice and give a clear path way forward in complex situations.’

‘Good technical skills. The G&T leaders know the culture and environment of the organisations I am involved with. Available outside normal working hours. Practical solutions are provided.’

‘Di Banks has been out trusted adviser for years. Her extensive knowledge of the law and ability to resolve disputes efficiently makes her a valuable asset for us.’

‘Di Banks is the key partner I have dealt with on people related issues at organisations I am involved with. Di knows me and my strengths and weaknesses and similarly understands the culture and environments at the different organisations where she has provided advice. Di is very professional but also makes it enjoyable to work with her in confronting environments and circumstances. Di’s advice is also very practical and gives me assurance me and the organisations are legally well placed. I have also used Di to establish appropriate systems controls and documents so if issues do arise those organisations are in a strong position.

Key clients

Accolade Wines

Google Inc

Cardno Limited

FIS Global

GrainCorp Inc.

Greencross Limited

Nuix Pty Limited

Philips Electronics

Virgin Airlines

Wisetech Global

Yancoal

Work highlights

  • Acting for Virgin in its dispute with Qantas Airways Limited regarding Qantas’ Chief Executive Adviser and Executive Director at Jetstar Japan.
  • Acted for Geora Ltd in relation to an unfair dismissal claim commenced by a former employee in the Australian Fair Work Commission.
  • Advised Adamantem Capital on its acquisition of the Spotless commercial laundries business from Downer and the subsequent establishment of a joint venture.

Hall & Wilcox

The national employment team at Hall & Wilcox has strength in contentious work, conducting its own litigation in the Fair Work Commission, anti-discrimination tribunals and Australian courts. Restraint of trade matters are also a key area for the practice. Its client roster includes public and private sector clients and local and state governments. Karl Rozenbergs  is the group head and skilled in conducting litigation for clients in the aged care, financial services and manufacturing sectors and quasi-governmental bodies. Rosemary Roach and special counsel Nicholas Beech recently joined the team from Corrs Chambers Westgarth and King & Wood Mallesons respectively. Alison Baker and Mark Dunphy  in Melbourne, and Fay Calderone and Aaron Dearden in Sydney are also notable team members.

Practice head(s):

Karl Rozenbergs

Testimonials

‘We deal exclusively with one of the partners and special counsel. They are both readily available to us at any time and responsive. I appreciate this as I deal with someone who knows my business and understands what’s important to us. ’

‘Is a one stop shop for Labour and employment law. Added to it’s capability by recent appointments who have extensive knowledge of State Government’s legal framework. Thing that sets them aside is a willingness to work as a strategic partner with clients rather than just providing dry advice. This includes understanding the need to hit client deadlines on urgent matters. Always make sure that the level of expertise provided to the client is with the appropriate minimum level of resource.’

‘The strength of the team at Hall and Wilcox is their ability to understand the concerns of our business and the real world solutions and advice they deliver. The greatest asset they have is their people, who are always willing to go the extra mile and come up with solutions based on our unique business.’

‘Mark Dunphy has always been my first port of call, whenever urgent situations arise. Mark will always give me advice, that has worked in every situation we have encountered and he takes the time to explain the reasoning behind his advice. I always feel confident when Mark is in our corner and would not consider going anywhere else for this type of advice.’

‘Mark Dunphy: Highly experienced adviser, who also managers client support and ensures the team is delivering services required.’

‘Aaron Dearden and his team in the Employment practice are highly responsive and approachable. The team gives prompt and concise advice and is always willing to go the extra mile in understanding the client’s commercial considerations.’

‘Aaron Dearden is great to deal with his advice is always clear and concise, there is no legal jargon and I’ve always found him to be extremely responsive. He is the best Partner I have worked with on employment practice issues and has always felt like a part of the team even though we are a client.’

Key clients

BlueScope Steel Limited

Freedom Foods Pty Limited

Michael Page International (Australia) Pty Ltd

PageGroup

O-I Operations (Australia) Pty Ltd

BGC Partners (Australia) Pty Limited

BGC Securities (Australia) Pty Ltd

Fire Rescue Victoria

Work highlights

  • Acted for BlueScope Steel Limited in successfully defending an application for judicial review of a decision of the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission in an appeal of an unfair dismissal application.
  • Advising Michael Page International (Australia) Pty Ltd in Australia.
  • Acted for BGC Partners (Australia) Pty Ltd in successfully obtaining injunctive relief against a former senior BGC employee.

HFW

The employment and workplace relations team at HFW benefits from its three offices situated in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, providing it with national coverage. It has sector strength in the hospitality, retail, construction and healthcare arenas, advising employers on a wide range of mandates, including contentious unfair dismissal claims and enterprise bargaining work. Mark Sant  leads the team from Sydney, while Charmaine Tsang is based in Perth with expertise in industrial disputes and employment contracts. Brendan Milne is also a significant team member with great experience in industrial relations and enterprise bargaining mandates.

Practice head(s):

Mark Sant

Other key lawyers:

Charmaine Tsang; Brendan Milne

Testimonials

‘HFW are employment law specialists, they provide a high level of advice and guidance to 100s of our colleagues both Talent and Culture and operational leaders in our business.’

‘Their online advice portal is a great easy to use system providing our people with knowledge on a variety of employment law matters.’

‘They actually talk to you and very fair with their billing hours.’

‘Mark Sant is the team principle and he is very friendly, open to all queries and ensures our colleagues understand the advice in simple terms. He is flexible with his calendar and has created really easy to follow webinars on workplace changes such as EBA terminations and the transition from Casualization to permanent employee processes to educate the teams.’

‘I deal with Brendan Milne and have done for many years. Brendan’s professionalism and his ability to know what I am wanting is remarkable. Brendan is considered part of the team at our organisation.’

Key clients

Accor Hotels

Marriott Hotels

IHG Hotels

Hilton Hotels

Metcash

Munich RE Group

Hamilton Island Enterprises Limited

Yara Australia Pty Ltd and Yara Pilbara Fertilisers Pty Ltd

The Star Entertainment Group

DP World

John Holland

Healius Limited

Cox Automotive

Work highlights

  • Acted for Metcash in the defence of an unfair dismissal claim made in circumstances where the employment had been terminated for reasons of genuine redundancy.
  • Acted for Healius Limited in proceedings before the District Court of New South Wales involving a claim for damages made by a former contractor of Healius who alleged, amongst other things, that he was an employee of Healius and had been underpaid various entitlements.
  • Acted for one of the world’s leading logistics and port services companies, DP World, in relation to a wide range of unfair dismissal applications filed by former employees.

Jones Day

The labour and employment team at Jones Day is part of the firm's global network placing it in good stead to advise both national and international corporations on M&A and outsourcing transactions. Another specialism of the team is dealing with executive-level issues such as terminations and retention issues as well as restraints, unfair dismissals and investigations of misconduct. Handling industrial espionage and the theft of information from technology companies is also part of the group’s offering. The team is headed up by Perth-based Adam Salter who has a wide-ranging practice across Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

Practice head(s):

Adam Salter

Key clients

Cyrus Capital Partners

PRP Diagnostic Imaging

Alfred Medical Imaging Pty Limited

Ansarada NewCo Pty Ltd.

Sheffield Resources Limited

MAAS Group Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Cyrus Capital Partners on employment issues in relation to its bid for Virgin Airlines.
  • Advised PRP Diagnostic Imaging and PRP Group Investments on employment law aspects related to its sale to Crescent Capital for $440m.
  • Advised Alfred Medical Imaging on employment issues in its acquisition by I-MED Radiology Network, including conducting detailed due diligence, reviewing and drafting sale purchase agreements, and preparing transfer of employment documentation such as new employment contracts for employees.

KHQ Lawyers

From its base in Melbourne KHQ Lawyers advises an array of domestic and multinational clients on industrial, safety and day-to-day employment needs, in addition to commercial transactions. The group is also adept at advising contractors in the construction and maintenance sector, new technology, media and financial services companies and government agencies. Chris Gianatti leads the team and operates nationally in all front-end and contentious industrial, employment and safety matters.

Practice head(s):

Chris Gianatti

Other key lawyers:

Michael Cochrane

Testimonials

‘Consistent culture of team in providing accurate, pragmatic & timely workplace relations advice at a reasonable cost. They have delivered excellent development workshops to my team, which has helped build capability, as well as rapport with Chris Gianatti and his team.’

‘I have experienced working with many firms and teams. The main differentiator of KHQ team is they are “Team” with its complete meaning. Every single team member knows his/her role, act as a team and support their clients in a way that doesn’t leave the client with concerns. I haven’t seen this quality of “teamwork” in many other firms.’

‘The team is unique due to the creativity of their legal knowledge and deep understanding of the industrial relations sphere, regulator behaviour and the needs of industry.’

‘KHQ Lawyers Labour and employment practice combines a unique understanding of desired business outcomes, commercial pragmatism and deep industry expertise. This results in leaders gaining insight, with a sound understanding of risk and mitigations which they can action through the KHQ Employment Team or through the organisation with KHQ’s guidance.’

‘Chris Gianatti is an employment law genius.’

‘Chris is a fantastic lawyer who takes the legal jargon out of the discussions and is surrounded by a fantastic team of empathetic and passionate individuals.’

‘Chris Gianatti is a highly intellectual and deeply experienced practitioner. However, his real skill is breaking complex issues down into manageable bites that can be easily understood by the laymen. His wit makes the driest of subject digestible.’

Key clients

CSL Limited

John Holland

UGL

Asahi Beverages

ENGIE Australia & New Zealand

ANZ Banking Group Limited

NTT Ltd

Mars

Bunnings

Toll Group

Qube Logistics

Chartered Accountants of Australia & New Zealand

Decathlon Group

ABB Australia

SGS Australia

Toyota Tsusho Australasia

Specsavers

Bapcor Group Limited

HSK Ward Group

Programmed Group

Peninsula Health

ICON Health

Caraniche Health

humm group

Lavazza

Sushi Sushi

Sensis

Equifax

RMIT University

Kaplan Education

Monadelphous Group Limited

NRW Group Limited

Vertech Group Limited

Broadspectrum

CPB Contractors

Corestaff Australia

Aussie Broadband

Dubber

Rome 2 Rio

Bus Association of Victoria

Victorian Transport Association

Commonwealth Cyber Security Research Centre

Federation of Community Legal Centres

Work highlights

  • Advising CSL Ltd on the base fractionation facility transformation project that will see CSL’s legacy operations in Australia completely transformed over the next 3 years.
  • Advising on John Holland’s major infrastructure projects around Australia worth more than A$20bn in total.
  • Advising NTT Ltd on all employment matters and disputes in the aftermath of NTT’s recent A$11bn merger between Dimension Data, Oakton and various other operating entities which saw 40,000 employees come together internationally.

McCullough Robertson

The Queensland-based employment team at McCullough Robertson is recognised for predominately advising government sector clients on industrial relations matters, as well as handling advisory work for overseas clients establishing in Australia. Head of the group Mick Moy is based in Brisbane with expertise in the public sector.

Practice head(s):

Mick Moy

Key clients

Australian Federal Police

Queensland Health

RSL Care RDNS Limited trading as Bolton Clarke

Sydney Trains

Council of the New South Wales Bar Association

Moray & Agnew

Moray & Agnew has a national offering with offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Brisbane and Perth. The practice handles both contentious and non-contentious matters, including anti-discrimination work, workplace health and safety mandates, investigations and disputes, with a particular focus on assisting government bodies with industrial law matters. Nick Duggal leads the team from Melbourne.

Practice head(s):

Nick Duggal

Testimonials

‘The Labour and employment team at Moray & Agnew is our preferred service provider in this space for both our internal requirements and for referring to clients for a number of reasons. They are supremely well informed and professional, very able to engage with a wide variety of clients and have the ability to provide relevant commercial advice promptly and efficiently.’

‘We engage solely with Nick Duggal, who is a very pragmatic and commercially-oriented legal adviser. His ability to provide legal advice that is specific to the circumstances, and yet holistically relevant to a clients’ needs is why we work with him so closely. Nick is also very responsive, and we never need worry that a client’s requests are unanswered at any time.’

Key clients

AAI Ltd

GIO

AAMI

Vero Insurance

AMP Life Limited

Australian Capital Territory Government

Australian Tax Office

Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment

Department of Defence, Comcover

Department of Finance

Department of Veterans Affairs

Fair Work Ombudsman

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and Services Australia

Avant Insurance Limited

Biosar Energy

Burnham Group Pty Ltd

Calvary Hospital, Bruce

Care Plus Services

CBRE Group

Collabera Inc

Firbank Grammar School

Frontier Software PLC

Goodwin Aged Care Services Limited

Hungry Jack’s Australia

Hunter Water Corporation

Jardine Lloyd Thompson Pty Limited

Milemaker Petroleum

Municipal Association of Victoria

MAV Insurance and member councils

City of Melbourne

City of Dandenong

City of Yarra

Latrobe City Council StateCover Mutual Limited

City of Brimbank

Insurance and Care NSW

NSW Department of Education, Housing NSW

NSW Sport and Recreation

NSW Police Force

NSW Trustee and Guardian

Property NSW

Transport for NSW Rural & Regional

Armidale Regional Council

Ballina Shire Council

Camden Council

Central Coast Council

Cessnock City Council

Clarence Valley Council

Fairfield City Council

Kempsey Shire Council

Lake Macquarie City Council

Liverpool City Council

Maitland City Council

Muswellbrook Shire Council

Newcastle City Council

Northern Beaches Council

Port Stephens Council

Richmond Valley Council

Singleton Council

Tenterfield Shire Council

Pacific Formwork

Pnors Technology Group

Probiotec Limited

Real Estate Employers’ Federation Association

Smaart Recruitment

St Michael’s Grammar School

University of Newcastle

University of Technology, Sydney

Court Services Victoria

Transport Accident Commission

VicRoads

Victoria Police

Department of Education and Training

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions

Department of Transport, Sport and Recreation Victoria

Work highlights

  • Assisted one of Australia’s largest Medical Defence Organisations in relation to 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.
  • Advised Calvary Public Hospital in relation to a complaint of bullying made against a longstanding senior employee.
  • Acting for a building and construction subcontractor, the principal contractor of the building project to undertake piling work at the site in order to establish foundations.

Piper Alderman

The employment relations practice at Piper Alderman has a national presence across Australia with strength in advising clients on bespoke employment law needs. Practice head Tim Lange has expertise in advising clients from the professional services, health, transport, retail and telecoms arenas and is based in Melbourne with Chris Hartigan. Joe Murphy was recruited from Australian Business Lawyers in 2021 to join Tim Capelin and Ben Motro in Sydney, while Erin McCarthy is based in Adelaide. 2021 also saw the team expanding with the opening of its Perth office when Shane Entriken joined from Allion Partners, and Emily Haar‘s promotion to the partnership. David Ey retired.

Practice head(s):

Tim Lange

Testimonials

‘The team has a diverse range of knowledge, experience and services to cover our needs. Billing is efficient and there is strong collaborative partnership in our shared work in profession development and advice.’

‘I couldn’t recommend the Piper Alderman Labour and employment team high enough. They are leaders in their field in terms of their depth of knowledge and expertise.’

‘Family spirit and small but dedicated team. Fast response time and always willing to help. There is always an expert on hand for any given question. Taking good care of clients.’

‘Always available, great communication if there could be a delay in assisting. Always responsive, no follow up needed. Great help especially from Ben Motro in all HR matters.’

‘Highly professional, experts in employment law, highly responsive. They listen and quickly interpret what you are seeking, they are not afraid to clarify if need be. You can build relationships with them, and thus is critical as it saves time when seeking advice. They know how to prepare the response and in what tone and language. Their advice is easy to understand and interpret.’

‘I have worked closely with Ben Motro for a number of years now, and no matter how small of an issue, Ben always provides an outcome with our best interest in mind. Ben is an expert in his field and is not afraid to educate you and make recommendations on how we can minimise our risk when it comes to employment.’

‘Tim Lange is exceptional in terms of his practical advice and his deep expertise. What makes him different is that he has a focus on building his client’s capability and so works as a true partner in this space.’

Key clients

Alfred Health

ATF Services Pty Ltd

Bridgestone Australia Ltd

Bureau Veritas Minerals Pty Ltd

Catholic Education South Australia

Coopers Brewery

CPB Contractors (a member of the CIMIC Group)

Dufry (The Nuance Group)

Fletcher Building (Australia) Pty Ltd

Fulton Hogan Construction Pty Ltd

Grundfos Pumps Pty Ltd

Hostplus Pty Ltd

Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)

Kingspan Water & Energy Pty Ltd

Lutheran Education SA, NT & WA

Medlab Clinical Limited

Melbourne Polytechnic

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance

Peregrine Corporation

Raine & Horne Victoria Pty Ltd

SA Power Networks

Southern Cross Care (SA, NT & Vic) Incorporated

Ventia Australia

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Zoetis Australia

Work highlights

  • Defending Shahin Enterprises Pty Ltd, a company within the Peregrine Corporation, against a employment class action alleging ‘wage theft’ underpayment.
  • Acted for Ventia in defending against wide-ranging historical underpayment claims in Federal Court proceedings.
  • Defended Fulton Hogan and several of its managers successfully against a prosecution brought by the CFMMEU which was heard in the Federal Court in September 2019.

Bird & Bird

The Sydney-based employment practice at Bird & Bird acts for both local and international clients, predominantly in the technology and communication sectors, on contentious and non-contentious mandates. The group is particularly adept at handling large, cross-border projects as well as enforcing non-competition and non-solicitation clauses in employment contracts. Kristy Peacock-Smith is head of the team.

Practice head(s):

Kristy Peacock-Smith

Other key lawyers:

Leila Moddel

Testimonials

‘The best part about Kristy Peacock Smith is that she always makes herself available to our needs. And gives practical advice and sound risk assessment.’

‘We have worked with B&B Australia in a very delicate process and they were extremely cautious with every detail, always on top of things and alert to deadlines. They supported us with a calm and positive approach and we built a strong case together.’

‘We worked closely and specially with Kristy Peacock-Smith (Partner), but also Leila Moddel (Special Counsel). Kristy and her team were always very kind and gentle, extremely professional and dedicated to the tasks. They gave very good and substantiated advice, with their focus in the best interests of our company. They are not the kind of company that says yes just to give comfort to the client – they will always show the good and bad scenarios, so the client can take an informed decision.’

Key clients

Australian Institute of Company Directors

Automation Anywhere

Caesarstone

China Southern Airlines

Didi

DXC Technology

DocuSign

ServiceNow Australia Pty Ltd

Electronics for Imaging, Inc.

Elixinol Global Limited

Fleetcor

Trustpilot

Currency Select

Remote Technology Inc.

Inmarsat

Professional Footballers Australia Inc

Domo Australia Pty Ltd

Dronedeploy, Inc.

Software AG Australia Pty Ltd

VisionBox

Work highlights

  • Advised China Southern Airlines on a major reduction in force in its Australian cabin crew, as a result of the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on all international airlines.
  • Representing VisionBox in proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, making an application for an interlocutory injunction, in order to prevent a key employee commencing work at the client’s key competitor.
  • Acting for Immarsat on the legality of the introduction of a diversity questionnaire for its employee population.

Clyde & Co LLP

The workplace health and safety team at Clyde & Co LLP also undertakes more general employment law matters, both contentious and non-contentious in nature; restraint of trade, sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination issues are core areas. Michael Tooma is head of the group in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Michael Tooma

Work highlights

  • Represented Unified Security Group Pty Ltd in the Victorian Hotel Quarantine Board of Inquiry.
  • Defended a client who was charged with dangerous navigating of a vessel occasioning death in a high-profile jury trial.

Colin Biggers & Paisley

Colin Biggers & Paisley ‘s employment and safety team has strength in the construction, aged and community care, education and insurance sectors. Megan Bowe heads up the team from Sydney with expertise in workplace and industrial relations law and a particular focus on the aged care sector.

Practice head(s):

Megan Bowe

Testimonials

‘CBP provide exceptional legal services due to both the legal expertise and knowledge of the community services industry, demonstrated by the partners and legal staff in the Employment Law area of the business. This understanding and knowledge is essential in providing us with industrial relations advice relating to the unusual and flexible environment of our community service support.’

‘During the Covid pandemic, CBP have utilised available technology to ensure all client information is gathered and client contact is made virtually.’

‘CBP partner Megan Kavanagh has been a pleasure to work with, her knowledge and understanding the our business is exceptional. Megan is a busy lawyer, however, she has always made time to contact us and carry out various projects at short notice.’

‘Megan’s staff are friendly, polite and easy to deal with.’

Key clients

St Kevin’s College Toorak

Chandler Mcleod

University of Queensland

Coomera Anglican College

Trustees of Edmund Rice Education Australia

Brisbane Catholic Education

Inghams

Springvale Coal Pty Ltd

Clarence Coal Pty Ltd

Procter & Gamble

Work highlights

  • Acting for St Kevin’s College Toorak to resolve regulatory, governance and contentious matters that arose following the school featuring on an episode of ABC TV’s “Four Corners” program in February 2020.
  • Defending Workforce Pty Ltd (a Division of the Chandler Macleod Group) in a significant employment law class action brought against the client by the representative Applicant in a class action involving 279 casual employees.
  • Acted on behalf of seven respondents in complex litigation before the Federal Court of Australia where the Applicant claimed that he had been subjected to sexual harassment and disability discrimination by his co-workers and asserted that the employer was vicariously liable for the alleged conduct of its employees.

Harmers Workplace Lawyers

The boutique employment firm Harmers Workplace Lawyers acts for both employers and employees with offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Michael Harmer is head of the group in Sydney and is supported by Emma Pritchard and Jenny Inness who are also notable team members in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Michael Harmer

Kennedys

Justin Le Blond and Chris Molnar lead the employment practice at Kennedys, which has a focus on acting for insurers. The team has expanded recently, with a new office opening in Perth and the addition of Jonathan Wyatt to compliment the offerings in Sydney and Melbourne. The team in Australia also benefits from the firm’s international presence.

Practice head(s):

Justin Le BlondChris Molnar

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Wyatt

Key clients

Elanor Investors Limited & Associated Entities

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Workers Association Limited

G H Varley Pty Ltd & Associated Entities

Ironfish Pty Ltd & Associated Entities

Oxford Scientific Pty. Limited

Vari Group Pty, Ltd

Tech-Wear by Carrycode Pty Ltd

Workplace Connect Pty Ltd

Compaction Soil & Testing Services Pty Ltd

Elanor Wildlife Park Management Pty Limited

Fusion Co-Innovation Labs Pty Ltd

Board of Australian Eggs Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for NATSIHWA in seeking significant, substantive changes to the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award 2010 in the 4 yearly review of modern awards.
  • Acting for Elanor Investors Limited in proceedings regarding applications for exemption from the ‘grouping’ provision of the Payroll Tax Act 2007 (NSW) in respect of employing assets.
  • Acting for Oxford Scientific & Medilink Pty Limited in Supreme Court of New South Wales proceedings concerning the misuse of business records, confidential information and intellectual property by a former employee.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs acts in disputes and major incidents, workplace investigations and executive level advisory work. Bruno Di Girolami in Perth is a notable team member. In team news, John Oakes and Barnaby Austin have departed to establish Oakes Austin Pty Ltd, while Nicola Martin joined the team in Sydney from McCabe Curwood.

Other key lawyers:

Bruno Di GirolamiNicola Martin

Testimonials

‘Pragmatic advice.’

Key clients

Technip Oceania Pty Ltd

Alloy Steel Australia (INT) Pty Ltd

RotoMetrics Australia Pty Ltd