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Workplace Relations & Safety

Our specialist team has extensive experience acting for employers in both the public and private sector and across a range of industries.

Workplace Relations & Safety

We understand the legal risks associated with human resource management. We focus on preventative measures and deliver training workshops and support designed to keep our clients out of disputes.

Expertise

We balance the technical aspects of employment and industrial relations law with a focus on addressing what can often be complex business issues facing our clients. As part of our approach, we look to understand the business imperatives behind our clients’ workplace strategies and to structure our advice in the context of these imperatives.

If a workplace dispute arises for a client, we offer alternative resolution processes. If litigation is necessary, we use our specialist knowledge of the relevant law, workplace disputes and courts and tribunals to develop a legal process that will best achieve success for the client.

Board & Executive

Our experienced workplace relations lawyers assist clients with all issues relating to senior executives and board members in respect of employment and safety issues.

Legal expertise:

  • developing relevant terms and conditions for senior executives
  • managing disputes relating to terms & conditions of engagement
  • advising on executive remuneration including share option plans, profit sharing and other incentive schemes
  • enforcement of restraints and protection of confidential information
  • advising on business visas
  • advising on performance management
  • developing strategy for the transfer of executive teams from competitors
  • advising on termination benefits
  • advising on due diligence obligations for Board members and officers of the business.

Corporate transactions

In any merger, acquisition, sale of business, in-sourcing, out-sourcing or restructure arrangement there are critical employment and industrial issues which can affect the success of the project. Our expert workplace relations lawyers assist and advise on these issues to ensure our clients' interests are best protected.

Legal expertise:

  • due diligence on employment and safety issues
  • developing effective strategies for retaining key employees and managing redundancies
  • providing industrial relations advice and strategies including the termination of industrial instruments following a transfer of business
  • advising on transactional agreements relating to employees including restraints, warranties and indemnities.

Our experience:

  • advising a national natural gas infrastructure organisation on employment and industrial issues relating to the acquisition of a gas network distributor
  • advising a national producer and processor of raw leather on employment and industrial issues in relation to the acquisition of a hide tannery business
  • advising a subsidiary of a national bank on employment issues during the disposal of a series of regional radio broadcasting stations
  • advising a major insurer on employment issues arising from the acquisition and aggregation of a number of businesses
  • advising a national logistics business on the Transfer of Business provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) relating to labour hire issues
  • providing employment advice to an international television broadcaster in relation to the transmission and acquisition of a business.

Employment law

Our specialist Workplace Relations Group has extensive experience acting for employers in both the public and private sector and across a range of industries. We understand the legal risks associated with human resource management.

We offer our clients:

  • practical, accessible, responsive and effective advice
  • an emphasis on identifying and devising strategies to best meet our their objectives
  • a focus on preventative measures and dispute resolution rather than litigation.

Legal expertise:

  • drafting employment contracts, workplace policies and other guidelines
  • advising and acting on the implementation of industrial strategies, including implementation of workplace agreements
  • advising on disciplinary processes and workplace investigations
  • advising on termination of employment issues and procedures, including, for senior executives, in respect of options, bonus entitlements, directorships and public announcements
  • defending unfair dismissal and wrongful termination proceedings
  • advising on the implementation of and acting in proceedings concerning the enforcement of confidentiality and non-compete provisions
  • advising employers in respect of unlawful discrimination, unlawful termination, harassment and bullying complaints and acting in proceedings in respect of these complaints
  • advising in respect of transmission of business issues
  • advising employers in respect of employer sponsored migration (457 visa scheme) including application for approval as a standard business sponsor, visa applications and advising on employer compliance issues.

Our experience:

  • drafting employment agreements, implementing remuneration strategies for senior executives and advising on relevant Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) issues for a national natural gas infrastructure organisation
  • drafting various employment documents for a national business including template Executive Services Agreement together with “shadow” equity structures
  • drafting standard employment contracts, dealing with industry standards and award entitlements for a national radio network
  • defending unfair dismissal proceedings for a national postal organisation and responding to sexual harassment and sex discrimination complaints in the Australian Human Rights Commission
  • advising a peak film body on the negotiation of an enterprise agreement including advising on the requirements of the Commonwealth Government and liaising with DEEWR regarding the Bargaining Framework
  • undertaking investigations into bullying complaints and defending proceedings alleging disability discrimination for a statutory agency
  • advising a national outdoor advertising organisation on a suspected breach of restraints of trade and confidentiality obligations by former employees.

Industrial relations

Our specialist Workplace Relations Group has extensive experience acting for employers in both the public and private sector and across a range of industries. We understand the legal risks associated with industrial relations. We understand that the rules governing collective bargaining have become more complex and at the same time the issues that employers need to address have become more varied.

We offer our clients:

  • practical, accessible, responsive and effective advice
  • an emphasis on identifying and devising strategies to best meet our their objectives
  • a focus on preventative measures and dispute resolution rather than litigation.

Legal expertise:

  • advising on the process of collective bargaining, including the various legal options available to employers during the course of the bargaining process
  • providing strategic advice to clients when industrial issues arise
  • advising on applicable industrial instruments that apply to the workplace
  • acting on behalf of clients involved in Fair Work Building & Construction investigations.

Our experience:

  • advising an Australian subsidiary of an international optical media manufacturer on the terms of proposed enterprise agreements as well as the agreement making process
  • working with a national natural gas infrastructure organisation to consolidate a number of collective agreements as a result of a series of acquisitions
  • advising a peak film body on the negotiation of an enterprise agreement including advising on the requirements of the Commonwealth Government and liaising with DEEWR regarding the Bargaining Framework
  • advising an Australian subsidiary of an international material handling business on the negotiation of an employee collective agreement
  • advice a government owned corporation regarding compliance with and interpretation of applicable award
  • advising a film production company in relation to bargaining notices and obligations.

EEO, discrimination and diversity

We advise employers in respect of complaints of unlawful discrimination and act in defending proceedings in this regard. We also advise employers on governance structures to adopt in order to address these matters as well as how best to investigate and deal with complaints or issues as they arise.

Legal expertise:

  • drafting workplace policies and other guidelines
  • advising on disciplinary processes and workplace investigations
  • advising on termination of employment issues and procedures
  • defending unlawful termination, General Protections and wrongful termination proceedings
  • advising employers in respect of unlawful discrimination, harassment and bullying complaints and acting in proceedings in respect of these complaints.

Our experience:

  • advising an international television broadcaster on the implementation of investigation protocols and processes
  • defending unfair dismissal proceedings for a national postal organisation and responding to sexual harassment and sex discrimination complaints in the Australian Human Rights Commission
  • defending a national recruitment business from a racial discrimination/religious vilification complaint
  • defending one of Australia’s largest independent non-bank cash flow financiers regarding a sexual harassment complaint
  • undertaking investigations into bullying complaints and defending proceedings alleging disability discrimination for a statutory agency
  • defending Australia’s largest shopping centre owner regarding adverse action claims and advising on investigations
  • acting for a Sydney radio station in General Protections proceedings where an injunction was sought against our client to prevent the dismissal of an announcer on the alleged grounds of political opinion. After a number of interlocutory hearings the matter was resolved before a final hearing.

Managing ill and injured workers

Businesses face significant risks in the management of ill or injured workers. Our workplace relations lawyers are able to assist you in reducing these risks while at the same time ensuring you can achieve a productive and engaged workforce.

Legal expertise:

  • advising on return to work including suitable duties
  • advising on termination of employment and defending any associated employment claims 
  • preparing documentation including requests for independent medical assessments
  • advising on disciplinary processes and workplace investigations
  • advising on termination of employment issues and procedures relating to injured or ill workers
  • defending unlawful termination, General Protections and wrongful termination proceedings relating to injured or ill workers.

Our experience:

  • advising a national leather processing business on return to work obligations for a seriously injured employee
  • defending unfair dismissal proceedings for a national postal organisation
  • advising a Sydney food producer on the graduated return to work obligations for an injured driver
  • advising an actuarial business regarding the termination of employment of a long-term employee suffering mental illness
  • undertaking investigations into bullying complaints and defending proceedings alleging disability discrimination for a statutory agency.

Privacy

Employers need to be aware of the privacy protections that apply to monitoring and surveillance in the workplace and the importance of policies and procedures in this area. Our specialist Workplace Relations Group has significant experience advising employers on a range of privacy issues. 

Legal expertise:

  • drafting workplace guidelines relating to monitoring and surveillance of computers, telecommunications, vehicles and the workplace
  • advising on workplace investigations and the use of surveillance
  • advising on the implementation of policies involving privacy issues including Social Media policies and Computer Use policies
  • advising on investigations and disciplinary processes which involve access to personal information
  • advising on corporate transactions which involve access by third parties to employee and contractor records, for example in a due diligence
  • advising on pre-litigation investigations involving surveillance of former employees or obtaining telecommunication records.

Our experience:

  • advising a national advertising organisation on the surveillance of a former employee
  • drafting various policies for a national business consistent with workplace surveillance laws in a number of jurisdictions
  • drafting policies for a national radio network regarding Social Media and Computer Use
  • advising a national infrastructure business about its obligations to disclose personal information of employees during a due diligence
  • working with forensic investigators to obtain admissible evidence for litigated claims against former employees or business competitors.

Migration

Skilled work force shortages present one of the most critical challenges to Australia. Businesses operating in Australia (or seeking to operate in Australia) increasingly rely on international recruitment to meet their workforce needs.

Holding Redlich advises companies on all aspects of international recruitment, including the implications for human resources and risk management strategies.

Our expertise includes:

  • establishing business sponsorship arrangements (including advising on sponsorship obligations and undertakings)
  • compliance issues, sponsorship monitoring, audits and site investigations by Department officers
  • verifying work rights and entitlements of various visa holders;
  • preparing employment contracts that are compliant with Immigration Law and advising on special termination procedures for temporary visa holders
  • negotiating Labour Agreements and Enterprise Migration Agreements.

Protection of business interests

A key to the success of any business is the protection of its valuable confidential information and customer connections. We advise clients in respect of the implementation of measures to protect confidential information and restraints of trade as well as act in their enforcement.

We offer our clients:

  • practical, accessible, responsive and effective advice
  • an emphasis on identifying and devising strategies to best meet our their objectives
  • a focus on preventative measures and dispute resolution rather than litigation.

Legal expertise:

  • drafting employment contracts, workplace policies and other guidelines to best protect the businesses commercial interests
  • advising on workplace investigations related to the misuse of confidential information
  • advising on termination of employment issues and procedures in respect of the misuse of confidential information
  • advising on the implementation of and acting in proceedings concerning the enforcement of confidentiality and non-compete provisions.

Our experience:

  • advising an international accounting firm on the enforcement of restraints of trade and the effect of restraints of trade that may apply to prospective partners
  • advising in respect of the movement of teams to competitors in the banking and finance industry
  • advising a property management business on suspected breaches of confidentiality by former employees. Seeking preliminary discovery orders against a former employee and obtaining ex parte asset preservation orders pending the determination of the preliminary discovery application
  • advising a national outdoor advertising organisation on a suspected breach of restraints of trade and confidentiality obligations by former employees
  • acting a major drilling company on suspected breaches of confidentiality and non-compete provisions.

Workplace health and safety

Workplace Health & Safety (WH&S) impacts at all levels of the public and private sectors and all industries. We understand that it is important for the overall performance of a business and not just because of legal compliance.

Our clients regularly seek our advice and assistance in managing their obligations as well as when incidents occur.

Our WH&S team has extensive experience in advising on all aspects of workplace safety, including:

  • strategic advice on minimising exposure to workplace safety risk and liability
  • development of workplace safety management systems, policies and procedures
  • training in workplace safety
  • advice and representation in WH&S related investigations, disputes and prosecutions
  • due diligence of WH&S issues in acquisitions of property and businesses
  • advice on self-insurance and insurance premium issues.

We act for principals, developers, contractors, managers and consultants in both the public and private sectors. Our clients range from major institutions and government entities to specialist consultants and subcontractors.

FREE trial copy of the OHS Handbook
Holding Redlich partner, Michael Selinger, is editor-in-chief of the OHS Handbook - a comprehensive, alphabetically organized, easy to understand guide to Australian workplace safety law. Written in layperson terms, the OHS Handbook will help you protect your business and stay on the right side of the law.

Order your copy of the Health & Safety Handbook

Training

We deliver in-house training for representatives of our clients in all relevant areas of employment, industrial and safety law. This is a key service that we offer to minimise an employer’s legal risk. We regularly conduct training on a variety of topics and for all levels, from the boardroom to the office or “shop” floor.

The types of training we have recently conducted for specific clients include:

  • respect in the workplace training
  • introduction to the Fair Work Act 2009
  • enterprise bargaining
  • receiving complaints and conducting workplace investigations
  • key employment issues for private equity
  • director and officer liability under WHS legislation
  • managing incident responses and dealing with safety regulators
  • training in attending safety regulator interviews and the prosecution process
  • what do businesses need to know about the new WHS laws.

We will always look to tailor our training programmes to ensure they best meet the particular training objectives of our clients and regularly work in with their human resource and legal staff in developing and conducting this form of training.

Training brochures

Workplace regulators

Employers increasingly need to deal with statutory regulators in respect of employment and industrial matters. We have a broad range of experience in dealing with regulators on these matters.

Legal expertise:

  • providing strategic advice on minimising exposure to regulatory risk and liability
  • development of management systems, policies and procedures to deal with regulatory investigations
  • training in investigation response systems
  • advice and representation in regulatory investigations and litigated proceedings.

Our experience:

  • acting for clients in Fair Work Ombudsman investigations. This includes assisting and advising on responses to allegations regarding the failure to recognise a bargaining representative, allowing employees a genuine opportunity to consider the proposed agreement as well as underpayment allegations
  • advising clients in Fair Work Building & Construction investigations. This includes assisting and advising on responses to allegations regarding unlawful industrial action, strike pay, sham contracting and underpayment allegations.
  • advising clients and acting on their behalf in respect of insurance premium disputes and audits with workers compensation insurers and regulators
  • advising clients dealing with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, including acting on their behalf in business visa applications and 457 visa audits.

Workplace relations for employees

Our specialist Workplace Law Group has extensive experience in all aspects of workplace relations law. We understand the legal issues relating to recruitment, engagement and termination of employment, as well as the matters that arise both during and after the employment relationship.

We offer our clients:

  • practical, accessible, responsive and effective advice
  • an emphasis on solutions based strategies and advice
  • a focus on dispute resolution rather than litigation.

However, when litigation is needed, we have the expertise and experience to run matters in all jurisdictions.

Legal expertise

We provide a comprehensive employment and industrial relations service to our clients. 

Areas of experience and expertise include:

  • negotiating terms and conditions of employment as well as drafting contracts of employment
  • providing advice on exit strategies from existing employers including dealing with existing restraints of trade and managing obligations in respect of confidential information and intellectual property
  • advising on employment issues relating to management buy outs and other business initiatives pursued by executives
  • advising on disciplinary matters and disputes over performance
  • providing advice in respect of Equal Employment Opportunity and discrimination matters including returning to work and parental leave issues
  • advising on and acting in contractual disputes relating to the termination of employment, including entitlements to reasonable notice or bonuses together with the retention of share options and other share based benefits
  • advising on and acting in proceedings concerning misleading and deceptive conduct in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974
  • advising on and acting in unfair dismissal claims
  • advising on and acting in restraint of trade and confidentiality disputes
  • advising in respect of migration issues (including 457 Visa scheme issues)
  • acting for professionals in defending complaints made against them in professional tribunals or boards.

Our experience

  • preparing and reviewing service agreements for senior executives
  • negotiating terms of separation for CEOs and other senior management, together with drafting and reviewing agreements that regulate separation
  • acting for a senior executive in Federal Court proceedings alleging, among other things, misleading and deceptive conduct by his former employer. The verdict is one of the leading decisions in this area and is reported as Walker v Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty Limited [2006] FCAFC 101
  • acting in Equal Employment Opportunity proceedings in which the highest award in Victoria was made for pain and suffering arising from sexual harassment and discrimination. This decision was reported as State of Victoria v McKenna (1999) 140 IR 256
  • acting in Equal Employment Opportunity proceedings which resulted in one of the leading decisions on carer's responsibility discrimination and which is reported as State of Victoria v Schou (No 2) - (2004) 8 VR 120
  • acting for executives who have restraint of trade action taken against them by a former employer
  • acting for senior executives on their movement between listed companies, including, dealing with all issues surrounding short term incentives, long terms incentives, restraints of trade and confidentiality together with Corporations Act and Listing Rule issues
  • acting for professionals in defending complaints made against them in professional tribunals or boards.

Experience

We have broad experience across a range of industries, including:

  • advising an employer in the resources sector on available industrial strategies, including the implementation of workplace agreements
  • acting for an employer in the logistics industry in a range of matters, including in unfair dismissal proceedings and unlawful discrimination complaints and investigations
  • acting for an employer in media industry in dealing with a variety of employment and industrial relations matters, including engaging key talent
  • acting for an employer in the negotiation and implementation of a referral agreement to the Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales
  • acting for an employer in proceedings commenced in the Supreme Court of Queensland and concerning alleged misleading and deceptive conduct in respect of various share options
  • advising a group of companies on the implementation of nationally standardised employment contracts, policies and procedures
  • advising a private equity financier in respect of establishing a competing business and the extraction of senior executives from a major competitor, including dealing with non-compete and confidentiality obligations
  • advising a vendor in respect of employment and industrial issues arising from the divestiture of a number of businesses
  • drafting executive service agreements and advising on relevant ASX Listing Rules and Corporations Act issues
  • advising a developer in respect of industrial relations and enterprise bargaining issues arising at various redevelopment sites in Australia
  • acting for various television producers and providing advice in respect of employment and industrial relations matters relating to film and television production.
Stephen Trew

Stephen Trew

Managing Partner

Sydney

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Charles Power

Charles Power

Partner

Melbourne

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Rachel Drew

Rachel Drew

Partner

Brisbane

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Benjamin Marshall

Benjamin Marshall

Partner

Melbourne

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David Shaw

David Shaw

Partner

Melbourne

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Recent Posts

25 May 2018 - Blog

When one time is one time too many: Serious safety breaches and termination of employment

#Workplace Relations & Safety

For the third time this year, the Fair Work Commission has upheld an employer’s decision to dismiss an employee who was found to have breached a cardinal safety rule in the workplace. In each case, the breach of the relevant safety rule did not result in either incident or injury.

22 May 2018 - Blog

Reckless safety breaches under the spotlight

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Following a lengthy investigation after the death of a construction worker in 2016 at a Canberra hospital, a group of workers - including supervisors and safety officers - now face potential prison terms for serious safety breaches. The matter is shaping up as one of the most important cases under the harmonised safety laws since they were introduced in 2011.

22 May 2018 - Blog

Key changes to Victorian long service leave entitlements announced

#Workplace Relations & Safety

On 8 May 2018, the Victorian Parliament repealed the Long Service Leave Act 1992 (Vic) (Current Act) and passed the Long Service Act 2018 (Vic) (New Act). The New Act introduces key changes to Victorian employees’ long service leave entitlements including long-awaited reforms which are more favourable for parents.