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Andrew Klein

Expertise

Andrew has extensive experience in representing and providing high level, strategic and complex workplace relations advice to a wide range of Commonwealth departments and agencies over the last 15 years. This includes significant experience in litigating on behalf of the Commonwealth (generally on the instructions of Comcover) in the Fair Work Commission, the Federal Court, the Federal Circuit Court, the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The matters Andrew assists with include: 

  • unfair dismissal, adverse action, bullying and harassment, discrimination and sexual harassment claims and associated litigation
  • issues associated with managing performance and conduct and the associated risks relating to termination of employment
  • advice regarding entitlements under enterprise agreements and common law contracts and related dispute and litigation
  • claims for workers compensation made pursuant to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (as part of the Comcare scheme).

Over the course of his career, Andrew has worked with the majority of the largest Commonwealth departments and agencies. His current and recent clients include: Comcover, Services Australia, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Airservices Australia, the National Disability Insurance Agency, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Parliamentary Services, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and Communications, the National Indigenous Australians Agency, IP Australia and the Special Broadcasting Services Corporation (SBS).

He has also worked extensively as an executive level lawyer within the Commonwealth (at the Attorney-General’s Department, Centrelink Legal Services, Comcare, the AFP and Airservices Australia), both as an in-house lawyer and, after coming to private practice, as part of secondment arrangements.

The time Andrew has spent working with, and within the Commonwealth gives him a valuable perspective on the public sector and expertise in the practical application of related legislation such as the Public Service Act 1999, the Legal Services Directions 2017, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 and the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977.

Andrew also has extensive experience in conducting complex and sensitive workplace investigations (including numerous Code of Conduct investigations) and reviews of workplace culture.

He has undertaken investigations and reviews for a wide range of Commonwealth and State and Territory government departments and agencies, including: the AFP; the Department of Home Affairs; Services Australia; the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Department of Parliamentary Services; the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development; the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and Communications; the National Indigenous Australians Agency; ACT Health Directorate; ACT Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate; NSW Ministry of Health; Transport for NSW; Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria.

He is generally engaged to conduct investigations where the matter is complex, sensitive or otherwise requires a high level of expertise and judgement to be exercised.

In 2022, Andrew was recognised as one of Canberra's leading employment lawyers by Doyle’s Guide.

Experience

Litigation and dispute resolution

  • acting on behalf of Services Australia to resolve a number of disputes raised by the CPSU
  • acting for Airservices Australia in the Federal Court in respect of an extremely high profile, complex and sensitive sexual harassment claim
  • acting on behalf of SBS (on the instructions of Comcover) in the Federal Circuit Court to defend an adverse action claim brought by a former employee; representing Services Australia with regard to a discrimination claim brought by a former employee in the Australian Human Rights Commission
  • acting on behalf of various Commonwealth departments and agencies in respect of unfair dismissal and adverse action claims in the Fair Work Commission.

Advice work

  • advising a Commonwealth agency to help his instructors manage the legal risks associated with dealing with a senior employee who had been the subject of an adverse Code of Conduct process, had ongoing performance issues and also suffered from a mental illness
  • advising a large Commonwealth department regarding the circumstances in which it was able to compel its employees to attend a medical examination and whether the relevant power extended to requiring the individual to actively participate in the examination process
  • advising a number of large employers in relation to a wide range of discrimination claims (including claims of disability and racial discrimination and claims of sexual harassment), including successfully acting to resolve sexual harassment claims (including claims made against senior members of the employers represented, where the quantum of compensation claimed exceeded $1M)
  • advising a major Commonwealth regulatory agency on managing the risks and the best options to resolve a claim involving allegations of discrimination on the basis of intersex status.

Investigations

  • conducting an investigation and workplace review for a large Commonwealth regulatory agency in respect of reported bullying and general workplace dysfunction at one of its major overseas posts. This matter involved a number of complex issues and a highly sensitive workplace environment. Undertaking the investigation consequently required Andrew to exercise high levels of tact, interpersonal skills and judgment
  • conducting numerous Code of Conduct investigations for a wide range of government departments and agencies (including Services Australia and the Department of Home Affairs). This has included matters involving senior members of organisations and sensitive issues (e.g., claims of sexual harassment) which were potentially the subject of future challenge and litigation and/or media interest in the subject of the allegations.

Publications

18 May 2022 - Knowledge

Repudiation of an employment contract: Overview and basic principles

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The principles regarding repudiation of an employment contract are well established, but the application of these principles can often give rise to disputes, particularly in cases of employee repudiation.

07 April 2022 - Knowledge

Can the Fair Work Commission and federal courts award costs in employment matters?

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #Australian Government

The Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Division of the federal courts are ostensibly no-costs jurisdictions. But in what circumstances will costs be awarded in employment-related proceedings?

Upcoming Seminars