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Edmund Burke

Expertise

Edmund is a senior associate in the firm’s Workplace Relations & Safety group. Edmund holds a UK Bachelor of Laws degree from Queens University Belfast and was admitted to as a legal practitioner in Australia in January 2013.

Edmund specialises in providing advice in relation to employee management and entitlements with expertise covering industrial relations, employee entitlements and award coverage, with particular specialty in the areas of workers’ health and safety legislation, professional regulation and disciplinary structures, discrimination, managing discipline and dismissal and assessing workplace health and safety compliance. Edmund also specialises in conducting workplace investigations and has experience in criminal defence and defamation matters. 

Edmund has presented at national and international conferences on employment law and defamation law. He has an eclectic career background having worked as a journalist and writer for national publications in Ireland, the UK and Australia. Before joining private practice Edmund worked as the Director of Communications for Queensland Premier Anna Bligh with managerial responsibility for over one hundred communications professionals, providing advice directly to the Premier and Ministers on a daily basis.

Experience

Edmund’s key legal experience includes the following:

Employment and Industrial Relations

  • full Bench of the Fair Work Commission including formulation of legal argument and drafting of written submissions
  • instructing counsel before the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission
  • experience and expertise in the industrial sections of the Fair Work Act 2009
  • managing claims for underpayment and adverse action including applications for injunction
  • providing advice on characterisation of employee or contractor to both employees and large companies
  • prosecuting and defending unfair and unlawful dismissal claims, adverse action claims.

Workers’ compensation

  • managing numerous WorkCover claims each year, representing both workers and employers in the Industrial Magistrates Court and the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission at the review and appeal level
  • advising employers on WorkCover claims including obtaining factual evidence, advising on the correct level of compensation payable and rehabilitation obligations
  • acting for the Queensland Teachers Union and the Queensland Independent Education Union, representing many members in workers’ compensation claims and before the Medical Assessment Tribunals of WorkCover Queensland
  • managing ‘no win no fee’ common law damages claims under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

Work health and safety

  • reviewing and drafting WHS policies including auditing compliance against relevant legislation, and drafting internal policies and procedures
  • representing employers and various levels of management in response to work health and safety incidents, including attending investigation interviews, responding to Infringement Notices and representation in court prosecutions.

Equal employment and opportunity

  • representing clients in the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland, QCAT and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Professional Bodies Registration Compliance and Disciplinary Issues

  • defending teachers in accordance with arrangement with Queensland Teachers’ Union and Queensland Independent Education Union in relation to defence of application to cancel teacher registration by the Queensland College of Teachers, through proceedings in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Criminal Defence

  • defending teachers against criminal allegations related to their Workplaces in both the District and Supreme Courts. 

Defamation

  • assisting clients with defamation matters including defamatory comments made online on social media sites and independent blog.

Publications

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.