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Rachel Drew

LLB (Hons), BA

Partner - Brisbane

Areas of Expertise

Workplace Relations & Safety, Immigration Law


Rachel is a highly experienced workplace lawyer. Rachel is involved in advising on the legal aspects and practical implementation issues across the full scope of workplace relations. 

Rachel’s practice involves employment and industrial relations issues, enterprise bargaining, workplace disputes, Federal Circuit Court and Fair Work Commission litigation, employee misconduct investigations, professional conduct standards and registration, business sponsorship and migration, defamation disputes, work health and safety, employment contract disputes, discrimination, managing discipline and dismissal, and transmission of business.

Extensive industry experience in government, education, medical and allied health and construction and resources sectors.

Certified professional member of the Australian Human Resources Institute.


  • Federal Circuit Court disputes for adverse action and employment termination disputes 
  • State Supreme Court and Court of Appeal proceedings in relation to workplace contract disputes, workplace injunctions and judicial review 
  • Fair Work Commission disputes for Stop Bullying orders, unfair dismissal and adverse action 
  • Discrimination Commission disputes about sexual harassment, disability and impairment discrimination, age discrimination, parental status, gender bias, including Tribunal and Industrial Relations Commission proceedings 
  • Industrial Court appeals about disputes arising in the course of making new industrial instruments (EBAs etc) 
  • Industrial Court disputes and appeals about allegations of unprotected industrial action 
  • work health and safety advice, prosecuting WHS breaches on behalf of the State Government, acting on behalf of defendants in education, medical, construction industries
  • workers’ compensation advice and representation in appeals in Industrial Relations Commission, Industrial Court and Court of Appeal 
  • award and industrial agreement interpretation 
  • registration for employment, Working with Children Checks, “Blue Card/Yellow Card” requirements for regulated employment 
  • employment contracts, senior executive employment terms.

Rachel is regularly listed in multiple industry and peer acknowledgements in the area of Workplace Relations:

  • 2014 to 2023 editions of The Best Lawyers in Australia for Labour and Employment Law
  • Australian Recommended Lawyer 2021 for Labour and Employment 
  • 2014 to 2023 editions of Doyles Guide as a Recommended and Leading lawyer in Employment (Employer Representation) 
  • 2020 to 2022 Doyles Guide Leading Immigration lawyer for Queensland
  • “Notable Practitioner” listing in Chambers and Partners Legal Directory 
  • Asia Pacific Legal 500 Workplace/M&A
  • Recognised in The Australian Financial Review in the category of “Lawyer of the Year”.

Rachel and Holding Redlich’s national Workplace Relations & Safety team are listed as “Thought Leaders” by international legal content aggregator, Lexology, for their published legal content on Workplace Relations law and legislative developments.


Rachel’s key experience includes the following:

Complex workplace relations

  • Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC): transfer of the first State asset, Qld Titles Registry, into the Qld Future Fund; implementing effective IR consultation; advising QIC on the best mechanism to effect the transfer; advising on the enabling legislation to effect the transfer; multiple deeds between QIC and the State; and applications to the Fair Work Commission to vary the certified agreement and consolidate industrial instruments
  • Stamford Land Corporation: workplace relations management of Stamford sale of its AU/NZ properties in $1billion deal (June 2021 media coverage)
  • Queensland Government Department: Prosecution of WHS breaches resulting in GBH against 4 defendants, applications for joinder, delegation of authority and High Court appeals 
  • Port of Townsville: advising on complex industrial relations arrangements for sub-contractors engaged by Port, including application of correct maritime Awards, correct EBA application and time pay and wages assessments
  • Subway Restaurants: Management of pro-active time pay and wages audits by Subway Australia as the master franchisor.

Dispute resolution matters

  • appeals to the Industrial Court and Court of Appeal regarding dispute over allegations of unprotected industrial action 
  • Industrial Court and Court of Appeal matter involving interpretation of worker’s “interval” in Workers’ Compensation 
  • appeals regarding good faith bargaining matters
  • National Storage: Responding to Fair Work Ombudsman investigation of time pay and wages including dispute over job classifications and Award coverage
  • Specialist medical: defending Fair Work Commission unfair dismissal claim by employee who was accused of workplace harassment by another staff member, commenced an extended period of sick leave with medical certificates issued by the employer’s medical practice, made WorkCover and Fair Work stop bullying applications, and was subsequently terminated  
  • Sexual harassment: Discrimination Commission claims including allegations against employer for out of work sexual harassment and implementation of workplace policies 
  • Adverse action: Federal Circuit Court claim for adverse action as a result of an accidental “all staff” message referring to employee as a “numpty” by her manager; response to three separate Fair Work Commission applications, stop bullying order and Federal Circuit Court proceedings arising from the same factual circumstance
  • Airline: defence of multiple Fair Work Commission adverse action, bullying and termination complaints, including Federal Circuit Court applications by employee who was terminated after repeatedly failing to obtain necessary licenses for his position.

Workplace relations advice

  • mandatory reporting of sexual abuse and all other harm for professionals and employers in the education and disability care industry, including managing reporting offences post-Royal Commission  
  • Film & TV industry workplace investigation into complaints of workplace harassment by managers across four productions 
  • workplace investigation on behalf of local government into allegations of misconduct, including fraud by senior manager
  • responding to criminal investigation including assisting employers to respond to police requests for information about child harm and managing response to breach of mandatory reporting obligations 
  • Modern Awards: detailed internal audit program to ensure client compliance with new Modern Award requirements and strategic advice for workforce management
  • Covid Response: advice on Covid stand down, JobKeeper and post- Covid return to work strategies for employers  
  • day to day advice to human resources managers to assist in management of ill & injured workers, WHS incident response, leave entitlements, employee complaints.

Work health and safety

  • Queensland Government Department: Prosecution of WHS breaches resulting in GBH against 4 defendants, applications for joinder, delegation of authority and High Court appeals 
  • Queensland Government: WHS advice on administrative powers under WHS legislation 
  • Queensland Cotton Producer: defence of GBH allegation relating to loss of hand in cotton gin
  • Education sector: Defence of WHS prosecution relating to school science demonstration in “Science Week” resulting in third degree burns to primary school students 
  • Education sector: WHS prosecution for loss of digit due to unguarded blades in a school woodwork workshop
  • 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.

Submissions to Government and the Australian Law Reform Commission on multiple areas relating to Workplace Relations including: Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2019, Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, Human Rights Bill 2018, National Redress Scheme Bill 2018, Civil Liability and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018.


18 October 2022 - Knowledge

When will a restraint of trade clause be enforceable?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The NSW Court of Appeal has upheld a decision that a nine-month post-employment restraint clause was considered reasonable and enforceable against a former sales manager who joined a competitor’s business.

22 March 2022 - Knowledge

FWC decision reminds employees to update their contact details

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Fair Work Commission has dismissed a technician’s delayed unfair dismissal claim application in circumstances where the technician claimed that he did not see the termination letter in his email inbox.

15 March 2022 - Knowledge

FWC finds an employer’s decision to dismiss an employee for excessive phone usage a good call

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Employers may be comfortable with their employees sending the odd personal text message during work hours, but how many texts are too many? The Fair Work Commission says over 1,000 texts is excessive.

16 February 2022 - Knowledge

Out of hours conduct a sufficient reason for employee dismissal, FWC rules

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #Workplace Relations for Employees

The Fair Work Commission has ruled on an unfair dismissal claim by a veteran senior bank employee who was terminated for serious misconduct after attending a work-related event.

04 August 2021 - Knowledge

New Queensland laws protecting children from child sexual offences could be relevant to your business

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Adults in Queensland are now legally required to report and protect children from child sexual offences. How is this relevant to your business and what do you need to do?