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Rachel Drew

LLB (Hons), BA

Managing Partner - Brisbane

Areas of Expertise

Workplace Relations & Safety, Immigration Law

Expertise

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.

Specialties:

  • 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 2025 editions of The Best Lawyers in Australia for Labour and Employment Law
  • Australian Recommended Lawyer 2021 for Labour and Employment 
  • 2014 to 2024 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”
  • Recognised as a leading author in the Lexology Legal Influencers Q2 2023 for Employment - Australasia. 

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.

Experience

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.

Publications

28 May 2024 - Knowledge

QIRC decision explains long service leave entitlements in Queensland

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) has granted an employee who worked partly in and outside Queensland the right to claim long service leave under the Industrial Relations Act 2016.

07 May 2024 - Knowledge

I spy: Can employers monitor their employee’s use of company property?

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #Data & Privacy

This Privacy Awareness Week, we take a look at a recent decision which considers an employer’s right to monitor an employee’s use of company property and an employer’s obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

30 April 2024 - Knowledge

FWC finds early notice of end to fixed term contract amounts to dismissal

#Workplace Relations & Safety

In a recent decision the Fair Work Commission found that providing early notice of non-renewal for a fixed term contract constitutes dismissal.

02 April 2024 - Knowledge

Be direct: Resolution to remove a director from all offices did not terminate employment

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A timely reminder to employers dismissing an employee who also holds an office within the company, that a resolution to remove the employee from holding the office is ineffective in ending the employment relationship.

25 February 2024 - Knowledge

What employers can’t afford to ignore in 2024

#Workplace Relations & Safety

2023 ushered in many changes to the workplace, including significant statutory reform. With more on the way in 2024, employers and their HR teams face a busy year ahead. We’ve identified six issues employers should not ignore in 2024.

12 December 2023 - Knowledge

Weeding out workplace hazards: Is medicinal cannabis safe in your workplace?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

There is an increase in employees disclosing personal use of medicinal cannabis to treat medical conditions. Can your business safely manage it in the workplace?

04 December 2023 - Knowledge

Get your fix by December 6: Fixed term employment contract reforms commences

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The fixed term employment contract reforms will limit the duration of fixed term employment contracts with several exceptions. We discuss the reforms and how employers can prepare.

25 October 2023 - Knowledge

Taking the ‘silly’ out of ‘silly season’: Managing employee conduct at end of year functions

#Workplace Relations & Safety

With the festive season fast approaching, we highlight the workplace risks that end of year events can present and provide employers with strategies to manage employee conduct.

01 August 2023 - Knowledge

Can my employee make an unfair dismissal application? A cautionary tale on income, awards and agreements

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The case Evans V TESG is a timely reminder for employers to consider five key questions when assessing whether a high income employee is eligible to make an unfair dismissal application.

31 May 2023 - Knowledge

Leave a message at the tone: Employee’s right to disconnect

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A proposed amendment to the Fair Work Act could prevent employers from contacting employees outside of their working hours, except for limited circumstances.

24 May 2023 - Knowledge

Starting strong: Establishing jurisdiction in work health and safety prosecutions (Part 2)

#Workplace Relations & Safety

We conclude our series by discussing the implications arising from the Carborough Downs Coal litigation and the importance of jurisdictional clarity in work health and safety prosecutions.

24 May 2023 - Knowledge

Fair Work Commission releases Statement of Principles on Genuine Agreement Instrument

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Statement of Principles will assist the Fair Work Commission in determining whether employees have genuinely agreed to a proposed enterprise bargaining agreement.

17 May 2023 - Knowledge

Starting strong: Establishing jurisdiction in work health and safety prosecutions (Part 1)

#Workplace Relations & Safety

In the first instalment of this two-part series, we consider the importance of jurisdictional matters in work health and safety prosecutions by examining the Carborough Downs Coal case.

18 April 2023 - Knowledge

Elevating the duty to ensure psychosocial safety: Consequences for non-compliance (Part 3)

#Workplace Relations & Safety

In this final instalment, we consider some of the potential consequences for businesses that fail to comply with the relevant code of practice for managing psychosocial hazards at work.

12 April 2023 - Knowledge

Elevating the duty to ensure psychosocial safety: Key considerations for identifying, assessing and controlling risks (Part 2)

In the second part of this series, we look at some practical considerations for identifying, assessing and controlling psychosocial hazards and risks in the workplace.

06 April 2023 - Knowledge

Important developments regarding public holidays: Can employees be required to work?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A recent court decision reminds employers to ensure they request, and not simply require, employees to work on a public holiday.

04 April 2023 - Knowledge

Elevating the duty to ensure psychosocial safety: New law and key compliance considerations (Part 1)

#Workplace Relations & Safety

In this three part series, we take a closer look at the codes of practice for psychosocial health and what businesses need to consider, practically, when intergrating changes into their workplace.

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.