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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 2022 editions of “Best Lawyers” in Australia for Labour and Employment Law
  • Australian Recommended Lawyer 2021 for Labour and Employment 
  • 2014-2021 editions of Doyles Guide as a Recommended and Leading lawyer in Employment (Employer Representation) 
  • 2020-2021 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.


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?

01 December 2020 - Knowledge

Understanding the public service disciplinary framework

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #Government

We discuss the strict disciplinary and performance management procedures that public service employers must follow as a result of recent amendments to Queensland’s public service law.

16 November 2020 - Knowledge

‘Elimination’ of casual employee found to be harsh, unjust and unreasonable

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Casual employee dismissed at the initiative of the employer without a valid reason found to be harsh, unjust and unreasonable.

22 September 2020 - Knowledge

Are employers liable for employees’ psychiatric injuries sustained as a result of proper performance management?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

We look at a case where an employer did not owe their employee a duty of care to prevent psychiatric injury because they took reasonable steps to manage her performance.

15 September 2020 - Knowledge

Queensland criminalises wage theft

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Queensland employers who deliberately underpay workers could be jailed for up to 10 years or face unlimited fines under new Queensland laws, which passed with bi-partisan support.

09 September 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government, #Workplace Relations & Safety

We deep dive into Queensland’s Human Rights Act and look at how local councils can incorporate the legislation into their existing policies and procedures.

08 September 2020 - Knowledge

Lesson for employers: Restraints, injunctions and gardening leave

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Supreme Court of Queensland has refused to grant an injunction to an employer attempting to restrain its executive from a competitor, days before the end of his gardening leave.

07 July 2020 - Knowledge

Slippery business: A slip during a work trip not compensable, says Federal Court

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A ruling from the Federal Court confirms an employee’s night out socialising during a work trip broke the connection with her employment, rendering her ineligible for workers’ compensation for an injury at 2:30am.

22 April 2020 - Knowledge

Employees beware – former employee’s social media posts prevent own claim succeeding

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A recent decision by the Fair Work Commission has highlighted one of social media’s many pitfalls by allowing an employer to rely on a former employee’s posts to defeat a general protections application.

21 April 2020 - Knowledge

Employer protected from security officer’s accidental resignation when attempting conversion to casual employment

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Casino Canberra successfully escaped an unfair dismissal claim of a permanent security officer who unintentionally resigned when seeking to become a casual employee

25 March 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

As the threat of COVID-19 continues to escalate, local governments across Australia have taken swift action to combat the virus, including recent legislative changes to elections and planning laws. In this article we examine some of those measures and other implications for Councils.

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