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Ben McKinley


Ben is a Partner in our Workplace Relations and Safety team, with many years of experience developing extensive knowledge and expertise in all aspects of employment law.

Ben provides advice and representation to a range of clients from ASX-listed companies to small business owners across numerous industries including hospitality, retail, manufacturing, professional services, health, government and sport.

Ben’s approach is to work closely with his clients to build trust and gain an in-depth understanding of their businesses, enabling him to provide practical and tailored solutions that align with clients’ objectives and motivations. He acts for many high profile organisations where reputation management is a key consideration, and has assisted clients to reduce or avoid any adverse publicity, even in the face of significant public interest.

In addition to the fundamental elements of workplace and industrial relations law, such as employee management, discipline and dismissal, discrimination, award and enterprise agreement interpretation, and disputes and post- employment obligations, Ben has significant expertise in:

  • conducting complex workplace investigations into allegations of bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination and other misconduct
  • providing strategic advice in respect of investigations and potential prosecutions by government regulators, including Fair Work Ombudsman investigations in relation to underpayment allegations for high profile employers in the hospitality industry
  • drafting, advising on and enforcing post- employment restraints and obligations.


Ben specialises in providing advice and strategic recommendations to assist clients to prevent or minimise their exposure to legal risk in respect of all employment-related matters.

This includes advice in respect of:

  • employee discipline and dismissal in a multitude of circumstances, including those requiring a fact-finding investigation to provide advice on exposure and risk management
  • managing regulator investigations and means of avoiding prosecution or enforcement action as a consequence of findings of contravention of workplace laws (which Ben has successfully done for many high profile employers who had adverse findings against them)
  • disputes about interpretation of employment agreements (including post-employment restraints and confidential information), employer policies, awards and enterprise agreements.

Ben’s litigation experience includes:

  • acting for a large franchisor in the Supreme Court of Victoria and Federal Court of Australia against a former employee and his new employer for copying, using and disclosing the client’s confidential information, namely their extensive client database
  • defending a claim for vicarious liability for alleged sexual harassment and discrimination in the Federal Court of Australia
  • representing a large financial services organisation in a complex general protections application in the Federal Circuit Court
  • acting for a stockbroking and wealth management firm in a claim by a former employee alleging underpayment and various breaches of the award and Fair Work Act
  • defending an unfair dismissal application in the Fair Work Commission by an employee with over 20 years’ service who was dismissed for misconduct
  • representing a manufacturing client in a dispute in relation to its enterprise agreement, which had potentially significant implications for the client had it been unsuccessful
  • acting for 13 of the 34 Essendon footballers in their compensation claims against the Essendon Football Club as a consequence of their suspension by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


31 May 2023 - Knowledge

How employers can prevent costly workplace injuries

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Ensuring a safe and secure work environment is a crucial responsibility for businesses. What can employers do to protect their employees from physical and psychosocial hazards?

29 March 2023 - Knowledge

Disciplinary action and dismissal: Taking the right approach to managing underperformance

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Effective disciplinary action can improve workplace culture and staff performance, but can lead to legal claims and costly court hearings if poorly executed. This article covers four important considerations for employers when undertaking staff disciplinary action and dismissal.

22 November 2022 - Knowledge

Received a serious staff complaint? Time to conduct a workplace investigation

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A well-conducted workplace investigation is critical to reducing your legal exposure. We identify best practices for employers when undertaking an investigation.

14 September 2022 - Knowledge

Is workplace bullying and sexual harassment putting your business at risk?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

We help employers, both within and outside the hospitality sector, understand their legal obligations for workplace bullying and sexual harassment, and steps they can take to reduce these risks.

Upcoming Seminars