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Charles Power

LLB, BEc (Hons)

Partner - Melbourne

Areas of Expertise

Workplace Relations & Safety

Expertise

Charles draws on over 20 years of skills, expertise and experience in workplace relations and safety law. In addition to legal practice, Charles has served as an associate to a senior deputy president of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. In 1995 and 1996 Charles served as a Canberra-based adviser to a federal government minister.

Charles was accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria in 2006 as a workplace relations specialist. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Employment Law Practical Handbook, with over 4,000 subscribers nationally.

Charles has been recognised as a 5-Star Employment Lawyer by HRD Australia. He has also been recognised by The Best Lawyers in Australia as a leading practitioner in Labour and Employment Law and Employee Benefits Law since 2013. In 2021 Best Lawyers awarded Charles Lawyer of the Year in the Employee Benefits field. Charles is also recognised in the 2022 edition of Doyle’s Guide as a leading lawyer in Employment (Employer Representation) for Victoria.

Charles gives legal advice and representation to organisations and individuals in all areas of the discipline, including: 

  • minimising legal risks associated with recruitment, including advice and drafting documents to address legal exposure to trade practices, discrimination and privacy laws, in advertising for, and interviewing and selecting candidates 
  • negotiating, drafting, implementing and enforcing employment contracts, human resources policies and procedures and enterprise agreements 
  • protecting intellectual property, confidential information and goodwill through drafting and implementing appropriate contractual provisions, and enforcing them where necessary 
  • managing and regulating employee behaviours in a legally effective manner through development and implementation of appropriate human resources policies, procedures and guidelines; disciplinary and performance management actions 
  • minimising legal exposure in workplace change, including compliance with consultation and dispute resolution requirements, redundancy, retrenchment and redeployment, and transfer of business and outsourcing/insourcing 
  • dealing with requirements of law and best practice in managing the interaction between work on the one hand and family and disability on the other 
  • wrongful and unfair dismissal, general protections, sexual harassment and discrimination complaints 
  • compliance with industrial and workplace health and safety laws and represents them in investigations and prosecutions undertaken by the regulators 
  • enterprise bargaining, good faith requirements, capacity for tribunal intervention, protected (and unprotected) industrial action, making and implementing agreements.

Experience

Charles and his team provide all the legal services required by Scentre Group in the area of workplace relations and safety. This includes representation of the company in OHS matters and negotiation of enterprise agreements.

In addition, Charles and his team deliver all the employment law services for many notable Australian organisations including Citywide, carsales, Ansell, PZ Cussons, Clemenger and Legg Mason.

Charles also represents a range of employers in the industry superannuation sector including ISPT, LUCRF, Industry Fund Services and Cbus Property.

Membership

Member of Australian Human Resources Institute

Appointments

Advisory Board - Centre for Employment & Labour Relations Law, University of Melbourne
Chair, Workplace Relations Specialisation Committee, Law Institute of Victoria
Board member, Dental Health Services Victoria
Former Board member, Early Learning Association Australia 

Publications

20 September 2022 - Knowledge

Dealing with protected employee complaints: General protections update

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Recent rulings of the Federal Court and Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia have clarified the scope of employee complaints protection under the Fair Work Act and provided more certainty as to how claims in this area will be determined.

06 September 2022 - Knowledge

Employees may still be covered by a modern award despite earning above the high income threshold

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A recent Federal Court ruling is a timely reminder that employees who earn more than the high income threshold (currently $162,000) may still be covered by a modern award. Employers need to ensure they have a valid ‘guarantee of annual earnings’ in effect, before the relevant award will not apply to the employee.

31 August 2022 - Knowledge

‘Not an employee’: Deliveroo overturns FWC ruling that a rider was an employee

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A Deliveroo delivery rider has lost his fight to bring an unfair dismissal claim following a ruling by the Fair Work Commission that he was not an employee.

31 August 2022 - Knowledge

Over-award payments – when will they discharge overtime liability?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A recent Federal Court ruling is a reminder over-award pay rates cannot be relied upon to satisfy other award payment obligations, unless certain requirements are met. Employers need to ensure appropriate set-off provisions are included in employment agreements.

15 June 2022 - Knowledge

Significant increase to national minimum wage

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Fair Work Commission handed down its decision in the Annual Wage Review on 15 June, increasing the national minimum wage by 5.2 per cent and modern award minimum wage by 4.6 per cent, subject to a minimum increase for adult award classifications of $40 per week.

01 June 2022 - Knowledge

Workplace relations and safety laws under the new federal government

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #Government

With the Australian Labor Party forming a majority government, employers and employees can expect to see a raft of labour law reforms at the federal level. This article explores some of the most significant proposed changes, including proposals to amend the Fair Work Act to provide greater protections for labour hire, fixed term and casual employees.

09 February 2022 - Knowledge

The primacy of the contract: High Court revises approach to determining independent contracting

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Two landmark decisions handed down today have revised the approach to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee. The Court has upheld the primacy of the terms of the written agreement as the key factor in establishing the legal character of the relationship.

08 December 2021 - Knowledge

FWC ensures employers meet their consultation requirements when implementing mandatory vaccination policies

#Workplace Relations & Safety

In a significant decision regarding workplace mandatory vaccination policies, the Fair Work Commission has found that a mining employer had not met its consultation obligations when introducing a mandatory vaccination policy.

17 November 2021 - Knowledge

How should employers respond to employees who refuse to wear a mask?

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

A recent Fair Work Commission decision confirms that mandatory mask requirements are lawful and reasonable in the context of COVID-19.

01 October 2021 - Knowledge

Respect@Work: The Government's response

#Government, #Workplace Relations & Safety

We examine key implications for public sector employers seeking to design effective policies addressing sexual harassment and sex-based discrimination.

08 September 2021 - Knowledge

COVID-19 employer vaccination incentives – a cash grab for the jab?

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

The Therapeutic Goods Administration now permits employers to incentivise and advertise the COVID-19 vaccine. We set out what employers can and cannot do, and the applicable rules and legal risks regarding vaccination incentives.

07 July 2021 - Knowledge

Countdown to casual conversion

#Workplace Relations & Safety

We outline the new casual conversion requirements and the essential steps employers must take before 27 September 2021.

22 June 2021 - Knowledge

Does an employee have the right to silence?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Fair Work Commission has confirmed that an employee’s dishonesty to questions about their out of hours conduct is not a valid reason for dismissal if the conduct is not sufficiently connected to their employment.

17 June 2021 - Knowledge

Importance of appropriate employee behaviour

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #Government

With the recent scandals emerging from Parliament, the importance of appropriate employee behaviour policies and training is emphasised. In this article, we discuss sexual harassment, the associated risks for employers and the benefits of effective training in this area.

07 May 2021 - Knowledge

Take the jab or lose the job: Can employers enforce mandatory vaccines?

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

A recent decision by the Fair Work Commission demonstrates that mandatory vaccines may be lawful and reasonable in some workplaces, but not all.

01 April 2021 - Knowledge

Greater certainty for employers of casuals

#Workplace Relations & Safety

We look at how recent Federal Court decisions have created uncertainty around casual employment, and how the new Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia's Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act aims to address these issues.

25 March 2021 - Knowledge

The importance of respectful workplace behaviour

#Workplace Relations & Safety

With the recent scandals emerging from Parliament, the importance of appropriate employee behaviour policies and training is emphasised. In this article, we discuss sexual harassment, the associated risks for employers and the benefits of effective training in this area.

04 March 2021 - Knowledge

The impact of ‘Your Future, Your Super’ on employer compliance with Choice of Fund

#Superannuation, Funds Management & Financial Services, #Workplace Relations & Safety

On 17 February, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Your Future, Your Super) Bill 2021 was introduced into Parliament. As expected, it is currently subject to review by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, with a report due in late April.

Upcoming Seminars