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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

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.

23 February 2021 - Knowledge

Mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

The federal government has started the national rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination. We consider some of the key issues raised about whether or not employers can or should implement mandatory workplace vaccination policies.

20 October 2020 - Knowledge

Federal Court confirms broad reach of superannuation guarantees to personal service contractors

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

A Full Federal Court decision has confirmed that employers may be required to make superannuation contributions, even if an independent contractor is not an employee under common law.

06 October 2020 - Knowledge

Flexibility measures extended in line with JobKeeper changes

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

The Fair work Commission has extended the life of award flexibility provisions designed to assist employers to deal with the impact of COVID-19 and has introduced laws to make parental leave more flexible.

29 September 2020 - Knowledge

Fair Work Commission confirms it has no power to reduce modern award derived redundancy entitlements

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses has seen the Fair Work Commission determine a number of applications to vary redundancy pay and recent decisions have confirmed its limited powers to reduce payouts.

16 September 2020 - Knowledge

Alfresco dining in Victoria: Enjoying the sun without litigation

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #Planning, Environment & Sustainability, #Local Government, #COVID-19

The new Victorian Government Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package creates new opportunities for local government and hospitality sector to revitalise the economy. In embracing this new initiative, our hosts need to think about potential legal exposure.

26 August 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

Two significant Federal Court rulings have found that so-called casuals are entitled to paid leave. We examine this and other legal developments affecting casual employment.

Upcoming Seminars