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Expertise

Michael is a partner in our Sydney office and practices in all areas of workplace relations with a special focus on work health and safety. Michael acts for a diverse range of clients in construction and manufacturing, agribusiness, media, education, professional services, transport and government.

Michael’s expertise includes:

  • appearing in industrial disputes, litigated claims and coronial hearings
  • work health and safety including structuring WHS management systems, agreements, policies and procedures
  • conducting internal workplace investigations and dealing with investigations by regulatory agencies including WorkCover, Department of Immigration, Fair Work Ombudsman and ABCC
  • management of injured workers including workers compensation, personal injury and return to work issues
  • preparing all forms of employment contracts, including executive contracts, protection of confidential information and restraints of trade
  • the development of collective agreements and interpretation of the Fair Work Act 2009 and industrial instruments
  • managing employment issues in a transfer of business and company restructuring including advice in relation to outsourcing, organisational change and redundancy.

Michael is also listed in the Best Lawyers in Australia 2020 edition for the area of Occupational Health and Safety Law.

Experience

Michael has extensive litigation experience in employment disputes and defending work health and safety prosecutions. Before joining Holding Redlich, Michael’s practice included acting on behalf of WorkCover NSW in prosecuting breaches of the safety legislation. Michael is a regular presenter of seminars and training on workplace issues, in particular on work health and safety.

Publications

02 April 2020 - Knowledge

Fair Work Commission seeks to vary modern awards

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

On 1 April 2020, the Fair Work Commission (Commission) announced its proposal to vary certain modern awards by inserting a new “Schedule X” containing additional measures to assist employers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

31 March 2020 - Knowledge

What do reckless conduct WHS laws have to do with COVID-19?

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic presents a multitude of challenges for businesses of all shapes and sizes, not least of which is their primary responsibility and concern to protect the health and welfare of their workforce.

31 March 2020 - Knowledge

Important changes to modern awards and legislation in response to COVID-19 pandemic

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to businesses and its employees, the Fair Work Commission recently granted a number of temporary variations to some key modern awards to preserve the ongoing viability of businesses and jobs. Plus, a look at

17 March 2020 - Knowledge

Working from home safely during a pandemic

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

As Australia commences wide-scale closures of schools and businesses, many organisations face significant challenges in introducing widespread working-from-home arrangements.

26 February 2020 - Knowledge

Western Australia poised to debate new safety laws

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Western Australian parliament is debating the proposed new Work Health & Safety Bill 2019, which is intended to make the State’s work health and safety laws more consistent with the rest of Australia.

04 February 2020 - Knowledge

Employer’s defence of genuine redundancy for terminated scaffolder falls apart

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission has highlighted the importance of ensuring the steps taken in a dismissal for redundancy meet the genuine redundancy provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), failing which the termination may be found to be unfair.

29 January 2020 - Knowledge

Does your employee have transferable skills? What you need to consider during a dismissal

#Workplace Relations & Safety

We look at a recent case that has highlighted the need for employers to consider whether an employee’s skill set is transferable when determining disciplinary action.

04 December 2019 - Knowledge

Be merry, not folly: An office Christmas party checklist for employers

#Workplace Relations & Safety

With the festive season officially underway, we provide a checklist of what employers can do now to help ensure a safe and incident-free Christmas party.

20 November 2019 - Knowledge

Penalties up and insurance outlawed - changes to NSW safety legislation underway

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The NSW Government is set to introduce new laws to the state's Work Health & Safety Act, including increased maximum fines and removal of the right to indemnity for payment of a fine.

03 September 2019 - Knowledge

Health and safety representatives have no right to tinker with worker classification, IRC rules

#Workplace Relations & Safety

In an important decision delivered last month, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission has upheld an employer’s discretion to negotiate health and safety representative work groups based on a combination of geographical regions and occupational classifications.

25 June 2019 - Knowledge

Public comment sought on proposed overhaul of harmonised workplace laws

#Workplace Relations & Safety

As reported in March this year, an independent review of the harmonised Work Health & Safety laws in Australia produced a series of recommendations to assist in delivering clarity, consistency and effective operation and enforcement of the laws. Now, Safe Work Australia is seeking public comment on those recommendations.

04 June 2019 - Knowledge

Minimum wage increase from 1 July 2019

#Workplace Relations & Safety

On 30 May 2019, the Fair Work Commission handed down its decision in the Annual Wage Review for 2018-19. The decision will increase the national minimum wage and the modern award minimum wages by 3 percent from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2019.

01 April 2019 - Knowledge

Maintaining legal professional privilege over investigation material: Lessons for employers

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Employers conducting workplace investigations should be alert to ensuring legal professional privilege is correctly established and maintained over investigation material.

12 March 2019 - Knowledge

National review of Work Health & Safety laws - where to next?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The operation of Australia’s Work Health & Safety laws have received an overall tick of approval in an independently conducted Review. However, big changes are in the pipeline to address the ‘confusion and complexity’ faced by Australian businesses in the areas such as incident notification, consultation, indemnities for fines and union right of entry. Businesses will also face increased penalties and the introduction of an industrial manslaughter offence as part of the recommendations proposed in the extensive review, which the government is due to respond to in late 2019.

26 February 2019 - Knowledge

Federal Court revisits exemption from obligation to make redundancy payment

#Workplace Relations & Safety

In a recent Federal Court decision, Spotless was found to be in breach of the Fair Work Act 2009 for failing to pay redundancy pay to three employees.

26 February 2019 - Knowledge

When the regulator charges you with a breach of the wrong duty

#Workplace Relations & Safety

We look at a case where the District Court directed SafeWork NSW to file an amended charge after the defending officer argued that the charges laid against him did not relate to his duty of care.

19 February 2019 - Knowledge

Recklessness in the workplace under the spotlight

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The regulator has been increasingly proactive in bringing ‘reckless conduct’ charges against those alleged to have exposed another person to a risk of death or serious injury in the workplace.

26 September 2018 - Knowledge

Employer pays the price of employee’s misuse of competitor’s confidential information

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A recent out of court settlement of a high profile restraint of trade case in the South Australian real estate agency industry highlights again the significant risks that businesses face if they hire an employee who has taken and misused confidential information of their former employer.