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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.

He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in Australia edition for Occupational Health and Safety Law since 2020. In 2021, he was also recognised as one of NSW’s leading workplace health and safety lawyers by Doyle’s Guide.

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 SafeWork, 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.

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 SafeWork 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

05 May 2021 - Knowledge

Roadblocks to restraint: Have you picked the right jurisdiction?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The NSW Supreme Court has upheld the exclusive jurisdiction clause in a departing executive’s employment contract, requiring the employer to seek relief overseas after they originally commenced restraint proceedings in NSW.

21 April 2021 - Knowledge

Changes to sexual harassment legislation – how can you prepare?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Federal Government has released their ‘Roadmap for Respect’ following the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. We look at what the Roadmap entails and highlight three key steps employers should take to prepare for these changes.

31 March 2021 - Knowledge

Making an enterprise agreement – what to tell employees before the vote

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Fair Work Commission recently declined to approve a number of enterprise agreement applications, finding that insufficient explanations of the agreements were provided to employees.

24 March 2021 - Knowledge

A brave new world: Preparing for the end of the JobKeeper scheme

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

With the end of JobKeeper fast approaching, there are still many considerations for affected employers, including the legal risks of restructuring a business.

17 March 2021 - Knowledge

Considering redundancies? Key legal requirements to ensure a genuine redundancy

#Workplace Relations & Safety

With JobKeeper ending in less than a fortnight, affected businesses may now consider redundancies to reduce labour costs. We set out the legal requirements of a genuine redundancy and demonstrate how each requirement comes into play in three recent cases.

03 March 2021 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin

#Government, #Workplace Relations & Safety

In this edition, we look at SafeWork NSW’s new customer service standard which provides guidance to risk managers, in-house counsel and government lawyers dealing with workplace investigations by the regulator.

03 March 2021 - Knowledge

UK Supreme Court rules Uber drivers are employees – what does this mean for Australia?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The UK Supreme Court has ruled that Uber drivers are employees, not self-employed contractors, and are entitled to employee benefits. We discuss the implications for businesses in Australia.

08 December 2020 - Knowledge

Have yourself a merry little safe Christmas

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

We outline eight steps to help employers host a safe and incident-free Christmas work function.

11 November 2020 - Knowledge

Western Australia passes new safety laws

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Work Health and Safety Bill has recently passed the Upper House and the final vote in the Lower House. The new laws are expected to commence once the supporting regulations are finalised early next year.

21 October 2020 - Knowledge

Is a safety regulator’s enforcement notice always valid? Not if the notice was issued ‘under dictation’

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A finding by the NSW Ombudsman means organisations should carefully review any safety enforcement notices, and assess whether the notices were issued without a reasonable belief that a contravention exists or under instructions by another person.

09 September 2020 - Knowledge

Sacked employee reinstated after sending racist messages to colleagues by mistake

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Does an apology make things right? The Fair Work Commission has ordered an employer to reinstate an employee who was dismissed after sending racist WhatsApp messages to a work group chat.

26 August 2020 - Knowledge

Dismissing a long-term employee for a safety breach: Key considerations for employers

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has upheld the dismissal of an employee with 30 years’ service for breaching safety rules.

18 August 2020 - Knowledge

Damages awarded for discrimination claims does not prevent a worker from seeking workers compensation for the same injury

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The NSW Court of Appeal recently held that a worker can claim both compensation for disability discrimination and workers compensation for the same injury.

28 July 2020 - Knowledge

Federal Court rules workers deemed ‘integral’ to a company are not contractors

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Full Bench of the Federal Court has upheld a claim by two truck drivers, engaged under independent contractor agreements, to receive unpaid employee entitlements after working exclusively for a company for almost 40 years.

21 July 2020 - Knowledge

Reducing full-time hours while increasing part-time hours in a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction deemed “unreasonable”

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A JobKeeper enabling stand down direction that has a disproportionate and unfair impact on one category of employee over another is deemed unfair, unreasonable, and therefore, unenforceable by the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission.

01 July 2020 - Knowledge

National minimum wage increases today

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The national minimum wage and modern award minimum wages will increase by 1.75 per cent from today with staggered operative dates across the financial year.

24 June 2020 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin

#Government

The allegations against former High Court judge Dyson Heydon for sexual harassment is a stark reminder that such behaviour can occur in any workplace. We pinpoint five key lessons for all.

16 June 2020 - Knowledge

Key changes to NSW health and safety laws

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Increased penalties and broader powers for inspectors are just some of the new WHS laws in NSW following the assent of the Work Health and Safety Amendment (Review) Bill 2020.

Upcoming Seminars