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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. Since 2021, he has also been 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

20 July 2022 - Knowledge

Employer’s ‘inadvertent error’ invalidates enterprise agreement

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Fair Work Commission has dismissed an employer’s application to approve its enterprise agreement, even though it was voted up by its employees, because it failed to comply with the strict pre-approval requirements under the Fair Work Act.

13 July 2022 - Knowledge

Significant damages awarded to a bullied worker under Fair Work Act

#Workplace Relations & Safety

An employee who filed a claim for debilitating psychological injury at work was awarded substantial compensation under the Fair Work Act, even though she had received payment under the Workers Compensation Act.

28 June 2022 - Knowledge

Limits to relying on a specialist contractor

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A case has demonstrated that if you rely on a specialist contractor to carry out works on your behalf, you still have a responsibility to stop any unsafe work.

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.

09 June 2022 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin

#Government, #Workplace Relations & Safety

Under an updated wage policy announced by the NSW Government, the wages of public sector workers in NSW will be capped at a 3 per cent increase in the next two financial years. In this edition, we take a close look at the increase and how unions are reacting to the news.

08 June 2022 - Knowledge

Sexual harassment under the microscope – importance of reform

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A recent NSW discrimination case has highlighted the importance of reform in the area of sex discrimination and sends a message to employers about the impact of proposed amendments to federal sex discrimination laws.

01 June 2022 - Knowledge

Failure to take safety precautions leaves a business uncovered

#Workplace Relations & Safety

A Supreme Court decision demonstrates that a business can be directly liable to pay damages for negligently failing to take reasonable safety precautions to prevent a workplace incident, even if they have a public liability insurance policy in place.

04 April 2022 - Knowledge

Crane contractor sentenced in workplace fatality

#Workplace Relations & Safety

In the final chapter of the long-running prosecutions arising out of a tragic accident at the University of Canberra Hospital site in 2016, a crane contractor has been fined $300,000 in the ACT Industrial Court.

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.

07 December 2021 - Knowledge

Fair Work Commission’s power to stop sexual harassment commences

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The new Respect@Work legislation gives workers who are sexually harassed at work the right to seek orders from the Fair Work Commission to stop the harassment.

01 December 2021 - Knowledge

Can you challenge an improvement notice?

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

A construction company has successfully appealed against an improvement notice issued by SafeWork NSW because the safety inspector was found not to have a ‘reasonable belief’ that the company’s safety breach would continue.

08 November 2021 - Knowledge

How to safely manage COVID-19 in the workplace

#Workplace Relations & Safety, #COVID-19

As Australia’s vaccination rates increase, businesses must now consider the interaction of unvaccinated individuals in the workplace and what they can do to maintain a safe working environment for all.

01 September 2021 - Knowledge

Can you mandate vaccinations in your workplace?

#Workplace Relations & Safety

In this article, we explore the legal basis for a mandatory vaccination policy and the key legal considerations for employers.

24 August 2021 - Knowledge

When a duck is not a duck: Differentiating contractors from employees

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Following a recent narrow judgment on the meaning of casual employment, the High Court will soon determine two key cases regarding the rules distinguishing contractors from employees.

04 August 2021 - Knowledge

High Court hands down landmark decision on casual employment

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The High Court has handed down its decision in WorkPac v Rossato. The landmark decision overturns the Full Federal Court and confirms that casual employment is to be determined by the terms of the agreement rather than the employment relationship.

04 August 2021 - Knowledge

Employee wrongfully dismissed after exercising a work health and safety right

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Federal Circuit Court has penalised an employer and its director for dismissing an employee who exercised a workplace right to refuse unsafe work.

30 June 2021 - Knowledge

Commonwealth wins appeal against convictions in Captain David Wood saga

#Workplace Relations & Safety

The Supreme Court of the ACT has recently upheld an appeal by the Commonwealth against its conviction in the long-running prosecution relating to the death of helicopter pilot David Wood in 2016.

18 June 2021 - Knowledge

National minimum wage set to increase

#Workplace Relations & Safety

On 16 June 2021, the Fair Work Commission handed down its decision in the Annual Wage Review 2020-21. The decision increases the National Minimum Wage and modern award minimum wages by 2.5% with staggered operative dates from 1 July 2021.

Upcoming Seminars