Employment Relations and Safety
The reality is that employment relations and safety issues are rarely straightforward. We get to know our clients’ business and understand their industry so that our advice is tailored, commercial, and practical.
Maintaining a stable, productive and safe workforce can mean the difference between success and failure in business or for government. Commercial objectives, performance and reputation depend on the successful management of employment relations and work health and safety issues.
Our team advises and represents both private and public sector clients across all topics and issues of the employment relationship under federal and state employment relations and health and safety legislation. We provide practical, timely, and cost-effective support, advice and representation.
We assist clients with all aspects of the employment life cycle including employment contract and policy drafting, workplace compliance, investigations, restructuring and workplace change management, employment and industrial relations litigation, work health and safety advice, compliance and prosecution assistance, enterprise bargaining, dispute management, restraint of trade and enforcement of post employment obligations, and discrimination advice and representation.
Our team is one of the leading public sector employment relations advisory teams in the country and is regularly called upon by public sector departments and agencies to handle sensitive and urgent industrial relations and work health and safety matters. We also advise governments on policy development and legislative reform initiatives.
Our clients include multi-national corporates and domestic enterprises. We provide corporate support and strategic advice in share and business sale transactions, as well as having an extensive international practice assisting overseas based entities ensure compliance when establishing a presence in Australia.
Advising on a range of employment and industrial relations matters, including interpretations of its recent enterprise agreement outcomes and assistance responding to arguments relating to consultation obligations in those agreements.
Successfully responded to wildcat industrial action taken by our client’s drivers in NSW. The action resulted in failure to deliver product to its customers.
Within 3 hours of the action commencing, we had s418 proceedings lodged in the Fair Work Commission for orders to stop the industrial action. Section 418 orders stopping the industrial action were granted the following morning. Cement Australia also obtained damages from the TWU in the Federal Circuit Court for the action taken.
Successfully defended unfair dismissal proceedings under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) following the dismissal of a 75 year old employee with 33 years’ service for a safety breach; obtained a costs order against the Applicant under section 400A of the Fair Work Act and defeated the application for permission to appeal; and subsequently defeated section 39B of the Judiciary Act proceedings in which the Applicant sought to quash the decision of the FWC.
Queensland Ambulance Service and Queensland Fire and Emergency Service
Successfully represented both the Queensland Ambulance Service and Queensland Fire and Emergency Service in arbitrations of enterprise bargaining negotiations in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
Acted in proceedings brought in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) by a train driver, whose employment was terminated after he was convicted of driving a car with a high range Prescribed Content of Alcohol (PCA), on a day when he was not rostered to work. The decision was upheld on appeal and is now a leading authority on out of hours conduct.
We represented a Sunshine Coast based manufacturing company to defend an industrial manslaughter charge under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld). The charge alleged the company was negligent and caused the death of an employee, carrying a maximum penalty of $10,000,000. Our submissions to the regulator resulted in the company pleading guilty to a Category 2 offence, a fine of $250,000, with no conviction recorded.
Brisbane City Council
Advised Council regarding bargaining and the arbitration of its certified agreement.
Conducted a review of Council’s absenteeism management, which involved stakeholder interviews and an audit of industrial instruments, policies and internal practices relevant to personal leave, ill and injured employees and legislative entitlements.
Senex Energy Limited
Drafted and implemented Safety Management Plans for a major project in development for increased gas production for the east coast gas market.
Secured one of the first costs orders made by the Fair Work Commission in connection with the successful dismissal of an application for a Stop-Bullying Order.
Large Manufacturing Company
Provided advice and litigation assistance regarding the dismissal of employees involved in the theft of almost $500,000.
Australian Rail Track Corporation
Advising on all aspects of health and safety and rail safety related matters under Rail Safety National Law and WHS Law across the entire $10 billion dollar Inland Rail Project.
Successfully represented Thiess in an appeal in the Fair Work Commission which overturned a decision refusing to approve an enterprise agreement for a new mining operation.
Gold Coast City Council
Acted in a coronial inquiry regarding a fatality which included assisting with preparing witness evidence.
Advised CPB on its industrial relations strategy and framework for the Cross River Rail Project. This included advising CPB in relation to its union and workforce engagement strategy and on the drafting of the enterprise agreements applicable to the project. It also involved planning for potential challenges to approval of the agreements by FWC.
Successfully advised and represented Queensland Health in all aspects of the award modernisation process.
Council of the NSW Bar Association
Successful disciplinary proceedings against a practitioner resulting in a finding of unsatisfactory professional conduct in connection with conduct amounting to sexual harassment.
Listed in Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific for Employment Law in Australia
Listed in Legal 500 Asia-Pacific for Labour and Employment Law in Australia
Listed in Legal 500 Asia-Pacific for Labour and Employment – Workplace Health and Safety Law in Australia
Listed in Doyle’s Guide for Leading Workplace Health and Safety Law Firms in Queensland and New South Wales, and Leading Employment Law Firms (Employer Representation) in Queensland and Australia