Workplace Relations

In the frequently complex and ever changing world of employment law and industrial relations, our Workplace Relations team provides advice and representation that is client focused, accurate and commercially practical.


Our Workplace Relations team engages its clients with the understanding that employment law and industrial relations do not occur in a vacuum. We aim to get close to our clients and work with them to maximise workplace outcomes, for both employer and employee.

Our clients include large publicly listed companies, not-for-profit organisations, small and medium sized businesses and individuals. Our expertise and experience covers a wide range of industries including - manufacturing, construction, aged-health care, on hire services, financial services, retail and the property sector.

Within the increasingly complex framework of existing rights and obligations we are able to: 

  • Develop and implement workplace policies and procedures covering drugs and alcohol, OHS, equal employment opportunities and privacy obligations, anti-discrimination/harassment
  • Draft senior executive and other contracts of employment compliant with legal minimum standards and reflective of best practice
  • Provide advice about varying remuneration arrangements and the management of performance
  • Identify employment issues that will arise out of commercial transactions and provide advice (issues include redundancy and the transmission of business).

Whether it is unfair dismissal, unlawful termination or wrongful dismissal, termination of employment is one of the most difficult issues in the workplace. Aside from the impact of the decision, a challenge to the fairness or legality of an employer’s conduct involves considerable management time and expense to resolve the dispute. We assist clients to: 

  • Review and where necessary amend current practices and procedures to maximise the prospect of achieving a committed and productive workforce and minimise the risk of challenge to any termination being successful
  • Negotiate and document the settlements of employee/executive termination disputes
  • Represent clients in handling unlawful/wrongful/unfair dismissal cases
  • Represent clients in defending adverse action claims.

The onus on businesses to provide a healthy and safe workplace is an increasingly important area of attention within workplace relations law. Taking a proactive approach to understanding and meeting a company’s statutory obligations in the workplace can avert the potential for civil and criminal penalties to be imposed on employers and their company officers.

Our workplace relations team can assist and advise on a range of aspects of Workplace Health and Safety, including: 

  • Advising on Workplace Health & Safety obligations and how they apply to particular types of operations
  • Drafting and implementing appropriate workplace standards and procedures
  • Assisting clients in dealing with investigations of possible safety breaches
  • Defending prosecutions.

When industrial disputes arise we provide advice and assist clients to manage and resolve industrial claims, strike, bans and limitations. 

In particular, the recent Fair Work Act amendments have created complexities that may affect operations, both at a State and Federal level. To advise and assist clients to manage these complexities we: 

  • Negotiate and draft appropriate and compliant workplace agreements and arrangements and/or variations/extensions of existing arrangements
  • Identify the options available when entering a bargaining period
  • Review and identify any possible challenges to the validity of any secret ballot application that seeks to authorise industrial action
  • Represent clients to obtain orders requiring unprotected industrial action to cease.

The members of our team have vast experience in advising and representing employers, including all major workers compensation insurers in NSW, in all aspects of workers compensation. 

We are conscious of the very high cost of workers compensation claims to employers as well as the overlapping issues with other employment related issues such as work health and safety, termination of employment and anti-discrimination laws. 

The range of our services includes: 

  • Claims management, assistance and advice on liability across all areas including injury, substantial contributing factor, disease, psychological injury, journey, recess, death, apportionment, incapacity, medical expenses, lump sums, uninsured liability, work injury damages, dispute grounds/notification and injury management
  • WIC rating and premium disputes
  • Incident management including catastrophic and fatal injuries
  • Licensing advice
  • Representation in the Workers’ Compensation Commission – teleconferences, conciliation/arbitration hearings and appeals, work injury damages mediation and hearings in the District and Supreme Courts and appeals to the Court of Appeal
  • Recovery actions pursuant to Section 151Z
  • Judicial reviews to the Supreme Court
  • Protection of injured worker disputes – Part 8.

Holman Webb's Employment Practices Liability (EPL) practice combines the high-level experience of both our General Insurance Team, who manage any indemnity issues which may arise, and our Workplace Relations Team, who manage all litigation and support for our clients.

Holman Webb acts for a number of insurers in relation to EPL Claims by their Insured's current and former employees and contractors.

This includes:

  • Unfair dismissal claims
  • Unlawful termination claims
  • Bullying disputes
  • General protection claims
  • Anti-discrimination and harassment claims
  • Independent contractor disputes (including assertions of employment)

The majority of such claims are within a no-costs jurisdiction.  Accordingly, our team is expert at handling such matters in a prompt and cost efficient manner, all of which is based upon our significant expertise and knowledge, which allows us to assess liability expeditiously.

We offer a fixed fee arrangement for matters up to and including conciliation before the Fair Work Commission, which enables insurers to manage such matters effectively and efficiently; particularly given the cost limitations.

Our expert team also has significant experience in dealing with Regulators in relation to alleged statutory breaches, and any related investigations.


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