AventEdge: HR Law Masterclass – Australia

Date: Friday, 11 March 2016
Time: 9.00am – 16.50pm
Venue: Avon Room, Adina Apartment Hotel Perth, 33 Mounts Bay Road, Perth 6000

The rapidly changing Industrial Relations and Employment Law landscape has emphasized the need for companies to stay up-to-date with the latest regulatory directions. Furthermore, the new Turnbull government has also brought about uncertainties in potentially new IR directions which employers need to prepare for. Thus it is crucial for HR professionals to respond in the most effective manner to minimise risks of liabilities.In theory it may seem easy to respond to these legal changes, but in reality there are many key practical considerations around these specific HR issues.

For instance, the increased number of employment law cases is an ideal example of why HR professionals need to have a clear understanding of the latest compliance requirements affecting the workplace. Australia’s largest and leading 10th HR Law Masterclass will equip organisations with the practical legal knowledge required to mitigate the risk of workplace claims and disputes.

Participants will gain expertise on recent legislation, the imminent changes, and strategies to prevent and manage common employment law pitfalls. Examples of robust frameworks that can be immediately implemented to ensure well-managed employee relations will also be illustrated.


8:30 Registration and Welcome Coffee

9:00 Chairperson’s Opening Address
Tim Lethbridge, Partner, Kott Gunning Lawyers


9:10 Preparing for 2016 – what should employers look out for?

 New directions under the Turnbull leadership

  • Key challenges for Industrial Relations in 2016 and how employers can overcome
  • Unwinding unproductive enterprise agreements – what it means for employers
    • Aurizon Operations Ltd; Aurizon Network Pty Ltd; Australian Eastern Railroad Pty Ltd

Libby Mussared, Senior Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills


9:50 Workplace bullying: A critical view

  • Determining what constitutes bullying – the case of Hammon v Metricon Homes Pty Ltd and others; The State of Tasmania (Department of Police & Emergency Management) v H
  • Analysis on FWC’s jurisdiction to regulate inner workplace workings & how it affects businesses and managers (CF v Company A)
  • Lessons learnt from recent cases
    • Risks of bullying & mitigation strategies: How companies can take a proactive approach
    • Implementing appropriate response procedures when a bullying claim is filed 

Nerissa Rowe, Senior Associate, K&L Gates  

10:30 Morning Tea  

10:50 Addressing Work Health Safety issues in the workplace

  • Overview of employer rights and responsibilities in accordance with workplace legislation
  • Understanding the need to avoid escalation and maximise productivity (BHP Coal Pty Ltd v Simon Blackwood)
  • Practical steps to avoid liabilities associated with managing illness & injury, e.g. terminations, redundancies (Grant v State of Victoria (The Office of Public Prosecutions)
  • Dealing with tricky scenarios & learning to manage employees with mental health issues – Penglase v Allied Express Transport Pty Ltd

Steve Bowler, Senior Associate, Clayton Utz


11:30 Navigating the slippery slope of unfair dismissals

  • Understanding the effects of the increase in high income threshold
  • Assessing recent cases & scenarios which may translate to unfair dismissal claims, e.g. performance management, restructuring, adverse action
  • Ensuring that terminations, redundancies & restructuring are in compliance with disciplinary and termination procedures
  • Practical strategies for avoiding and managing unfair dismissal claims

Elizabeth Moran, Senior Associate, DLA Piper  

12:10 Networking Lunch

13:10 Safeguarding confidential and proprietary information

  • Fundamental contractual provisions to protect proprietary interests: restraint of trade, confidential information, IP and powers of attorney
  • Minimising the potential disclosure and loss of information: Challenges, risks and best practices
  • Is misuse of confidential information grounds for dismissal?

Tom Martin, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright


13:50 Formulating & implementing drug & alcohol policies in the workplace

  • Key elements in drafting and implementing a workplace drug & alcohol policy aligned with work, health & safety procedures
  • Recognizing the need for employers to take adequate precautions to control service of alcohol at work functions
  • Addressing the blurred lines between employees’ professional & personal life & establishing a balance between privacy and safety.
  • Useful takeaways from Keenan v Leighton Boral Amey NSW Pty Ltd: disciplinary issues & justification for dismissal

Alec Weston, Associate, Lavan legal

4:30 Afternoon Break  

14:50 Shedding light on employment & contractual obligations to avoid liabilities

  • Fundamental steps to take when drafting contracts, e.g. type of language to use to avoid ambiguity
  • Ideal practices when incorporating policies & other instruments into contracts to minimise uncertainty and potential damages claims
  • Understanding instances when corporate policies are contractually binding & ensuring that interests are protected – Romero v Farstad Shipping (Indian Pacific) Pty Ltd
  • Deciphering implied terms & mutual obligations to avoid breaches & possible litigation – Barker v Commonwealth Bank

Briony Pole, Senior Associate, Allion Legal

15:30 Best practice strategies and procedures for conducting fair workplace investigations

  • Recognising situations in which investigations are required & ensuring that they are conducted effectively in a fair manner
  • Identifying and complying with legal procedures governing the process of gathering evidence (including sensitive and confidential information)
  • Dealing with and overcoming tricky situations e.g. request for support persons, recordings etc.
  • Common mistakes and how to avoid them

Sarah Harrison, Partner, HWL Ebsworth

16:10 Q&A Roundtables – Your Chance to Ask Any Workplace Law Question (2 Roundtable Leaders)

This dedicated Q&A session provides an intimate setting for you to consult our workplace law experts in a small-group roundtable format. Get trusted expert advice and specific feedback on a range of issues.

Mark Cox, Director, MDC Legal, Nikita Barsby, Senior Associate, MDC Legal  

16:50 Chairperson’s Closing Address and End of Conference

For more information and to register please click here