How to navigate contentious issues in workplace relations

We are delighted to announce the ACC Australia and Thomson Reuters’ Employment Law for In-House Counsel Conference to be held 11 October 2021 online.

Employment law issues have become one of the biggest facing general counsel in the workplace - even more so after the Covid-19 pandemic. The conference addresses contentious issues in employment law including:

  • COVID-19 vaccinations what are employers doing?
  • Working from home, Returning to Work and hybrid workplace – developing policies that are fair and risk proof
  • Latest changes to casual employment
  • Wage underpayments and changes to modern awards and how to minimise the risk of accessorial liability
  • There has been an increase in the demand for in-house counsel with employment law expertise – hear about the pros and cons from the panel of experts
  • The ugly side: The corporate counsel’s role in preventing and responding to workplace bullying, harassment, and discrimination and emerging issues
  • The in-house counsel’s role in making mental health an organisational

We look forward to you joining us.

For any event enquiries, please email

Dates & Locations

Online Conference:
11 October 2021

Duration: 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM AEST

Your investment

$455 + GST

Register Now

For any event enquiries email




Welcome from ACC

Ingrid Segota, Executive Director, Association of Corporate Counsel



Lori Middlehurst, APAC Employment Counsel, Salesforce


COVID-19 vaccinations what are employers doing?

Employers and employees are seeking clarity on their workplace rights and obligations as COVID-19 vaccines have become available in Australia, leading to a number of challenging employment law and privacy issues.

  • Can an employer require an employee or prospective employee to be vaccinated?
  • Evidence requirements for proof of vaccination or reasons for an employee refusing to be vaccinated
  • Can an employee refuse to attend the workplace because a co-worker isn’t vaccinated against coronavirus?

Charles Power, Partner, Holding Redlich


Working from home, Returning to Work and hybrid workplace – developing policies that are fair and risk proof

Employers are having to be agile in their workplace relations as they move from pre-COVID times when most employees were physically present at work, then sudden lockdown with stand-downs or WFH work arrangements, and now the roll out of vaccine and progressively returning to the workplace. Are your workplace policies keeping up with these changes to minimise risk for workplace disputes and claims?

  • Hybrid work arrangements
  • Mandatory return to workplace when employees may prefer WFH

Michael Michalandos, Partner, Baker & McKenzie


Networking and refreshment break


Latest changes to casual employment

The Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 introduces a definition of casual employment into the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) for the first time and confers a statutory right on long term casual employees to request conversion to permanent employment.

  • What is the new definition of ‘casual work’ and what are the implications of the changes?
  • Who is included in the definition of a 'casual employee'?
  • When can employers refuse a request or not offer conversion to eligible employees?

Michael Byrnes, Partner, Swaab


Wage underpayments and changes to modern awards, how to minimise the risk of accessorial liability

The spate of recent high-profile wage underpayments cases have shown that no industry is immune, with estimates of 1 billion in lost wages. Whether instances of underpayment are deliberate, a misinterpretation of Australia’s complex awards system, or a payroll function error, organisations need to protect themselves from wage underpayment risk.

  • What are the penalties and case law for falsification and dishonestly withholding employee entitlement?
  • What do you do if you discover an underpayment issue?
  • Annualised salaries: how to comply and how to minimise the risk of getting it wrong?
  • Accessorial liability

Mark Pulvirenti, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting
Abbey Burns, Senior Associate, Russell Kennedy


PANEL DISCUSSION: Finding the employment law calling - In-house counsel perspectives on developing employment law expertise and managing HR legal work

A panel discussion on the in-house counsel experience on HR and employment law

  • To understand their career journeys in developing employment law expertise
  • To learn how they manage the HR legal workflow from when to outsource, prepare for emerging HR issues and the importance of building relationship between HR and In-house legal team

Moderator: Tyrilly Csillag, Head of Commercial and In-house, Practical Law, Thomson Reuters
Panel: Rachel Besley, General Counsel, Deloitte Australia
Kym Korbel, Head of Employee Relations and Policy, Metcash
Ivana Kovacevic, Associate General Counsel, Aristocrat


Lunch and networking break


How to do misconduct-based workplace investigations

This interactive session addresses the investigation process can be fraught with traps for the unwary. They can be much more complex and time consuming than initially thought, often with no clear outcome at the end of the process. This session covers the key principles of an effective investigation including:

  • When is a formal investigation required?
  • Insourced or outsourced?
  • The evidence gathering process
  • The importance of record keeping
  • Managing difficult or reluctant witnesses
  • Preparing a report and making a final decision and outcome

Miles Bastick, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills


The ugly side: The corporate counsel’s role in preventing and responding to workplace bullying, harassment, and discrimination and emerging issues

  • Legal update and recent case law
  • How to manage an incident and complaint
  • Preventive measures and corporate governance issues
  • Issues with out-of-hours behaviour and social media
  • Performance management, termination and other disciplinary actions following an incident
  • Confidentiality vs disclosure obligations and problems with non-disclosures
  • Sexual harassment and recommendations of the Respect@Work report of the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces

Jessica Dolan, Principal Adviser - Workplace Relations, Ai Group


Panel discussion: Diversity and inclusion - how can you promote diversity in the legal profession?

Session to cover the steps to make an equitable workplace, business case for diversity and inclusion, strategies to remove the barriers and equitable pay and what steps organisations can do to promote equality at work

  • What does diversity mean in the legal industry?
  • Why is diversity important in the legal profession?

Panel: Lori Middlehurst, APAC Employment Counsel, Salesforce
Catherine Roberts, Strategic Global Client Director, Asia & Emerging Markets, Thomson Reuters
Kaushalya Mataraaratchi, Special Counsel, Gilbert + Tobin