The Thomson Reuters Industrial & Workplace Relations Conference is taking place in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane on the 12, 13 and 14 November 2019.

The conference will provide a comprehensive overview and impact of recent legislation and decisions, latest developments, as well as practical guidance on a range of current issues affecting employment lawyer and HR practitioner alike.

Some of the topics covered at the conference include:

  • Enterprise Agreements - Practical steps to comply with procedural and technical requirements in negotiation, voting and FWC approval processes
  • Reducing the risk of unfair dismissal and adverse action claims
  • How to effectively implement changes to casual and part time employment
  • Issues with sham contracting
  • Updates on the Fair Work Act
  • Updates on the new wage theft laws
  • Managing change in a collective environment
  • Effective management of workplace disputes

Keynote presentations

  • 12 November, Melbourne, Deputy President Masson, Fair Work Commission
  • 13 November, Sydney, Deputy President Sams, Fair Work Commission
  • 14 November, Brisbane, Deputy President Lake, Fair Work Commission

The conference will be followed by a separately-bookable workshop the next day on Collective Bargaining presented by Chris Gardener, Partner at Seyfarth Shaw Australia.

For any event enquiries, please email

Dates & Locations

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Wednesday 13 November 2019
Radisson Blu

Thursday 14 November 2019


$695 + GST

Register Now

For any event enquiries email




Melbourne: Andrew Jewell, Principal Lawyer, McDonald Murholme
Sydney: Adrian Barwick, Director, Williamson Barwick
Brisbane: Pawel Zielinski, Senior Associate, MinterEllison


Keynote Presentations

Melbourne:Deputy President Masson, Fair Work Commission
Sydney:Deputy President Sams, Fair Work Commission
Brisbane: Deputy President Lake, Fair Work Commission


Reducing the risk of unfair dismissal and adverse action claims

Unfair dismissal is still the most common type of claim lodged by employees, presenting significant risks to employers and HR professionals. This session will provide an overview of recent cases and best practices in managing unfair dismissals.

  • Preventing negative outcomes through establishing effective employment policies and contracts
  • Steps to terminate an employee for poor performance or misconduct
  • When is a dismissal considered to be harsh, unjust or unreasonable?
  • How to reduce the risk of unfair dismissal and adverse action claims

Melbourne: Tony Lawrence, Partner, HWL Ebsworth
Sydney: Brad Swebeck, Partner, HWL Ebsworth
Brisbane: Heinz Lepahe, Partner, HWL Ebsworth


Changes to Whistleblower laws and implication for employers

The federal government has introduced changes to Corporations Act 2001, consolidating protections for whistleblowers, requiring public, large private companies to have a whistle blower policy from on 1 July 2019. The session to cover:

  • What are the changes and who needs to have a whistleblower policy
  • Implications for employers and workplace practices including workplace investigations, disclosure and protection

Melbourne: Tom Molan, Senior Associate, MinterEllison
Sydney: James Wells, Lawyer, MinterEllison
Brisbane: Pawel Zielinski, Senior Associate, MinterEllison


Networking and refreshment break


Wage theft laws update - penalties and practical tips to avoid

The new wage theft laws were introduced to address ongoing and widespread failure to pay money and other employment conditions.

  • Practical considerations to avoid underpayment of employment entitlements
  • What are the penalties
  • Lessons from high profile cases such as 7-Eleven

Melbourne: Natalie Gaspar, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
Sydney: Sophie Beaman, Senior Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills
Brisbane: Wendy Fauvel, Senior Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills


Case study: establishing employment relations strategies, policies and procedures

  • Establishing an industrial and employment relations strategy
  • Key components of the IR strategy: Wage policy; workplace strategy design; minimum employment obligations; workplace conflict; conditions and obligations are in your Award
  • Lessons to share

Chris Best, Head of Workplace Relations, BUPA


Enterprise Agreements: practical steps to comply with procedural and technical requirements in negotiation, voting and FWC approval processes

  • Overview of FWC approval requirements which inform your pre-approval steps
  • Commencing negotiations, identifying and nominating bargaining representatives
  • The Notice of Employee Representational Rights and how it relates to your agreement and impacts on FWC approval
  • Key compliance issues during negotiation and good faith bargaining requirements
  • Finalising your agreement and moving to a vote
  • Starting the access period and explanation to employees
  • Managing the voting process

Melbourne: Stephen Silvapulle, Senior Associate. Clayton Utz
Sydney: Liam Meagher, Senior Associate, Clayton Utz
Brisbane: Matthew Cameron, Senior Associate, Clayton Utz


Lunch and networking break


Managing workplace change in a collective environment

  • Navigating the legal roadmap for change
  • Understanding how people really experience change, what’s getting in the way and how to drive action
  • Understanding how to support people during periods of ambiguity
  • Exploring the intrinsic link between culture and reputation

Melbourne: Erin Hawthorne, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw and Angela Scaffidi, Managing Partner, Senate SHJ
Sydney: Rachel Bernasconi, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw and Craig Badings, Partner, Senate SHJ
Brisbane: Ben Dudley, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw and Darren Behar, Managing Partner, Senate SHJ

Joint presentation from Senate SHJ a specialist communication and change consultancy and Seyfarth Shaw


How to effectively implement changes to casual employment

New Casual Conversion legislation came into place from 1 October 2018. Casual workers who are employed for an extended period doing similar jobs to permanent employees can claim that they are permanent. The session to cover recent changes to casual status and the key issues in casual conversions to permanent including:

  • How to minimise the risk of such claims from casual workers
  • Recent case and impacts on terms, conditions and entitlements of PT and casual employees including redundancy calculations, rostering flexibility and unfair dismissal considerations

Melbourne: Ben Marshall, Partner, Workplace Relations & Safety, Holding Redlich
Sydney: Luis Izzo, Managing Director – Sydney Workplace, Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors
Brisbane: Dianne Hollyoak, Director, Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors


Networking and refreshment break


Issues with sham contracting

Sham contracting arrangement is when an employer deliberately tries to disguise an employee as a contractor to avoid paying entitlements such as leave and superannuation. The session covers how to effectively prevent sham contracting practices within your organisation including:

  • Employment conditions and contracts
  • Penalties
  • Issues with terminate employees and then re-hire them as contractors to do the same job

Melbourne: Sarah Ralph, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright
Sydney: David Cross, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright
Brisbane: Martin Osborne, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright


Future workplace and implications for IR

Growth of gig workers and new disruptive platforms such as Uber are impacting employment relations. What are the considerations for minimum rates of pay, entitlement to superannuation and other conditions such as annual holidays and sick leave etc. The session to cover Gig worker classifications, recent case laws and challenges of contractor classification

Melbourne: Sarah Clarke, Senior Associate, Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Sydney: Heidi Fairhall, Special Counsel , Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Brisbane: Nick Le Mare, Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth




Collective & Workplace Bargaining

Melbourne 13 November | Sydney 14 November | Brisbane 15 November

Chris Gardner, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw Australia

Enterprise bargaining is a big challenge for Australian employers. Complexity and risk dominates bargaining where once it was an opportunity for productivity gain.

The key to success is developing and implementing a coherent enterprise bargaining strategy that understands and plans for the movement of the pendulum of power.

During this content-rich workshop, you will learn how to use the Seyfarth Shaw Workplace Bargaining Toolkit methodology to develop or improve your existing plan. This is a unique opportunity to access the valuable tools and insights you need to succeed in your enterprise bargaining campaign.

During the workshop, you will:

  • Understand the key ingredients for a successful enterprise bargaining campaign
    • Clarity of need: articulated and connected to the business needs
    • Gain v Pain: what are the gains needed and likely pain points
    • Understand “the bargaining equation”
  • Develop enhance or test your own strategy in a workshop context 
    • Integrated, articulated and understood by key stakeholders
  • Learn tactics and strategies to maximise your position at the negotiating table
  • Identify the preparation required for the negotiation
  • Learn negotiation skills applied to the Australian bargaining context
  • Learn key aspects of the legal framework