This conference is now sold out. For enquiries, please email

Employment law issues that involve a mental health aspect can be extremely challenging for lawyer and HR practitioner alike. The issues can be sensitive, ambiguous and subjective. Making accurate decisions in this potentially complex area of law is crucial; case law has shown that the courts will penalise those organisations who do not follow correct processes when dealing with employment issues related to mental health.

The Thomson Reuters Mental Health & Employment Law Conference series aims to address the key issues related to mental health in the workplace. Taking place in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane over 22-24 October, the conference will provide both legal advisor and HR practitioner with pragmatic, practical guidance on topics such as:

  • Correctly conducting misconduct, bullying and harassment investigations
  • Managing questions of inherent requirements or medical incapacity to work
  • Managing workers’ compensation claims to mental injury
  • The intersection of performance management, grievance management, discrimination and stress
  • Best practice approaches to mental health in the workplace.
  • And much more

Featuring speakers from:

Fair Work Commission | beyondblue | Herbert Smith Freehills | Corrs Chambers Westgarth | Maurice Blackburn | Lander & Rogers | KPMG Law | Danny King Legal | Hopgood Ganim

We look forward to meeting you at the conference.

Conference attendance earns 6CPD points in substantive law.

Dates & Locations

22 October 2018
The Grand Hyatt

23 October 2018
Pier One Hotel

24 October 2018
Stamford Plaza


For any event enquiries email





KEYNOTE: An integrated approach to workplace mental health: the case for going beyond legal obligations.

  • What is mental health and what is its impact on workplaces.
  • Integration - A best practice approach to workplace mental health.
  • Help along the way.

Catherine Doherty, Workplace Engagement Manager, beyondblue (M)
Mark Leopold, Head of Workplace Engagement, beyondblue (S)
Michael O’Hanlon, Workplace Engagement Manager, beyondblue (B)


Mental health and employment law: How has the law responded to the rise in mental health issues at work?

With mental health being identified as a key concept in employment law, this session will examine the key updates and changes that all HR and legal practitioners will need to know.

Tim Lee, Commissioner, Fair Work Commission (M)
Jonathan Hamberger, Deputy-President, Fair Work Commission (S)
Susan Booth, Commissioner, Fair Work Commission (B)


Networking and refreshment break


Managing Return to Work and questions of medical incapacity

Termination of employment for illness and medical incapacity reasons can fraught with practical and procedural issues, particularly as an employee may be protected by unfair dismissal legislation, workers compensation or anti-discrimination laws. In this session, James will take you step-by-step through the capacity assessment and return to work process and highlight common areas where organisations go wrong.

James Simpson, Partner, KPMG Law


Managing workers’ compensation claims for mental injury

Although workers’ compensations claims for stress and psychological injury may be harder to prove that other claim types, there are still a number of issues that both lawyers and HR professionals need to navigate. This session examines evidential requirements for psychological injury (and the factors which make them succeed or fail), and how you may inadvertently leave yourself open to larger liability through holes in your process.

Anna Hendry, Special Counsel, Hopgood Ganim


The importance of correct procedure in investigation processes

What is being done/what needs to be done to create a culture where people experiencing harassment, or mental health issues as a by-product, feel comfortable to ‘speak up’? Harassment in the workplace is reasonable means for termination of employment. But, what are the correct courses of action that need to be conducted to ensure that a company has given suitable due-process to such claims. There are a number of examples of overturned decisions (Thomas v ACT Government – Transport Canberra and City Services t/a ACTION (2017) and Naicker v Epworth Foundation (2017)) and correct procedure being undertaken (Robinson v Sydney Trains (2017) and Broadhead v Furniture Galore P/L t/a Furniture Galore (2017)), so this session looks to highlight best-practice for both HR and legal professionals.

Catherine Pase, Senior Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills (M)
Heidi Fairhall, Special Counsel, Herbert Smith Freehills (S)
Wendy Fauvel, Senior Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills (B)


Lunch and networking break


The intersection of performance management, grievance management, discrimination and stress

A performance management process can undoubtedly be a stressful one for an employee. Staff in performance management processes may feel they are being persecuted or bullied, but where do you draw the line? This session examines:

  • Managing the process with staff who may be sensitive or emotionally reactive
  • How can you effectively manage an investigation or performance management process to be both procedurally fair, sensitive and just to all parties
  • What can you do if a grievance claim arises from the process?

Jackie Ntatsopoulos, Special Counsel, Danny King Legal (M)
Danny King, Principal, Danny King Legal (S)
Kevin Yee, Senior Solicitor, Danny King Legal (B)


Case Law Roundup: Workplace bullying and its effect on both employees and employers

This session will examine cases concerning workplace bullying and their outcomes (such as, Bateman v Aldi Foods Pty Ltd (2018) and Illawarra Coal Holdings Pty Ltd t/a South32 v Gosek (2018)), especially how employment law responds to this nuanced issue that is very rarely black and white.

Josh Bornstein, National Head of Employment, Maurice Blackburn (M)
Alexandra Grayson, Principal, Maurice Blackburn (S)
Giri Sivaraman, Principal, Maurice Blackburn (B)


Networking and refreshment break


Inherent requirements: What happens when stress and mental health stop someone from working?

Without a defined set of parameters, inherent requirements can be a particularly difficult landscape for legal practitioners to navigate; how do exit processes work to protect all involved? What impacts are there on temporary and fixed employees brought in to pick-up the work of employees on work-related leave? How are claims of discrimination avoided? This session will look further into the concept of inherent requirements and examine key cases, to offer a clearer and practical view on how this fluid concept can be managed effectively.

Kaitlyn Gulle, Partner, Lander & Rogers (M)
Luke Scandrett, Senior Lawyer, Lander & Rogers (S)
Adam Battagello, Lawyer, Lander & Rogers (B)


Mental Illness and workplace disciplinary law: The 6 golden rules

How can you ensure legal compliance when managing an investigation or a disciplinary with a worker who suffers – or may suffer - from mental illness? Competing laws such as anti-discrimination law and work health and safety laws must be finely balanced, and this complexity is exacerbated by the fact that mental illness is not always easily defined or diagnosed.

Chris Leong, Special Counsel (M)
Kate Curtain, Senior Associate, Corrs Chambers Westgarth (S)
Nick Le Mare, Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth (B)




Mark Leopald Mark Leopald Head of Workplace Engagement,
Catherine Doherty Catherine Doherty Workplace Engagement Manager,
Michael O’Hanlon Michael O’Hanlon Workplace Engagement Manager,
Josh Bornstein Josh Bornstein National Head of Employment,
Maurice Blackburn
Alexandra Grayson Alexandra Grayson Principal,
Maurice Blackburn
Giri Sivaraman Giri Sivaraman Principal,
Maurice Blackburn
James Simpson James Simpson Partner, KPMG Law
Kate Curtain Kate Curtain Senior Associate,
Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Nick Le Mare Nick Le Mare Partner
Corrs Chambers Westgarth