Employment law issues that have a mental health aspect can be extremely challenging for lawyer and HR practitioner alike. The issues can be sensitive, ambiguous and complex, and can often have a significant impact on the broader workplace.

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.

Thomson Reuters’ 3rd annual Mental Health & Employment Law Conference is taking place in April and May 2020. It aims to address the key issues related to mental health in the workplace. The 2018 and 2019 conferences sold out, so book early to avoid missing out.

We look forward to meeting you at the conference.

For any event enquiries, please email eventsanz@thomsonreuters.com.

Dates & Locations

Brisbane 28 April, Marriott
Melbourne 30 April, Crown
Canberra 5 May, QT Hotel
Sydney 6 May, Hilton
Adelaide 12 May, Pullman
Perth 14 May, Duxton

Your Investment

Early Bird
$650 + GST
(Save $100)
Early Bird ends 17 March 2020

Standard Pricing
$750 + GST

Register Now

For any event enquiries, please email eventsanz@thomsonreuters.com.




Brisbane: Susan Moriarty, Principal, Susan Moriarty & Associates
Melbourne: Ben Marshall, Partner, Holding Redlich
Canberra: Luis Izzo, Managing Director – Sydney Workplace, Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors
Sydney: James Mattson, Partner, Practice Head, Workplace Team, Bartier Perry
Adelaide: Marie Boland, Workplace Relations & Solicitor, Campbell Law
Perth: Martin Dobson, Partner, Moray & Agnew Lawyers


Assessing Mental Health conditions for the workplace – a psychiatric perspective

We open the conference with an overview of the main workplace mental health conditions seen by independent psychiatrists in the workplace.

  • Early identification of risk factors and early intervention screening
  • Potential effects of medication on work capacity
  • What treatment and non-treatment modalities work?
  • The difference between an IME (for compensation claims) and Fitness to Work (non-compensation claims) referral request and reports
  • In what circumstances may a medicolegal fitness for duty assessment assist an employer

Brisbane: Dr Lucas Murphy, Psychiatrist MB BS, BSc(med), FRANZCP, CIME
Melbourne: Dr Antonella Ventura, Psychiatrist MB BS MFMH FRANZCP
Canberra: Dr Lucas Murphy, Psychiatrist MB BS, BSc(med), FRANZCP, CIME
Sydney: Dr Inglis (Howe) Synnot, Psychiatrist MB BS, D Obst RCOG, FRANZCP
Adelaide: Dr Michael Schirripa, Psychiatrist BA, MB BS, FRANZCP, Cert Forensic Psych (RANZCP)
Perth: Dr Jon Spear, Psychiatrist MB BS, MRC(Psych)(UK), GBQ, MBL, FRANZCP


Fair Work Act & mental health update

The Fair Work Act protects employees who are dealing with mental health problems from unlawful workplace discrimination. This session examines recent FWC cases, decisions and how the FWC continues to respond to the increasing importance placed on mental health issues in the workplace.

Brisbane: Commissioner Susan Booth, Fair Work Commission
Melbourne: Commissioner Tim Lee, Fair Work Commission
Canberra: Deputy President John Kovacic , Fair Work Commission
Sydney: Deputy President Peter Sams, Fair Work Commission
Adelaide: Commissioner Peter Hampton, Fair Work Commission
Perth: Deputy President Abbey Beaumont, Fair Work Commission


TABLE TALKS: overcoming barriers to engagement on mental health

What challenges or barriers to engagement have you experienced in your organisation? Where can we make changes to improve engagement of workers, line managers and senior management in the mental health discussion? Has your organisation effected that change and, if so, how? If not, how will you achieve it?


Networking and refreshment break


Understanding the important role of managers and people leaders in achieving better workplace mental health outcomes

Beyond Blue will outline the shared contribution that is required to achieve a mentally healthy workplace, highlighting the critical role that managers and people leaders play to support their teams, manage risks and promote positive mental health.

Brisbane & Perth: Michael O’Hanlon, Workplace Engagement Manager, Beyond Blue
Melbourne, Canberra & Adelaide: Catherine Doherty, Workplace Engagement Manager, Beyond Blue
Sydney: Linda Sheahan, Workplace Engagement Manager, Beyond Blue



We are pleased to bring to each city a customised case study on mental health in the workplace


Supporting Fitness For Work
This case study will cover how Qantas Supporting Fitness For Work program is helping manage compensable and non-compensable psychological injuries and illness and improving employee return to work success.

Dr Peter Prasad, National Manager Occupational Health, Health & Human Performance, Safety Health & Security Services, Qantas Airways Limited


Engaging leaders and understanding the importance of strategic leadership
- The importance of setting the tone from the top down
- Making mental health an organisational priority
- Generating cultural change through effective leadership

Tony Walker ASM, Chief Executive Officer, Ambulance Victoria


Creating a safe workplace - return to work and driving wellbeing
For employers to meet their safety obligations, it is crucial that they ensure their employees are fit for work. This case study will address pre-employment disclosures, workplace policies and fitness for work procedures, making reasonable adjustments, facilitating return to work, driving wellbeing across the organisation and prevention strategies.

Kate Harris, Return to Work & Workplace Health & Safety Coordinator, Panthers Group


Mental Health at Invocare

The case studies will cover what are the practicalities of identifying your psychosocial risks and psychological hazards, and how to develop strategies for prevention, intervention and post intervention.

John Sullivan, National Workers' Compensation and WHS Manager, Invocare


Designing and implementing a holistic mental health and wellbeing program:

  • Designing an early intervention approach for injury/illness, for mutual good
  • Supporting team members through life's changes
  • Implementing best practice for holistic health and wellbeing

Vanessa De Amicis MAHRI, Senior Safety, Health & Wellbeing Business Partner, CUA


Psychosocial Risk Assessments & Code of Practice for Mentally Healthy Workplaces for FIFO Workers
The newly-released Code of Practice Mentally healthy workplaces for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers in the resources and construction sectors recommends implementing a risk-based approach to prevent and manage harm from psychosocial hazards and risk factors in the workplace

Amy Douglas-Martens, Inspector of Mines - Mental Health and Wellbeing, Mines Safety Directorate, Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety


Lunch and networking break


Managing long-term absence and sick leave due to mental health

Managing long term absences in the workplace is difficult and sensitive when concerning mental health issues. The session will help you understand your rights and responsibilities including assessing an employee’s fitness to work, supervising absenteeism, issuing formal warnings and dealing with employees who refuse or are unwilling to return to work.

Brisbane: Martin Osborne, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright
Melbourne & Canberra: Sarah Ralph, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright
Sydney: David Cross, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright
Adelaide: Norton Rose Fulbright representative
Perth: Samantha Maddern, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright


Performance management, dismissal and mental health legal and compassionate conversations

- What can you do if a grievance claim arises from performance management when mental health issues are involved?
- When is it reasonable for the business to terminate and under what circumstances?
- If termination is the only option at the end of an investigation or an evaluation of inherent requirements, what is the correct process to prevent claims of unfair dismissal or discrimination?

Brisbane: Dianne Hollyoak, Director, Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors
Melbourne: Georgia Simmonds, Senior Associate, Seyfarth Shaw
Canberra: James Mattson, Partner, Practice Head, Workplace Team, Bartier Perry
Sydney: Philippa Noakes, Senior Associate, Seyfarth Shaw
Adelaide: Moira Rayner, Principal, Moira Rayner & Associates
Perth: Joanne Leveridge, Senior Associate, DLA Piper Australia


Networking and refreshment break


Best practice workplace investigations

The session will focus on the importance of correct procedure in workplace investigation processes for both HR and legal professionals, taking into account the duties and obligations employers have to investigation participants. Exploring why we investigate, and outlining best practice tips for conducting effective investigations that best support the mental health and wellbeing of participants

Brisbane: Nick Le Mare, Partner , Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Melbourne: Sarah Clarke, Senior Associate, Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Canberra: Bede Gahan, Partner, HWL Ebsworth
Sydney: Heidi Fairhall, Special Counsel, Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Adelaide: Michael Kay, Partner and Practice Leader, Employment and Safety, Wallmans Lawyers
Perth: Nicholas Ellery, Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth


Managing workers’ compensation claims for psychological injuries

This session examines the latest trends and cases involving psychological claims, evidential requirements for psychological injury and the factors which make them succeed or fail, different approaches for psychological claims compared to physical injury claims and disputes and how the matters are commonly resolve.

Brisbane: Anna Hendry, Partner, Hopgood Ganim
Melbourne: Madelaine August, Partner, Moray & Agnew Lawyers
Canberra & Adelaide: Emma Reilly, Partner, Moray & Agnew Lawyers
Sydney: Safa Jan, Associate, Moray & Agnew Lawyers
Perth: Martin Dobson, Partner, Moray & Agnew Lawyers