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 October 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.

Due to the ongoing and developing Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria, we have elected to postpone all events scheduled to be held in Melbourne in 2020 until further notice.

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

Dates & Locations

Online 6 October
Sydney 12 October
Adelaide 20 October, The Playford Hotel
Perth 22 October, Duxton

Your Investment

Standard Pricing
$750 + GST

Register Now

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

Agenda

9:00AM

WELCOME FROM THE CHAIR

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

9:05AM

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

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

A holistic approach to managing chronic psychological injury

Early intervention approach to assist workers who cannot return to work to work early - Active Wellbeing Program AWP.

Sydney & Online: Noni Byron, Managing Director, Prestige Health Services Australia

9:45AM

Case study: Managing GP mental health

General practitioners (GPs) are often the first port of call for people seeking help with a mental illness, but how are GP’s own mental health being looked after

  • Dealing with fatigue, PTSD, vicarious trauma and contributing factors for doctors
  • Mental illness prevention and initiatives

Online: Dr Margaret Kay, Senior Lecturer

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.

Sydney: Deputy President Sams, Fair Work Commission
Adelaide: Deputy President Anderson, Fair Work Commission

10:30AM

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.

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

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 antidiscrimination laws. This session we will take you step-bystep through the capacity assessment and return to work process and highlight common areas where organisations go wrong.

Perth: Beth Robinson, Senior Associate, Mason Ledger

10:50AM

Networking and refreshment break

11:10AM

Psychosocial risks in the workplace and the evolving legal framework

What are the recent trends and recommendations arising out of the recent reviews of the model WHS laws in relation to mental health and wellbeing? Also, the relevant legal causes of action being explored, associated risks and recent case examples and decisions – such as safety prosecutions, coronial inquests and Fair Work Commission matters.

Online: Jackson Inglis, Partner & Ben Keenan, Senior Associate, Sparke Helmore Lawyers
Sydney: Ian Bennett, Special Counsel, Sparke Helmore
Adelaide: Daria McLachlan, Special Counsel, Sparke Helmore Lawyers
Perth: Ian Bennett, Special Counsel, Sparke Helmore Lawyers

11:50AM

CASE STUDIES OF MENTAL HEALTH IN ACTION

Making wellbeing part of how we do business: Maximising staff productivity and wellbeing through effective mental health strategies

  • Assessing level of workplace psycho-social risk
  • Implementing strategies to tackle specific needs 
  • Evaluating program outcomes against baseline measures

Online & Sydney: James Wallace, Head of Safety & Wellbeing, Sydney Water

Psychosocial risk and injury prevention

Session to cover fulfilling legal obligations for the prevention of psychological injury including bullying and harassment. 

Adelaide: Dr Tessa Bailey, Registered Psychologist, Research Associate |Centre for Workplace Excellence, University of South Australia

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

12:30PM

Lunch and networking break

1:30PM

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.

Online: Martin Osborne, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright
Adelaide: Helene Lee, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright
Sydney: David Cross, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright
Perth: Shannon Walker, Senior Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright

2:10PM

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?

Online: Andrew Ross, Associate Director, Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors
Sydney: Philippa Noakes, Senior Associate, Seyfarth Shaw
Adelaide: Michael Kay, Partner and Practice Leader, Employment and Safety, Wallmans Lawyers
Perth: Joanne Leveridge, Senior Associate, DLA Piper Australia

3:00PM

Networking and refreshment break

3:20PM

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

Online: Nick Le Mare, Partner , Corrs Chambers Westgarth
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

4:00PM

Managing workers’ compensation claims for psychological injurie

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.

Adelaide & Sydney: Emma Reilly, Partner, Moray & Agnew Lawyers
Perth: Martin Dobson, , Partner, Moray & Agnew Lawyers

4:40PM

CLOSING REMARKS FROM THE CHAIR AND END OF CONFERENCE