We are delighted to announce the new dates for the Thomson Reuters’ 4th annual Mental Health & Employment Law Conference to be held in October 2021.

Managing mental health has become one of the biggest employment laws and WHS issues in the workplace - even more so after the Covid-19 pandemic. Employment law issues that have a mental health aspect can be extremely challenging for lawyer and HR practitioner alike. Implementing procedures that are best practice and legally compliant is a complex and sensitive challenge when concerning mental health issues in the workplace.

The conference addresses contentious issues from performance management, absenteeism, investigation to workers compensation.

The Mental Health & Employment Law Conference is held in conjunction with the Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Conference.

We look forward to you joining us.

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

Dates & Locations

Brisbane 14 October 2021
Perth 28 October 2021
Online 21 October 2021

Your Investment

Conference

$750 + GST

Livestream

$695 + GST

Register now

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

Agenda

9:00AM

WELCOME FROM THE CHAIR

Brisbane: Susan Moriarty, Principal, Susan Moriarty & Associate
Online: James Mattson, Partner Workplace Law & Culture Team, Bartier Perry
Perth: Kate Walawski, Heads of Practice, MDS Legal

9:05AM

Leadership’s role in creating mentally healthy workplaces

Senior leadership support is essential to the effective implementation of mental health and wellbeing policy, interventions and initiatives. Leaders also play a pivotal role in fostering the wellbeing of their teams through the behaviours they model, and their ability to observe and act when they notice that team members are struggling. This session will look at the role leaders can play in creating mentally healthy workplaces, and why this is important not just for staff but for business.

Kate Wright, Workplace Engagement Manager, Black Dog Institute

9:45AM

What are the laws for mental health and its impact on workplaces

Legislative framework governing mental ill employees in the workplace

  • Fair Work Act and recent case
  • WHS laws covering mental health
  • Pre-employment disclosures: what are the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees?
  • Direct managers and what are their accountability and vicarious liability
  • Risk for employers in managing mentally ill employees
  • Reviewing recommendations by Safe Work Australia
  • What is a reasonable adjustment for an employee who is suffering from a mental health condition?

Brisbane: Liam Fraser, Partner, Kingston Reid
Online: Jane Murray, Senior Associate, Kingston Reid
Perth: Beth Robinson, Special Counsel, Kingston Reid

10:25AM

Networking and refreshment break

10:45AM

Case study: Designing a contemporary approach to workplace mental health and wellbeing

  • Designing an end-to-end mental health and wellbeing approach, with a focus on prevention and early intervention
  • Supporting team members in hybrid and future-fit working environments
  • Implementing a proactive and better practice approach to mental health and wellbeing

Brisbane: Vanessa De Amicis, Safety Health & Wellbeing Manager, Great Southern Bank
Perth: Sharon Ponniah PhD, Director Health & Wellbeing, Public Policy & Economics, PwC expertise

Impact of COVID-19 on mental health in the workplace

COVID-19 has brought about radical changes in the way that many of us work.  These changes represent both a risk to and opportunity for psychological safety in the ‘new normal’ hybrid workplace.  

  • What is psychological safety and why is it important?
  • Psychological safety in a hybrid and evolving workplace
  • Risks to and opportunities for psychological safety in 2021 and beyond
  • Case studies
  • Practical tips and strategies for managers

Online: Elizabeth Devine, Principal, Devine Law at Work

11:25AM

Best practices for conducting effective investigations that best support the mental health and wellbeing of participants

Claims of stress, anxiety or bullying can often lead to workplace investigations. These investigations can be troublesome, complex, and if done wrong, can lead to further potential legal action. The session will focus on the importance of correct procedure in workplace investigation processes for HR, WHS and legal professionals:

  • Duties and obligations employers have to investigation participants
  • How to effectively manage workplace investigations
  • Confidentiality

Brisbane, Online: David Steirn, Director, Enterprise Investigations
Perth: Kate Walawski, Heads of Practice, MDS Legal 

12:05PM

Lunch and networking break

1:00PM

Implementing evidence-based resilience programs to protect mental health and employee wellbeing in high-risk occupational settings 

  • Why is resilience and why does it matter? The relationship between adaptive resilience, mental health, and wellbeing
  • Research insights: How adaptive resilience can impact trauma outcomes in high-risk occupations
  • Practical Solutions - The Mindarma Program: evidence-based skills and strategies that bolster resilience and protect mental health. The benefits of customised proactive training programs.
  • Successful Implementation is a team effort: Engaging leaders/managers/peer supporters and advocates across the workforce
  • Measuring success: why collecting pre/post data for all mental health programs  is central to a successful workplace mental health strategy
  • Case Studies: Mindarma at: Ambulance Victoria, Department of Fire and Emergency Services WA, Corrective Services NSW, Youth Justice, Reuters journalists and employees, UNICEF
  • Take home messages

Brisbane & Online: Dr Sadhbh Joyce, Senior Psychologist / Co-Founder, Mindarma, External Fellow, Black Dog Institute/UNSW

Managing addiction, drugs and alcohol in the workplace

  • Workplace addiction impacts sick leave, productivity, injuries at work, costing Australian companies million every year. What are the key considerations of management of addictions in the workplace
  • What are the practical considerations of a Drug & Alcohol Policy – what to consider when testing, employee and employer obligations, and options when there is a drug and alcohol problem
  • Addressing the issues of balancing employee’s right to privacy and procedural fairness and employer obligations to provide a safe environment

Perth: Elizabeth Moran, Senior Associate, Workplace Relations, Employment & Safety, Mills Oakley

1:40PM

Assessing risk: Understanding harassment and bullying as psychosocial hazards

  • What does it mean to take a safety approach to managing risk?
  • How can you assess the risk?
  • How do you mitigate psychosocial risks?

Brisbane: Dr Annabelle Neall, Lecturer, Organisational Psychology, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland

Psychological fitness and how does it relate to your work

As organisations move toward bringing employees back to the workplace, after an extended period of pandemic-related disruption, it is critical to give your teams the tools to help them stay psychologically safe, fit and productive on the job. After the worst of COVID-19, your people may have lost their sense of belonging, this session provides you personal and organisational strategies to boost your own and their psychological fitness in order to reintegrate them back into the workplace.

Online: Christine Yeung, CEO & Founder, Beyond Story

Assessing risk: Understanding harassment and bullying as psychosocial hazards

Workplace bullying leads to serious psychological injury. Research indicates that employees who are bullied in the workplace have a greater risk of PTSD type symptoms and suicide ideation. The injuries experienced can also manifest as physical symptoms.

In this presentation, we shall explore the psychosocial injury that occurs as a result of workplace bullying and harassment. This includes:

  • How does psychosocial injury occur as a result of workplace bullying and harassment
  • When is the best time to intervene in bullying and harassment to prevent injury and manage the risk
  • What are the barriers to intervention and effective risk management
  • What strategies exist to mitigate the risk of bullying and, therefore, psychosocial injury

Perth: Michael Plowright, Director, Working Well Together

2:20PM

Networking and refreshment break

2:40PM

Managing absenteeism 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:

  • Managing absenteeism
  • Assessing an employee’s fitness to work
  • Supervising absenteeism
  • Issuing formal warnings
  • Dealing with employees who refuse or are unwilling to return to work and lessons from recent cases
Brisbane:  Leanne Dearlove, Senior Associate, Colin Biggers & Paisley
Perth: Jo Alilovic, Director, 3D HR Legal

New Code of Practice: Managing psychosocial hazards at work

  • What is the difference between a code of practice and other types of guidance material?
  • What are the implications of the New Code of Practice
  • What are the main consequences if you don't follow codes of practice?
  • Psychosocial hazards and legislative requirements from a regulators perspective

Online: Ian Firth, State Inspector for the Psychological Health and Safety Team, SafeWork NSW

3:20PM

Termination - when all other options have been explored

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?
  • What can you do if a grievance claim arises from performance management when mental health issues are involved?
  • When and how to dismiss a worker with psychological injury, lawfully and fairly

Brisbane:  Heinz Lepahe, Partner, HWL Ebsworth
Online: Brad Swebeck, Partner, HWL Ebsworth
Perth: Shannon Walker, Senior Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright

4:00PM

Workers compensation claims management for psychological injuries

  • What are the workers comp psychological injury framework?
  • Standard of practice for psychological injury claims
  • What is workers compensation claims management?
  • Factors which make them succeed or fail
  • Different approaches for psychological claims compared to physical injury claims
  • Disputes and how the matters are commonly resolve
  • The latest trends and cases involving psychiatric injury matters before Workcover

Online: Danielle Pastor, Partner, Moray Agnew
Perth: Martin Dobson, Partner Moray & Agnew

4:40PM

CLOSING REMARKS FROM THE CHAIR AND END OF CONFERENCE