sydney Office P: +61 2 8273 9859

Sarah Wood

Special Counsel

About Sarah

Sarah is an Employment Law Specialist (EPL) with extensive insurance expertise. She advises insurers and their customers on all types of EPL matters including unfair dismissals, general protections applications, sexual harassment and discrimination complaints. Sarah has a keen eye for quickly getting to the heart of a claim and is committed to resolving these types of matters quickly and cost effectively.

Sarah has an innate ability to develop rapport with employer-insureds who need to feel supported through what can often be a difficult and very personal workplace issue, but who might also need help to see the commercial and legal realities of a situation.

Sarah genuinely enjoys helping the insureds she works with to be confident and informed decision-makers when it comes to their workforce and productivity. While she aims to make an EPL claim a one-off event for any insured, she also recognises that prevention is better than cure and is keen to engage in ideas which could help insurers with claims prevention.

Areas of Expertise

  • Employment Practices Liability
  • Personal Injury
  • Coronials, Inquiries & Prosecutions
  • Workplace Health & Safety

Industry Representation

  • Professions & Business Services
  • Construction & Infrastructure
  • Public Sector

Sarah's Experience

  • Acting for an insured local council defending an unfair dismissal claim by a self-represented former employee who had made several previous claims against other employers. Offers of settlement were unsuccessful with the applicant who was focused only on reinstatement. While the matter had to proceed to hearing, the former employee was not reinstated and the matter concluded on budget and without the need to re-estimate reserves even once.
  • Acting for a labour-hire firm defending a discrimination claim brought against them and a host-employer. Sarah quickly moved to subpoena medical records which demonstrated the applicant had been untruthful in his application, forcing the applicant to discontinue proceedings with no payment of compensation or costs.
  • Drafting appeal submissions in Wong v Taitung Australia Pty Ltd [2017] FWCFB 990 (17 February 2017). The appeal submissions addressed the Fair Work Commission’s use of the rules of evidence, the proper standard of proof for serious misconduct cases and whether the Commission had properly applied the correct compensation principles when it reduced the applicant’s compensation to zero.
  • Providing comprehensive advice to an insurer about whether an insured’s employee was a casual employee and devising strategy for dealing with the claim before litigation was commenced which resulted in the applicant delaying litigation (and likely avoiding litigation altogether) to await the outcome of a related appeal.

Professional Affiliations

  • Australian Insurance Law Association
  • Law Society of NSW
  • Australian Professional Indemnity Group
  • Women in Insurance Association
  • New South Wales Claims Discussion Group