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Employment Practices Liability (EPL)

According to the Fair Work Commission, there were 17,712 claims made for unfair dismissal against Australian businesses in the last financial year. Most claims are settled before getting to Court, but if not properly managed, legal costs of an employment dispute can quickly outstrip claim value, stymieing resolution.

Our EPL team, led by Suzanne Craig and Sarah Wood in Australia and Rebecca Scott in New Zealand, have wide expertise representing insurers and employers across multiple industries. We achieve the best possible commercial results through proactive management and focusing clients on the legal realities of their position, despite the high levels of emotion often involved. Exploring conciliation and encouraging pre-action mediation are effective mechanisms to resolve claims quickly.

When settlement cannot be achieved, we have a significant track record in litigated proceedings. Some of our recent work includes:

Harassment and bullying claim in the Federal Court

Defending an employer in a harassment, bullying and discrimination claim in the Federal Court of Australia arising out of conduct involving the CEO and senior employees of a funeral business.

General protection claim in the Victorian Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission

Acting in a complex general protection claim before the Victorian Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission arising out of the termination of an employee allegedly based on his sexual orientation.

Discrimination, bullying and victimisation claim before the AHRC

Defending a claim against a not-for-profit organisation in the Australian Human Rights Commission and then the Federal Court by an employee alleging she was sexually harassed, bullied, victimised and discriminated against before her termination.

School Board constructive dismissal claim

Successful defence of a School Board in a constructive dismissal claim involving bullying by a senior teacher.

While employers are taking steps to improve their employment practices, EPL claims remain a source of risk. EPL insurance is increasingly essential cover for business, particularly for small-medium sized businesses. When a claim is made, you need to know that you have a team focused on achieving the best commercial outcomes with minimum business disruption.

Bespoke training solutions

Our expertise is not limited to advice on EPL claims. Our bespoke training for employers highlights typical business scenarios that can lead to claims, and measures to prevent claims arising. We can offer our clients a national helpline in the event of a claim, to prevent early escalation. We regularly advise employers on disciplinary investigations and other employment processes including performance management and restructuring.