Chris is a seasoned EPL and Workplace lawyer who has extensive experience working with large, complex and highly regulated organisations. He is a skilled advocate known for his strategic perspective and ability to deliver across the range of workplace disputes. These include wrongful dismissal claims, discrimination claims, handling investigations and grievances, under payment of entitlements or bonuses, breach of employment contract and policies, and work health and safety issues.

He is also known for his front-end expertise negotiating with unions on issues spanning enterprise bargaining, right of entry and entitlements, drafting employment contracts and policies, and advising on regulatory and compliance issues.

Chris has represented employers in the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia, the Federal Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of Queensland, the District Court of Queensland and the Fair Work Commission. He is also an experienced mediator.

Employment Practices Liability

  • Successfully representing a publicly listed company against an unfair dismissal claim brought by a manager with 25 years of service who had no written contract of employment. Chris handled all aspects of the defence, including acting as solicitor advocate. The manager’s claim was dismissed.
  • Conducting and coordinating an investigation regarding an allegation that a manager had unlawfully harassed and discriminated against a junior employee at an office function. After adverse findings were made against the manager, Chris advised on all issues regarding the employment termination. The matter was successfully negotiated without the need for litigation.
  • Advising a national online gaming business on defending a potential claim from a bargaining representative that the business had not been acting in good faith and had breached the bargaining provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). The matter was successfully resolved without going before the Fair Work Commission.

Workplace

  • Representing a large waste management company in action taken by the Transport Workers Union regarding an enterprise bargaining agreement dispute, including a dispute in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia regarding the appropriate award coverage for the site.
  • Successfully representing a large agribusiness and logistics company with the implementation of a number of site-specific enterprise bargaining agreements throughout Australia. The proposed agreements were contested by the union. Chris managed the negotiations, represented the employer at various bargaining meetings and appeared for the employer in the Commission. All proposed enterprise bargaining agreements were approved by the Commission, notwithstanding the union’s objections.
  • Advising a large manufacturer on restructuring its business operations to commercially handle its potential risks regarding breach of contract claims and redundancy claims by senior executives.
  • Advising an employer on the creation of an employee shareholding scheme for key employees. The matter included drafting the relevant employment contracts and the share allotment deeds, as well as providing complex commercial and legal advice regarding the structuring of remuneration schemes. Complex contractual provisions regarding protection of confidentiality and intellectual property were also drafted for the employer.
  • Reviewing all employment contracts, enterprise bargaining agreements and policies, and handled all aspects of employment due diligence for a publicly listed company on its acquisition of another large business. Advising on the employment contracts and policies, transmission of business issues (including transfer of enterprise agreements), intellectual property, confidentiality and privacy issues and general restructuring of the workforce.
  • Advising on the structuring of an early retirement payout to a Chief Executive Officer in circumstances where that person was retiring during the period of a fixed-term employment contract. Advised on structuring the payment, including complex taxation issues.
  • Overseeing the implementation of standardised of employment contracts and policies for a large community services organisation. Extensive consultation was involved to advise on the compliance of the documents with relevant regulatory requirements, including privacy and anti-discrimination. Advice was also given on the interrelationship between the contracts and the policies with current case law and legislation.
  • Giving complex advice to a building contractor on to the “strike pay” provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in circumstances where workers took unlawful industrial action organised by the CFMEU. Advice was also given regarding a dispute about the union’s entitlement to access the site under the right of entry provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

Workplace Health & Safety

  • Successfully defending a company against all WHS charges related to a workplace fatality with full acquittals for the company and sole director.
  • Representing middle management in the “Dreamworld” Coronial Inquest to mitigate the risk of WHS charges being made against those individuals.
Areas of Expertise
  • Employment Practices Liability
  • Workplace Health + Safety

Industry Representation
  • Agribusiness
  • Construction + Infrastructure
  • Manufacturing + Consumer Goods
  • SMEs
  • Sports, Leisure + Entertainment
  • Transport + Marine

Professional Affiliations
  • Australian Insurance Law Association