HR Law Masterclass Agenda


Your conference Chairperson will set the scene for deeper discussion during the day - through an overview of workforce management changes resulting from key employment relations legislation reform.  Gain insights and observations on emerging issues, including: The move towards fairer pay; Understanding the top-line changes to family benefits; 90 day trial changes options for larger employers – the considerations; Increased rights and protections for Contractors and the classification of “workers”; and the return of collective bargaining.


  • Defining mental health hazards
  • Your duty of care, legal obligations and risks, including WHS/EHS/OHS obligations
  • What do you do if your employee doesn’t disclose they have a mental illness?
  • Managing the complexities of cases involving mental health factors such as stress, anxiety, fatigue, and bullying
  • Working with mental health/medical experts, & medical evidence 
  • Managing cases relating to mental health and psychological injury
  • Recent case law reviews – unravel the complexities


  • Medical evidence and examinations: what you can ask for and what the employee needs to provide
  • When you can challenge medical evidence, when it is lawfully reasonable to request an independent medical examination, and how to show cause
  • What to include in your policies, and understanding both employer and employee obligations
  • Return-to-work: Re-assessing positions, modifying roles/ duties
  • Terminations and avoiding unjustified dismissal claims: Understanding grounds for termination, if an employee refuses to participate in an independent medical examination; If an impairment prevents the employee safely performing the role
  • Recent case law reviews – reduce your liabilities and improve outcomes



  • Is there an overlap between misconduct and performance?
  • Reviewing the performance management process
  • How does it work if there is more than one process going at once?
  • Risk management approaches for avoiding claims
  • The cost if it all goes horribly wrong 
  • Reviewing recent case law on this issue – insight to get the process right


  • Reviewing how the Employment Relations Authority and Employment court assess whether a termination is unjustified
  • Mitigating common risks relating to claims of: unjustified dismissal; adverse action; discrimination
  • Ensuring procedural fairness for dismissals and terminations
  • Minimising chances of unjustified dismissal claims during performance management or improvement processes
  • Meeting chain of evidence requirements for post-termination hearings 
  • Recent case law reviews – mitigate risks of unjustified dismissal claims



  • Factors influencing whether an investigation should be undertaken - assessing seriousness of allegations, complexities of complaints, and consequences of failing to investigate
  • The importance of not over complicating investigations, and ensuring appropriate terms of reference are defined and adhered to
  • Insourcing or outsourcing investigations – the key considerations
  • Assessing when a formal investigation is appropriate, or if it has potential to be punitive
  • Determining other suitable legally acceptable avenues for conflict resolution? 
  • Setting expectations of people involved in investigation processes
  • Procedural fairness, and ensuring independence, transparency, and standards of proof
  • Recent case law reviews – when investigations go right, and when they go wrong


  • Key aspects of the Holidays Act 2003 to ensure compliance in respect of Annual holidays. 
  • Different types of leave and entitlements under the Parental leave entitlements under the Parental Leave and Employment Protection act 1987. 
  • Domestic violence leave.
  • Recent case law reviews – ensure compliance



  • Collective Bargaining and the Employment Relations Amendment Bill – reviewing key changes
  • Evaluating the pros and cons – suitability of Collective Bargaining agreements for your organisation
  • Understanding the rules on the passing on of collectively negotiated terms to non-union employees
  • Evaluating and stress testing agreements: for fairness, undertakings, queries, and potential provisions
  • Meeting your Good faith bargaining obligations 
  • Recent case law reviews & agreements – lessons learned for smoother agreement making


  • Principles for assessing pay equity issues, setting rates, and provisions or agreements in employment agreements
  • Implementation of pay equity
  • Understanding the ‘Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill’
  • Managing a pay equity claim


  • Identifying legal risks associated with bullying claims and/or complaints:
    • Discrimination, harassment and victimisation
    • Mental health and associated safety risks
    • Workers compensation
  • Designing and implementing anti-workplace bullying guidelines, policies and reporting procedures
  • Risk assessing your organisation – identifying predictors and triggers; and requirements under the Harmful Digital Communications Act
  • Initiating a strong claims handling process and grievance management system in your organisation
  • Investigating complaints, resolving disputes and managing grievances: avoid the common mistakes 
  • Recent case law review on discriminatory, bullying and harassing behaviour complaints


  • Knowing employer responsibilities and duty of care for sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct associated with: 
    • WHS/EHS/OHS legislation
    • The Human Rights Act and the Employment Relations Act
  • What should be included in sexual harassment policies and complaint procedures
  • Evaluating and investigating a sexual harassment claim – considerations to avoid inflammation of an issue: terms of reference, procedural fairness, confidentiality, and communication
  • Risk assessing your organisation, including for historical claims
  • When investigations go wrong – lessons learned
  • Not on your watch! - recent case law reviews