Equal Employment Opportunity, Discrimination, Harassment and Diversity

Minter Ellison’s practice is at the cutting edge of this area of law and is sought out by both public and private sector clients. Our proactive and commercial approach to resolving these issues is underpinned by our understanding of their sensitivity, particularly relating to reputational impact.

We advise our clients not only on work-related discrimination but also on discrimination in the provision of goods and services, access to transport, access to premises, sport and education.

We assist our clients with proactive measures to avoid discrimination complaints, including ensuring that policies/procedures and training comply with both legislation and industry/best practice. The firm owns an online training provider, Safetrac – its equal opportunity, discrimination and bullying courses are well regarded and used by hundreds of employers – including ourselves.

Where complaints are made, we take a pragmatic and commercial approach to attempt to resolve matters as early as possible. We advise clients on dealing with the matter internally, including advising about and conducting investigations and on the measures to be implemented to deal with complaints. If a complaint is made to an external body, our approach is a strategic one. We carefully consider both jurisdictional and out of time issues, as well as whether there is a real benefit to providing a detailed response, with a view to minimising costs. We try, where possible, to resolve complaints at the earliest possible stage and avoid proceeding to a hearing. Where this is unavoidable, we provide realistic advice about prospects during the preparation phase and as the matter progresses. We have appeared for clients in high profile and complex proceedings.

We advise clients on the complex interactions between discrimination, harassment and bullying laws and other laws – including termination claims (such as adverse action and unfair dismissal claims), managing ill workers, OH&S and privacy.

An increasing part of our practice is in assisting clients with the development and implementation of diversity policy and strategy. Recently, we have partnered with a number of our clients in advising boards about compliance with the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations concerning diversity.

We also conduct investigations protected by legal professional privilege for clients in particularly sensitive cases.

Because we are at the forefront of these areas of law, we are able to educate our clients about new trends and developments, including bullying, adverse action and escalation procedures generally (including claims against senior executives).

Providing legal services to the insurance industry is about more than just giving the best advice. It requires deep industry understanding, an appreciation of issues and challenges facing insurers and the ability to adapt to changing client needs.

Minter Ellison’s insurance practice is one of the largest in Australia and truly national. Our knowledge of the insurance industry is second to none and it enables us to tailor advice that focuses on the client and their business objectives. Minter Ellison has been awarded Law Firm of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time – 2007, 2008, 2009 and now 2011.

We are the only top tier law firm in Australia to maintain a comprehensive ‘front end’ practice (policy wording/drafting and advice, corporate advisory, reinsurance, agency agreements) and ‘back end’ claims practice (including professional indemnity, D&O, product liability, asbestos, life, marine, aviation, self insureds, government and industrial special risks). We also have significant expertise defending litigation (including class actions) on complex insurance issues.

We have strong professional links with peak industry bodies and consistently support associations through attendance, presentations, sponsorship and involvement in working groups. Our industry involvement assists us to advise clients effectively on the impact of legislative and regulatory changes.

17 April 2014

Changes to gender reporting requirements under the new Workplace Gender Equality Act 2014 (Cth) will see tighter requirements placed on universities, the first of which is a submission to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency by 31 May 2014. The new Act replaces the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Cth) to more accurately reflect and promote the issues of men and women in the workplace, and universities will be expected to transition to the new reporting and compliance framework over the next two years.

18 March 2013

The PRC Supreme Court recently issued its Interpretation on several issues related to labour dispute cases effective from 1 February 2013. The Interpretation clarified several matters relating to labour law such as service year calculations for employees transferred from one entity to another one, non-compete restrictions, notification requirements of trade unions for early termination of employment, employment of foreign nationals and the validity of change of labour contracts orally.

2012/2013

This user friendly guide provides answers to some of the most common questions companies face when employing foreign nationals or nationals working abroad. Our Employment Law team dissect the legislation to give you clear advice on employment restrictions, recruitment checks and the 'permission to work' approval process. A step by step section will explain the rights, obligations and entitlements of both parties under the employment contract, including an overview of remuneration and bonuses, tax payments and lawful termination procedures.

16 July 2012

With a view to improve the protection of workers' rights and interests and better regulate the labour dispatch regime, on 6 July 2012, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China released the Draft Amendments to PRC Labour Contract Law. This Alert outlines the five primary modifications to the labour dispatch regime contained in the draft amendments.