Amanda Watt
As a long-term, trusted advisor, I am passionate about assisting my private and public sector clients to deliver strategically aligned, practical and sustainable workplace solutions that maximise the potential of their workforces. Together we stay focused on the overall strategy as we navigate daily challenges - many of which are sensitive and difficult employee management issues, often involving senior staff.
  • +61 3 8608 2888
  • +61 411 021 144

My priority is to always protect organisational reputation using my experience and understanding of risk management, particularly in employee relations and culture and managing key stakeholder expectations.

I advise on:

  • Workplace transformation precipitated by restructures and achieving positive workplace cultural change.
  • Enterprise agreement negotiations and strategy.
  • Managing and mitigating the effects of industrial action.
  • Resolving sensitive employment and discrimination grievances, including by working with multi-disciplinary teams, particularly where mental health issues are involved, executive separation negotiations and general protections disputes.
  • Developing strategy and navigating employment law risks and legislative compliance requirements in the transfer of public assets to the private sector.
  • Devising Innovative workplace solutions that take account of regulatory and policy frameworks and meet business imperatives.
  • Advising departments and agencies on drafting amendments to employment legislation and responding to independent reports of regulators.

I also have a significant understanding of employment and professional conduct regulatory frameworks, working with regulators to successfully discharge their statutory duties and, in doing so, protect the public.

Career highlights

  •  I am a go-to advisor for sensitive matters with high level reputational risk or potentially damaging industrial, political and bottom-line outcomes. For example, I worked on the team that successfully defended a high-profile adverse action claim, initially before the Federal Court and again on appeal to the Full Court. This case clarified the law in respect of adverse action applications concerning employment complaints under section 341 of the Fair Work Act. Significantly, costs of the appeal and parts of the original trial were ordered against the applicant in what is generally a 'no costs' jurisdiction.
  • Much of the work I do is highly sensitive and confidential – a few recent examples include managing bullying complaints involving senior executives, guiding boards on executive separations and sensitive complaints, assisting with a potential discrimination class action, developing the employment law strategy for a long term lease of public assets to the private sector, assisting with the enterprise bargaining strategies and management of good faith bargaining claims regarding enterprise agreements for various Commonwealth agencies and various Victorian government departments and agencies, as well as guiding an authority to comply with its reporting obligations under anti-corruption legislation.
  • I have been independently recognised for many years by Best Lawyers in the areas of Employee Benefits (including as Lawyer of the Year Melbourne for FY2017), Labour and Employment, and Government. I am also recognised by Chambers Global in Employment, which has noted client feedback such as: 'Amanda is an absolute delight to deal with and offers incredible responsiveness.' 'Amanda Watt's broad range of skills includes noted expertise on advising clients on organisational change issues.' I am also recognised as a ‘leading individual’ in Employment Law by Legal 500 Asia Pacific.
  • In addition to leading the Melbourne HR&IR team, I have been a MinterEllison board member since July 2015.