Kate Pennicott
Special Counsel, Brisbane
I work in partnership with clients to manage a broad range of complex people and workplace issues. I advise on all aspects of the employment relationship, investigations and statutory compliance.

I have a deep understanding and interest in the particular complexities and challenges encountered in the Higher Education sector.

I regularly guide employers through complex investigations, conduct and performance processes, enterprise bargaining, industrial disputes, regulatory and administrative matters. I have considerable litigation experience and have represented large organisations in employment, industrial relations and discrimination matters before a range of Commissions, Tribunals and Courts.

Career highlights

  • Advising higher education institutions in relation to all statutory, employment and enterprise bargaining issues and disputes. Recent examples include an active advisory role in the negotiation, voting and approval process for two enterprise agreements, defending a high profile racial vilification case brought against staff and students, and the conduct of a large scale external inquiry into allegations of research misconduct.
  • Acting for numerous employers in proceedings under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), including complex adverse action proceedings in the Federal Court, unfair dismissal, disputes under enterprise agreements, industrial action and stop bullying applications.
  • Regularly acting in relation to sensitive, confidential and reputation-critical matters – including sexual harassment, discrimination and racial vilification, crime and corruption matters, whistleblowing/public interest disclosures, parallel HR processes and managing difficult employees.
  • Conducting training and seminars for executives, legal counsel and HR professionals about a range of matters, including appropriate workplace behaviour, conducting investigations, performance management and managing mental health issues.