Workplace Solutions Carroll & O’Dea
Published on November 21, 2011
On Thursday 17 November, Peter Punch and our specialist employment law team announced to a well attended briefing held for the Firm’s employment and industrial law clients and contacts in our 18th Floor Conference rooms that, not only does the team have new location – Level 17 of the St James Centre — but they will have a slightly different name – “Workplace Solutions @ Carroll & O’Dea”. More about that if you read on !
The Briefing, which was the latest in the regular gatherings the team hosts for their clients and special contacts, focused on the forthcoming harmonised Work Health and Safety legislation starting 1 January 2012. Among other topics, Senior Associate Janine Smith explained and commented on the new draft Code under that legislation to address the problem of bullying in the workplace, while Associate Helen Anne MacAlister updated everyone on the current law and best practice in dealing with that other big emerging workplace issue – drug and alcohol use/abuse, and how employers need to deal with it. The Briefing also addressed some important employment issues, with solicitor Peter Doughman giving everyone the benefit of both his extensive experience and knowledge of the rapidly developing employment rights in relation to “adverse action”.
As a bonus, we had some distinguished guests to give us the benefit of their vast experience on the subjects of the Briefing – Ralph Warren (a highly experienced senior member of the industrial bar in Sydney and Newcastle) and George Miller, who was Chief Industrial Magistrate for NSW from 1987 to 2005. Ralph gave us his frank opinion on the critical legal and practical issues in the Qantas Dispute and the Equal Remuneration case, while George (with additional comments from Ralph and our team) was able to give the clients present special insights –and some predictions — as to what the new Work Health and Safety laws might hold for all employers and employees from next year. And, no surprise here, there was a lot of speaker/audience interaction (including with our special guests) on bullying — how to identify it, how to deal with it, and how to avoid or at least minimise it.
Peter took the opportunity to introduce “Workplace Solutions @Carroll & O’Dea” to the gathering. Peter explained that the team wanted to mark out their presence in the marketplace for workplace relations services with a title that clearly linked the Firm to what it had been its enduring characteristics over many, many years in providing workplace relations/IR services. That is, focusing on helping clients get prompt, cost effective solutions to their problems, avoiding lengthy disputes and litigation whenever possible. With the move of the team to Level 17, this was the perfect opportunity to reinforce the message we have always tried to give our clients.