McKays Industrial Relations, Employment, Workplace and Safety team looks after employers of all types and sizes.

McKays Industrial Relations, Employment, Workplace and Safety team is highly skilled commercially focused and able to deliver practical outcomes for your workplace, your business and your industry, ensuring that all the legal and business implications are taken into account.

Employers need an effective, functioning workforce. That sets the strategic basis for all employment and workplace advice we give. Our technical knowledge and practical legal skills mean employers can achieve the best result whether that be across an entire enterprise or division or a case involving a single employee.

The McKays Industrial Relations, Employment, Workplace and Safety team can look after all issues facing employers including:

  • Unfair dismissal – advice and representation;
  • General Protections application is – prevention and defence;
  • Discrimination and harassment – advice and defence of claims;
  • Restraint of trade/unfair competition – contractual arrangements and enforcement;
  • Redundancy, relocation and redeployment – strategies and implementation ;
  • Awards – advice and interpretation;
  • Enterprise Bargaining and collective agreements – drafting, advising and negotiating;
  • Fair Work Commission orders – including bargaining orders, serious breach declarations, majority support determinations, scope orders, injunctions et cetera;
  • Queensland Industrial Relations Commission – representation and advice;
  • Industrial disputes – advice and representation;
  • Employment contracts and ancillary agreements – drafting and interpreting;
  • Workplace policies;
  • In-house training;
  • Recruitment procedures and advice;
  • Business sales and purchases – employment aspect;
  • Compliance issues and advice, Commonwealth and State;
  • Work Health and Safety –
    • Workplace policies and procedure;
    • Workplace investigations and records of interview;
    • WHS prosecutions and Enforceability Undertakings;
    • Contractor management systems;
    • Training and education;
    • Risk minimisation (prosecution, commercial and reputational).

Work Health and Safety

Our team is recognised by its clients and peers for their safety expertise and experience across a number of industries including construction, mining, manufacturing, transport (and marine), energy, aged care and education.

Our approach includes:

  1. Helping you to recognise the extent of your safety obligation – both for the business and its managers in their personal capacity
  2. Compliance steps to meeting the requirements of safety legislation
  3. Quick response — incidents can happen at any time and you need a team to respond quickly and to help strategically manage any incident in a way that returns operations to running with risks accounted for and managed. We consider the wider implications of incidents to your business.
  4. Representation — to ensure minimal impact on your business, we work with regulators to achieve the best outcome. We have a significant track record in achieving commercial outcomes in otherwise difficult situations, including achieving acquittals on behalf of clients.

Work Health and Safety Services

  • A 24/7 response team.
  • Advising clients on the impact of changes to WHS law and trends.
  • Managing incidents, liaising with regulators, police, emergency services and coroners, advising on regulators’ powers and providing both companies and individuals with information on their rights and responsibilities.
  • Advising on notices issued by the regulators and the ability to have these notices considered.
  • Advising on employee issues arising out of WHS related matters such as disputes, discrimination and disciplinary action, workers compensation issues, rehabilitation and premium impacts.
  • Representation at coronial inquests and prosecutions.
  • Assisting in the development and review of safety systems including incident protocols and contractor management systems.
  • Developing and delivering tailored WHS training and education to assist businesses meet their obligations.

We practice as an integrated workplace, employment and safety team, so that our industrial experience is particularly useful and relevant where safety issues flow over into industrial relations.

Discrimination and Bullying

Employers across many industries are experiencing increased harassment, bullying and discrimination complaints by current and former employees.  Prevention is definitely better than cure and we are committed to helping our clients prevent harassment, bullying and discriminatory conduct from taking place in the workplace.  As well, we assist clients in complying with anti-discrimination legislation, common law and statutory duties relating to their employee’s wellbeing at work.

We draft and review policies and procedures tailored to your workplace and operations, including in relation to equal opportunity, affirmative action, flexible working arrangements, discrimination, sexual harassment and workplace bullying.

To ensure you stay on top of the issues, we also provide training for management and employees and can assist with the investigation, handling and resolution of employee complaints. We frequently represent clients in state and federal tribunals, and advise generally on risk management.

In the event that these proactive steps do not prevent a claim being made, our team is able to assist our clients in defending a claim before the relevant tribunals or courts. When it is in your best interests, our focus is on the early resolution of claims.  When this does not happen however, we are experienced in managing and conducting litigious matters and achieving great results for our clients.

Discrimination and Bullying Services

  • Preparing and reviewing policies in relation to equal employment opportunities, affirmative action, flexible working arrangements, discrimination, sexual harassment and workplace bullying.
  • Provision of compliance training for managers and employees.
  • Conducting independent workplace investigations into complaints of inappropriate workplace conduct.
  • Advising in relation to compliance with anti-discrimination legislation and other common law and
  • statutory duties.
  • Representing clients in defense of claims brought by current and former employees in tribunals and courts.

Workplace training

Staying current with the ever evolving regulation and compliance requirements is a challenge.  Translating the legal and regulatory complexity into plain, comprehendible English is a further challenge.

The team at McKays provides comprehensive workplace training programs that are delivered in an informative and interactive way, so that attendees are able to take key learning and make those learnings immediately applicable to the workplace.

The McKays team have consistently been rate as excellent presenters who are able to take legalise and sometimes complex legal ideas and turn them into practicable and applicable actions that non-lawyers can understand.

Workplace training programs

  • Understanding the work health and safety obligation (how to kick health and safety goals)
  • Managing a work health and safety incident
  • Successful Workplace Investigations
  • Sickies, Dr Holiday and getting them back to work – Managing Ill and Injured Employees
  • Performance Management
  • Managing a employment termination process – what is fair and what is lawful
  • Workplace Behaviour – maintaining a safe workplace

Employer's Survival Kit

Employment Law issues can pose risks to any business. Innovative solutions are now required to minimise these risks from problems arising in the workplace. McKays' Employer's Survival Kit provides practical advice and recommendations for your business and gives you the opportunity to receive training sessions, telephone advice, reviewing and maintaining of employment contracts and much more.

Download Guide

  • Industrial Manslaughter legislative amendments and their relevance for you

    27-Oct-2017

    Recently, the Queensland Parliament (Labor with the help of the Katter Party) passed the proposed industrial manslaughter amendments into law. The amendments broaden responsibility for workplace related deaths and substantially increases the potential penalty. The new offence of industrial m..

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  • The most effective and misunderstood tool for employers to eliminate the risk of unfair dismissal claims… guaranteed!

    19-Sep-2017

    To their own emotional and out of pocket cost, many employers do not understand the ‘minimum employment period’ that applies to their employees… That statement is proven by the regularity of enquiry we receive from employers about how to manage the risks of dismissing an employee whos..

    Read More

  • The penalty increase is on

    27-Jul-2017

    In March of this year, we reported on an important decision about increased work health and safety fines in Queensland. This followed the District Court of Queensland’s decision in Williamson v VH & MG Imports Pty Ltd [2017] QDC 56. In that decision, the District Court of Queensland held tha..

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  • Casual workers will have the right to demand a permanent full-time or part-time job after 12 months

    19-Jul-2017

    In an important decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), the FWC has decided to insert a provision for the conversion of casual employment to full-time part-time employment into all Awards. The decision was part of the FWC’s 4 yearly review of Awards. Some awards already contain a c..

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  • Restraints aren’t worth the paper they’re written on… and other Urban Myths…

    22-Jun-2017

    As employment lawyers, we often advise clients about employment restraints. Very often we have to start by correcting some common urban myths… Urban myth 1 is, “Employment restraints aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.” Urban myth 2 is, “You can’t protect your business..

    Read More

  • Newsflash to labour hire businesses – New regulatory laws may be passed later this month

    20-May-2017

    On Labour Day the Queensland Premier announced the introduction of a new licensing regime for labour hire operators. The stated purpose of the new laws is to “crack-down on rogue operators who are exploiting and mistreating vulnerable workers.”1 The new measures follow an inquiry by the..

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  • To pay or not to pay, that is the question?

    25-Apr-2017

    During the recent weather events many businesses shut, resulting in employees being sent home and not being able to return to work for a few days. A question we are hearing from employers is;“Do we have to pay the staff?”. Similarly, we have had friends (employees) ask us, “Isn’t it si..

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  • Tattoos in the workplace

    12-Apr-2017

    A recent story carried by many news outlets has put the spotlight on tattoos in the workplace. Chontelle McGoldrick, a 21 year old woman applied for a job with Qantas and Emirates. Her application was rejected because of a small tattoo about 2cm across on her ankle. She was told that if she..

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  • ABCC Guidelines on Compliant Enterprise Agreement

    24-Mar-2017

    The ABCC has released new guidance material dealing with various (typical) enterprise agreement clauses used in the construction industry, and identifying whether those clauses will comply with the 2016 Construction Code (Code). Employers in the construction industry that are covered..

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  • Fair Work Commission rules to reduce Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for some workers

    16-Feb-2017

    The long awaited decision by the Fair Work Commission was handed down yesterday as part of its 4 yearly review of awards and penalty rates. The FWC decided to reduce Sunday penalty rates and public holiday penalty rates in awards covering the hospitality, retail, fast food and pharmacy sectors. ..

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  • Where do you sit in the Hierarchy?

    15-Feb-2017

    Training, signage and personal protective equipment (PPE) are some of the more visible and “go to” risk control measures adopted throughout workplaces. These types of controls are often the first that come to mind because they are more visible, more easily recognised and easier to implement ..

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  • Former employees “stealing” staff and customers on the rise… How employers can fight back

    20-Jan-2017

    It seems like every week we hear a new story where a business owner has had a former employee either: Steal their customers; Steal their staff; or Steal their systems or other intellectual property. In some cases, customers, staff and intellectual property have all been targeted. ..

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  • Queensland passes the Industrial Relations Bill 2016

    13-Dec-2016

    Last week, the Queensland Parliament passed the Industrial Relations Bill 2016. This Bill is to commence operation in early 2017, as the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (IRA 2016). The IRA 2016, repeals and replaces the current Industrial Relations Act 1999. In doing so it mostly adopts the ex..

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  • Legislative amendment puts employers at risk for personal injury claims from child sexual abuse

    02-Dec-2016

    A recent and important legislative amendment in Queensland removed the limitation period for actions for damages for personal injury resulting from child sexual abuse. This reform is particularly relevant to employers who could be vicariously liable to victims who, as a result of the employer’s ..

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  • Amendments to the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act

    12-Nov-2016

    Recent amendments to the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) significantly affect indemnity clauses in service agreements. The amendment is especially important for contractors and labour hire businesses that use or supply labour into the mining and construction industries. ..

    Read More

  • New unfair contract laws … what they are and how they will affect you

    10-Nov-2016

    On 12 November 2016, new unfair contract laws come into force. They offer opportunities for contractors but also pose some risks. Contracts affected The new laws apply to certain ‘standard form contracts’ entered into on or after 12 November 2016. The laws also apply to any terms of exist..

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  • Why “off the shelf” employment contracts can leave you at risk

    15-Oct-2016

    Imagine paying an employee an annualised salary well above their award wage only to have the employee pursue a claim for unpaid award entitlements after they leave. You might think this will never happen to you because your employment contract expressly provides that all and any award allowa..

    Read More

  • Labour hire businesses, be aware of this ruling!

    14-Oct-2016

    Labour hire businesses face a dilemma when the relationship between the labour hire business’s worker and host employer breaks down to the extent that the host employer demands that the worker is removed from site, or even revokes the permission for that worker to attend at the site. In the ..

    Read More

  • Vicarious Liability is now too expensive to ignore

    10-Aug-2016

    Ever since the Richardson decision (a decision of Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia) the cost to businesses for vicarious liability for acts by their employees of discrimination, sexual harassment or harassment and bullying can no longer be treated lightly. Until now, the minimal dama..

    Read More

  • Swearing in the workplace: is it acceptable by law?

    27-Jul-2016

    Standards of behavior expected of employees can be a difficult thing to navigate, particularly behavior that leads to termination of employment. Whether words are said in a moment of frustration, to add emphasis to a message, or over a series of events, one thing is clear from recent Fair Work d..

    Read More

  • How the election affects employers – Liberal or Labor

    04-Jun-2016

    We are all waiting to see who actually wins this election. While we wait, employers can look at what the world might hold for them on the workplace relations front under each party. Labor Government If the Labor Party manages to form Government, the affect on employers will probably lar..

    Read More

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