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Workplace Relations Conference

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Workplace Relations Conference

Date & TimeTBC
Format Conference, Webinar





CPD Units 6
  • Ethics & Professional Responsibility
  • Professional Skills
  • Practice Management & Business Skills
  • Substantive Law
Venue Online, Digital Delivery View Map

The 2021 conference program features a keynote address by Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker and explores the latest developments in employment law, the implications of remote working for employees and employers, and managing psycho-social risks within the workplace.

Do not miss this opportunity to debate key developments in the sector and connect with leading industry heads, barristers and reputed employment law practitioners.

Further details below.

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Program Overview

  • Workplace Relations Conference - Friday 26 Feb
    • 8:50 AM Webinar Launch
      The webinar will launch ten minutes before the conference begins. Log in early to test your settings and familiarise yourself with webinar features.
    • 9:00 AM Conference Opening & Welcome
    • 9:10 AM Keynote Address – The Regulator’s View

      Courtesy of the pandemic, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) saw an unprecedented demand for its services since mid-March 2020 with the average number of calls to its infoline and FWO’s main and coronavirus websites increasing by over 40%.

      With the organisation at the frontline of navigating employment law complexities arising from the changes to awards and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in 2020, it is uniquely positioned to provide a perspective on current and future challenges as businesses and employees recover from the impact of COVID-19 .

      In this keynote session, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker will cover a range of critical issues including:

      • how the FWO is approaching enforcement, recovery and litigation policy
      • trends in the types of contraventions being referred to the FWO
      • considerations for employment practitioners to bear in mind when dealing with these contraventions

      Compliance area: Substantive Law

      Keynote: Sandra Parker PSM, Fair Work Ombudsman

    • 10:00 AM Wellbeing Break
    • 10:10 AM Paying the Piper: Penalties under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

      Courts are increasingly imposing significant penalties for serious contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), with a recent Federal Court judgment ordering a café and its general manager to pay penalties in excess of $230,000 for multiple breaches of the Act and the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.

      In this context, it is essential that practitioners understand the complexities of how penalties are imposed and the potential personal liability that may apply to individuals involved in a contravention, even though they may not be the employer.

      This practical session will enhance your understanding of the penalties available for contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), how they are applied by courts and how to support your clients who may be exposed to these penalties.

      Compliance area: Substantive Law

      Speaker: Fiona Knowles, Barrister, Victorian Bar, Accredited Specialist, Workplace Relations

    • 10:40 AM Morning Tea Break
    • 10:50 AM Flexible Working, Bullying Through a Screen & Restructures: Dealing with the consequences of COVID-19

      According to a national survey by the University of Sydney, 2020 precipitated the biggest change to work arrangements for Victorian workers, with 45% working from home during the pandemic compared to 20% beforehand. 

      Join our expert panellists as they discuss some of the hidden issues of the "working from home revolution" and risk areas to be aware of when advising on  or dealing with these issues themselves. Topics covered will include:

      • Bullying while working from home – employer expectations, communications and changing duties
      • Workplace safety when working remotely – what employers can do to ensure safer working spaces from home
      • Flexible working arrangements – where does this leave women in the workplace?
      • The impact of government policy changes – wage subsidies and consequent discrimination of older workers, and insolvency legislation changes and their impact on disadvantaged employees

      This session will incorporate a Q&A component where you will have the opportunity to ask the panellists questions about these issues and discuss your experiences.

      Compliance area: Substantive Law/Practice Management & Business Skills

      Moderator: Josh Bornstein, Managing Principal, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers


      • Deputy President Clancy, Fair Work Commission
      • Michele O’Neil, President, Australian Council of Trade Unions
      • Melissa Scadden, Partner, Justitia

    • 11:40 AM Wellbeing Break
    • 11:45 AM Recent Employment Law Cases & Updates

      With the sheer volume of employment matters being heard before courts and tribunals on a daily basis, staying on top of case law developments relevant to your practice can be hard work. Add that to conflicting case authorities and the industrial relations reform on the horizon and before you know it, half a billable day disappears in legal research.

      This practical session will save you time and effort by covering the most recent developments in employment law, their significance for employers and employees and will offer tips that you can take back to the businesses you advise.

      Topics covered will include:

      • Workpac v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84
      • Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd v AMWU & Ors [2020] HCA 29
      • An update on the government industrial relations taskforces and the reforms anticipated
      • Social media in the workplace – the rise and rise of employee activism through lockdowns
      • Decisions arising from the JobKeeper program including redundancies and enabling directions

      Compliance area: Substantive Law

      Speaker: Dimitri Ternovski, Barrister Victorian Bar

    • 12:30 PM Lunch & Virtual Networking
    • 1:15 PM Workplace Sexual Harassment: The legal profession’s reckoning

      One in four legal professionals have personally experienced sexual harassment in the legal sector within the last 12 months and 57% within the last 5 years.

      This experience is strongly gendered with women in the legal sector significantly more likely to have experienced sexual harassment in their careers (61%) when compared to men (12%).

      In the context of this data and the developments over the past year with high-profile business leaders and legal professionals facing allegations of sexual harassment, we have seen an exposition of what most members of the profession know to be true – that sexual harassment in the legal profession is longstanding and is an intractable problem in its incidence, reporting and effects.

      This highlight session will speak to the findings of the Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report (2020), what they mean for employment lawyers and the way forward for the profession.  

      Compliance area: Practice Management & Business Skills

      Speaker: Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission

    • 2:00 PM Wellbeing Break
    • 2:05 PM It’s a crime!: Workplace manslaughter and wage theft in Victoria

      Victoria saw an increasing criminalisation of its employment related laws in 2020 following the introduction of workplace manslaughter and wage theft legislation.

      With workplace manslaughter now a criminal offence, employers may be exposed to up to $16.5 million in penalties with jail time also on the cards for directors and officers of up to 25 years. Similarly, with the Wage Theft Act 2020 (Vic), the new offences carry a maximum penalty for a company of $991,320 and imprisonment for up to 10 years.

      But what do these new laws mean for your practice and your clients? And how have courts interpreted and applied the new provisions? This insightful session will take you through the key elements to be on top of as you advise in this area and the proactive steps you can take to safeguard your client’s interests. 

      Compliance area: Substantive Law


      • Matthew Minucci, Barrister, Victorian Bar
      • Rob Jackson, Principal, Rigby Cooke
    • 2:50 PM Wellbeing Break
    • 3:00 PM Resilience & Recovery Mindset

      Reflecting on the realities of how life has changed over the past year and as we emerge into a post-COVID world, this insightful session will focus on practical strategies you can employ to build resilience and manage your wellbeing.

      Compliance area: Professional Skills/Practice Management & Business Skills

      Speaker: Leann Jones, Principal Consultant, FBG Group

    • 3:45 PM Afternoon Tea Break
    • 3:50 PM Ethics at Work: Interactive panel discussion

      Join our panel for a thought-provoking discussion about some of the most frequent ethical challenges faced by employment lawyers.

      Moderated by Michael Dolan, the LIV’s Special Counsel – Ethics, our experienced panellists will share ethical issues they’ve encountered over their employment law career and how they resolved them to assist you to identify and manage these issues as they arise in your own practice.

      The panel’s discussion will focus on how employment lawyers can best balance their paramount duty to the court and the administration of justice with their duty to advocate fearlessly for a client.

      Compliance area: Ethics & Professional Responsibility


      • Mr Chris Gianatti, Director, Kelly Hazell Quill
      • Ms Carol Andrades, Consultant, Gordon Legal
      • EJ Wise, Principal, WiseLaw

      Moderator: Michael Dolan, Special Counsel, Ethics and Professional Practice, Law Institute of Victoria

    • 5:00 PM Conference Close

Further Details

  • Full Description

    Employment law evolves and transforms as quickly as the world around us. With the past year seeing significant changes in the way we live and work this has translated to the laws that govern work and the practice of employment law itself.

    As we move into 2021 and practitioners continue to deal with the impacts of the pandemic, new challenges lie on the horizon including upcoming industrial relations reforms, the criminalisation of wage theft and workplace manslaughter, and the ongoing effects of remote working on employees and practitioners.

    The LIV’s Workplace Relations Conference cuts to the core of these complex issues to enhance your understanding and assist you to efficiently navigate this area of practice.  

    Featuring a keynote presentation by Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker, don’t miss this opportunity to debate key developments in the sector and connect with industry leaders and reputed practitioners in the field.

    Virtual Conference Inclusions

    • Opportunities to ask questions and interact with our presenters and other attendees via polls, Q&As and digital breakout rooms
    • Short wellbeing breaks following each speaker so you can get up and stretch your legs
    • Supplementary reading material, including PowerPoint presentations used by speakers, emailed to all registrants following the conference
    • Complimentary recording of the conference

    Registration Details

    Online registrations close 24 hours before this event begins. If you would like to book after online registration has closed, please contact the events team on 03 9607 9473 or

    Full Pricing Details

    Standard member price: $495
    Accredited Specialist/Young Lawyer/CLC/Tarwirri member price: $338
    Non-member price: $650

    Webinar Details

    LIV webinars offer an interactive learning experience – wherever you are, from any device – and are run through Zoom. Register as you would any of our other in-person education and we’ll send you the webinar link and log in details the day before the event date.

    Please Note: Instructions are sent to the primary email address linked to your LIV account. If you do not receive an email from us, check the contact details in your LIV profile to confirm the correct email. If you have not received instructions from us within an hour of the event, please contact the events team at or 03 9607 9473.

    For additional information on LIV webinars, see our Frequently Asked Questions.

  • Presenters

    Keynote: Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker

    Fiona Knowles, Barrister, Victorian Bar, Accredited Specialist, Workplace Relations

    Deputy President Clancy, Fair Work Commission

    Michele O’Neil, President, Australian Council of Trade Unions

    Melissa Scadden, Partner, Justitia

    Dimitri Ternovski, Barrister Victorian Bar

    Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission

    Matthew Minucci, Barrister, Victorian Bar

    Rob Jackson, Principal, Rigby Cooke

    Leann Jones, Principal Consultant, FBG Group

    Chris Gianatti, Director, Kelly Hazell Quill

    Carol Andrades, Consultant, Gordon Legal

    EJ Wise, Principal, WiseLaw

    Michael Dolan, Special Counsel, Ethics and Professional Practice, Law Institute of Victoria

  • November–March CPD Program

    Make your points count with the LIV

    To maximise flexibility and support you in fulfilling your CPD requirements for the 2020/21 practising year, the LIV has expanded its usual February and March CPD program to begin November 2020.

    The convenient online program is divided into two parts:

    • Part 1 ran from November to December 2020. Recordings of part 1 sessions will be available for purchase on the LIV site, allowing you to earn CPD points in your own time, at your own pace.
    • Part 2 runs from February to March 2021. It contains 22 sessions across 14 practice areas and features the established CPD intensives and conferences you've come to expect, as well as a blend of live webinars and recordings of previous LIV CPD.

    As with all LIV professional development, this program has been developed in collaboration with LIV committees and industry experts. It features a compelling line-up of high calibre speakers and covers 19 practice areas, all compliance areas and all career stages. Choose from a variety of options and formats to fit your schedule.

    Learn more about the November–March CPD Program.