People

Kate Walawski - Special Counsel

Kate has a number of years experience in Industrial and Employment Law matters.

Overview Experience Contact

Kate has practised almost exclusively in workplace relations and employment law for the duration of her career. Kate specialises in providing tailored and pragmatic advice and adopts a strategic approach to helping her clients navigate the complexities of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and the broader employment law landscape.

Kate provides her clients with legal expertise in relation to all aspects of employment law arising under common law, state workplace and OH&S laws, the Fair Work reforms and Australian safety net systems, including compliance with the National Employment Law Standards and the modern awards. She has extensive experience in developing strategies for organisational change, conducting workplace audits and investigations, developing and implementing workplace policies and procedures and conducting workshops and training for managers and staff.

Kate advises and represents both individual and corporate clients across a wide range of industries and her experience across the full range of employment and workplace issues sees her regularly appear in the Federal Circuit Court, the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts of Western Australia, in the Fair Work Commission, the Western Australian Industrial Magistrates Court and the Industrial Relations Commission, and in the Equal Opportunity Commission and the State Administrative Tribunal.

As an Accredited Mediator, Kate has an established history of being able to facilitate the resolution of workplace disputes, with a focus to avoid protracted and costly litigation proceedings.

Areas of Practice

  • Provided strategic advice and representation in relation to an unfair dismissal application.
  • Conducted workshops and provided appropriate training to line managers in relation to performance management, workplace bullying and harassment and managing ill and injured employees.
  • Conducted legal due diligence for a major business acquisition, provided strategic advice and assisted in the transfer of 180 employees, provided ongoing compliance advice in satisfying employer obligations arising under the applicable legislation and industrial instruments.
  • Drafted and implemented appropriate employment contracts (including commission-based contracts), provided advice on managing contractors in the workplace and assisted with claims of “sham” arrangements under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
  • Provided strategic advice regarding the enforceability of restraint of trade provisions, post-termination obligations and alleged breaches of confidentiality.
  • Provided strategic advice and participated in negotiated settlements arising from the termination of an executive director.
  • Provided strategic advice and representation in relation to a Federal Circuit Court adverse action application.
  • Provided ongoing strategic and compliance advice regarding modern award entitlements, conditions of employment, and the implementation of a new structure including contract review and negotiation of new contracts with senior employees and executives.
  • Provided strategic advice and assistance following a fatality on site including conducted an investigation, implemented control measures, advised on exposure and likely prosecution, and liaised directly with regulators on behalf of the client with respect to employee interviews and notices to produce.
  • Provided strategic advice and assistance in managing a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation arising from alleged underpayments.
  • Managed the voluntary redundancy process and the implementation of a new structure including contract review and negotiation of new contracts with management and executive staff, including the drafting and preparation of an ESOP.
  • Provided strategic advice and assisted in the restructuring of the workforce, provided comprehensive advice regarding modern award compliance and calculating and structuring remuneration packages, and provided a suite of template documents including employment agreements (maximum term, casual, permanent), letters of offer, workplace policies and procedures, codes of conduct and a deed governing the use of intellectual property.
  • Provided advice and assistance in relation to managing ill and injured employees.
  • Provided advice in relation to and drafted executive director agreements, and provided advice in relation to international mobility including cross-jurisdictional application of employment laws (Africa and Asia-Pacific).
  • Provided strategic advice and assisted in the restructuring of the workforce, provided comprehensive advice regarding modern award compliance, provided advice and assistance in managing a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation arising from alleged underpayments and franchisee compliance.
  • Provided advice with respect to the enforceability of restraint of trade provisions in contracts of prospective employees.
  • Provided advice and representation to executive employees arising from breach of contract, unfair dismissal and adverse action. 
  • Advised on enterprise bargaining strategy including negotiating in “good faith”, the bargaining process and managing trade unions generally.
  • Drafted and advised on executive contracts of employments including contractual bonus entitlements, drafted and advised on workplace policies and procedures and provided advice regarding employee rights and employer obligations arising under the National Employment Standards, including in relation to flexible work arrangements and parental leave.
  • Provided strategic advice and conducted multiple workplace investigations into alleged breaches of IT and drug and alcohol policies, code of conduct and safety procedures.
  • Conducted a safety investigation arising from allegations of serious misconduct.
  • Undertook a legally privileged workplace investigation in relation to allegations of bullying and discrimination.
  • Provided strategic advice and assisted in the restructure of the workforce including advising on and overseeing the implementation of genuine redundancy processes.
  • Provided advice and representation in relation to an adverse action claim and negotiated a settlement with the CFMEU.
  • Provided advice and representation in relation to claims of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
  • Provided advice and representation arising from an unfair dismissal in the state jurisdiction.
  • Provided strategic advice and assistance in managing a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation arising from alleged underpayments.
  • Provided advice regarding employee entitlements arising from a sale of business, provided advice with respect to an industrial and employee relations strategy during a downturn.
  • Conducted an investigation into drink driving by an employee in a company car during working hours resulting in injury and damage.
  • Provided advice and assisted with, managed and conducted investigations and disciplinary processes (including misconduct, performance management and termination).
  • Advised, negotiated and drafted enterprise agreements, senior executive contracts, template employment contracts for casual, labour hire, permanent and maximum term employees, consultancy agreements and independent contractor agreements, practice service agreements, confidentiality agreements, codes of conduct, workplace policies and procedures and employee handbooks.
  • Provided advice and representation to employees arising from unfair dismissals, unlawful terminations, adverse actions and bullying.