New Zealand - Employment Lawyers & Law Firms - Asia-Pacific - Chambers and Partners
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Asia Guide

Employment — New Zealand


Bell Gully - Employment

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Band 1

第一等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Distinguished employment practice serving a blue-chip client base, particularly in employee matters connected with corporate transactions. Handles restructuring and redundancy issues as well as industrial relations engagements, collective agreement negotiations and health and safety matters. Regularly acts on major procurement and contracting projects for public sector entities, and is prominent in reviews of the Holidays Act.

Strengths  Sources point out the team's strength and extensive resources: "They have a very strong team and I highly rate the quality of the advice they give, as well as their pragmatic approach."

A client also states: "I have a very good impression of them, and am happy with the service we get. We refer detailed or technical issues to them."

Work highlights  Represented Rentokil Initial in a prosecution under the previous New Zealand health and safety legislation, in a case where an employee contracted hepatitis B.

Engaged by Nuplex Industries to advise on all aspects of its NZD1 billion acquisition by Allnex Belgium, including the related employment issues such as transferral of employee contracts and pension plans.

Notable practitioners

Head of the employment team Rob Towner advises on the employment aspects of major capital market and M&A deals, as well as complex employment litigation. Clients describe him as "very professional and successful. He's experienced in employment law and has been very good at giving technical advice." He recently advised Lyttelton Port Company on litigation that arose from companies bargaining with the Maritime Union for a new collective agreement, which resulted in Employment Court injunctions to restrain unlawful strike action.

An experienced litigator, Tim Clarke is praised for being "very calm, concise and considered without being dramatic. He avoids the potential problems that can arise in the employment space." His expertise in handling health and safety matters is highlighted, as is his practicality. He was part of the team that defended the Rank Group on two sets of proceedings before the Employment Court over pay entitlements related to the Holidays Act, and advised on the relevant legislation.

Elizabeth Coats has extensive experience advising on redundancy and restructuring issues, disciplinary processes, WorkSafe investigations and restraints of trade. One source commends her "detailed technical knowledge and commercial awareness. She's also quick to adapt to change, experienced, efficient and easy to relate to." A particular focus of her work is advising on non-compliance issues under the Holidays Act. Recently she advised Horizon Services in proceedings for damages and penalties brought by the client against a former employee for breach of contract and good faith, proceedings that were valued at NZD200,000.

Department profile by Bell Gully

​​​​​​Our employment and workplace safety team works with clients to effectively manage all aspects of employment law, industrial relations, health and safety, human rights, privacy, disciplinary and restructuring and redundancy issues. We have a strong appreciation of the needs of employers and we aim to find commercial and innovative solutions to their often complex employment and industrial issues.

Our large and dedicated employment team has broad capability and strength on a national scale. We advise medium to large corporate employers on their rights and responsibilities under New Zealand employment legislation, including the Employment Relations Act, Human Rights Act, Holidays Act, Privacy Act, and health and safety legislation.

The team provides strategic industrial relations advice on bargaining issues, collective agreements, and strikes and lockouts.

We advise blue chip clients on day-to-day issues such as employment contracts, dismissals, restructuring, redundancies, health and safety, employee performance problems and disciplinary situations.

Our employment lawyers regularly participate in disciplinary meetings, attend mediations and appear at investigation meetings and court hearings. The team also advises on the employment aspects of mergers and acquisitions, outsourcings and other commercial transactions.

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SBM Legal - Employment

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Band 1

第一等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Highly recommended specialist employment law firm offering seasoned practitioners. Notable areas of expertise include guiding clients through sensitive workplace investigations and defending unfair dismissal claims, as well as other industrial relations matters. Offers a wealth of experience acting for both employers and employees.

Strengths  Clients appreciate the boutique's specialist knowledge and skill, as well as its excellent service: "They're very professional, experienced and responsive."

Another client appreciates that "they know our business very well, and are familiar with employment-related legislation."

Work highlights  Represented McDonald's Restaurants New Zealand in a test case before the Employment Court, in relation to new legislation on worker availability and flexibility of scheduling.

Provided advice to AUT University in respect of its over 2,000 staff, including negotiating disputes with senior and high-profile academic staff.

Notable practitioners

Kathryn Beck is president of the New Zealand Law Society, and a highly experienced and successful practitioner in the employment law space. Skilled in litigation, she provides several major companies with strategic advice, and is described by one source as a "great and pragmatic practitioner" who is "very wise in her operations." She acted for Pulp & Paper Industrial Union in a successful claim for arrears of holiday pay in the Employment Court.

Don Mackinnon is head of the department with almost 30 years of experience in employment law and industrial relations. His specialist knowledge and reputation as a trustworthy practitioner, particularly in dealing with union disputes, makes him a respected figure. He led the team in advising Foodstuffs North Island on its full industrial relations strategy.

Penny Swarbrick gives clients the benefit of her 30 years of experience, with one source stating that she is a "very accomplished and recognised lawyer. She does very good-quality work, and is very down-to-earth and pragmatic." She successfully defended The Warehouse in both Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court proceedings that were brought by a client who claimed she had been unjustifiably disadvantaged by an alleged workplace injury.

Bridget Smith is known for her skill in handling employment disputes. She led the team advising Coca-Cola NZ regarding the steps required to raise a personal grievance claim under the Employment Relations Act and also on the confidentiality of communications with support officers of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This was a significant case with long-term implications for personal grievance and mediation confidentiality matters.

Department profile by SBM Legal

Department profile not yet provided by SBM Legal. Please see their firm profile.

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Simpson Grierson - Employment

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Band 1

第一等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Skilled team offering strong representation to clients in health and safety compliance and WorkSafe investigations. Also handles employee termination cases and is commended for its handling of industrial relations cases, including unionised employee pay disputes. Superb litigation offering on all levels of the employment court system, and well respected for its work handling Holidays Act matters.

Strengths  Clients highlight the expertise of the team: "They have real depth in their employment and health and safety teams, with the exceptional ability to provide pragmatic and commercially focused advice to all levels of our business."

Another interviewee commends the team as being "responsive and knowledgeable, and able to provide advice in the context of the environment in which we work."

Work highlights  Advised Fletcher Concrete & Infrastructure on the complex issues relating to the contracting of work to a third party, which was strongly opposed by the union representing the affected employees and resulted in proceedings being filed in the Employment Relations Authority.

Successfully defended the Department of Corrections against a claim of unjustified dismissal by an employee.

Notable practitioners

Phillipa Muir has recently successfully tried several significant employment cases, including before the New Zealand Supreme Court. She is consistently described by referees as a top operator and an authority on employment law: "She's excellent: smart, personable, very effective and commercial in her approach. The best I've seen." She advised public and private sector clients on issues with inadvertent non-compliance with the Holidays Act 2003 and their obligations to remedy the holiday pay underpayments.

Head of the employment team in Wellington, Samantha Turner is praised highly by one client, who states: "She's very good at client management, very level-headed and able to see the big picture." Her advice is valued and respected in the market, and she represents a diverse range of clients on complicated matters. She represented the Ministry of Social Development in an appeal to the Employment Court concerning an Employment Relations Authority ruling regarding an unjustified dismissal claim.

John Rooney is an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner with a strong reputation in the area of health and safety legislation. He advised McAlpine Hussman on complex employment issues involved with the payment of stock options to two senior executives, particularly with regard to whether such earnings could be classed as gross earnings under the Holidays Act 2003.

Shan Wilson is a trusted adviser and negotiator with 25 years of experience in the employment space. One source reports: "She's a good operator. I find her really pragmatic." She has often advised some of the team's most significant clients on a range of litigation cases. Recently she co-led the team acting for Fonterra Co-operative Group before the Employment Relations Authority, in a matter concerning a claim of breach of good faith obligations brought by the New Zealand Dairy Workers Union.

Department profile by Simpson Grierson

Department profile not yet provided by Simpson Grierson. Please see their firm profile.

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Buddle Findlay - Employment

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Offers expertise in health and safety matters, including regulatory compliance and defence against WorkSafe prosecutions. Solid reputation for giving commercial and strategic advice to both government entities and private sector clients. Other areas of strength include workplace investigations and disciplinary processes, as well as advising on unfair dismissal claims and restraint of trade disputes.

Strengths  Clients praise the team's flexibility and dedication in its work: "They're very responsive in their approach and very pragmatic. We have a high degree of confidence in their advice."

A second source says that the the team has "a reputation for being very capable employment lawyers, and that's been my experience of them."

Work highlights  Advised and assisted the Unitec Institute of Technology on complex employment issues such as its bargaining strategy for new collective agreements with its unions, and the resolution of employment-related claims through mediation.

Advised KiwiRail on complex litigation brought by a union on behalf of its members, regarding the temporary presence of foreign workers and a potential breach of good faith before the Employment Relations Authority.

Notable practitioners

Peter Chemis is highly praised by referees for the calibre of his advice and knowledge in the employment sector. He is particularly respected as a litigator, one client explaining: "He was very carefully selected for his combination of deep expertise in employment law and his superior litigation ability. He's commercial and pragmatic, and is a very grounding influence in sensitive situations." He defended the Alliance Group against a personal grievance claim for unjustified dismissal filed with the Employment Relations Authority, and filed a strike-out application in response to the claim.

Sherridan Cook leads the Auckland litigation, employment and health and safety teams. He has over 20 years of experience handling a variety of issues, including bargaining with unions and changes to health and safety legislation. One source describes him as a "very considered and helpful" practitioner. He led the team that acted for Newell Brands on its NZD660 million purchase of the Sistema Plastics business, and assisted in the employment aspects of the related purchaser due diligence and potential implications of a risk of employee resignation.

Hamish Kynaston leads the Wellington litigation team, and has over 20 years of experience in employment and health and safety law. One referee reports: "He's very pragmatic, available, and goes the extra mile beyond just giving legal advice." He advised the New Zealand Post on employment implications of a major restructuring that involved fundamental changes to its business, and acted in two sets of proceedings in the Employment Relations Authority filed by the unions whose members may be affected by the change.

Department profile by Buddle Findlay

Department profile not yet provided by Buddle Findlay. Please see their firm profile.

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Dundas Street Employment Lawyers - Employment

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Strong employment boutique noted for its expertise on a range of complex matters, including employee dismissals and internal reviews. Also has a specialist practice in industrial relations matters and collective bargaining agreements, including preventing strike action. Counts many of New Zealand's largest employers among its clients, including a significant number of government entities.

Strengths  Sources rate the team highly for its expertise and collaborative work ethic: "They're a good team which is well resourced, and the staff are multi-skilled. We always end up with seamless service."

Another client describes the group as "dynamic and innovative in the field."

Work highlights  Handled a complex industrial dispute for the Aviation Security Service, and prevented strike action through lockout notices and negotiation with the unions regarding a collective employment agreement.

Successfully advised Housing New Zealand regarding resignation litigation before the Employment Relations Authority, involving changes in the employment regime within New Zealand.

Notable practitioners

Susan Hornsby-Geluk is a highly reputed practitioner in the employment law space. Referees universally agree on her quality: "She goes for gold in a very constructive way, and she's a very sharp-minded lady." She's adept at handling union negotiations regarding strike action, and recently represented District Health Boards in regard to strike action of junior doctors made across the country.

With 20 years' experience, Blair Scotland maintains a strong reputation among clients. As one source explains, "he has a speciality in health and safety, and is incredibly knowledgeable and solid. I have complete and utter trust in him and the advice that he gives. He has a very good presenting style as well as being technically strong." He acted for NZ Fire Service in advising on employment issues related to the nationwide restructuring of the services into one organisation, and adapted to last-minute changes to the relevant legislation.

Rosalind Webby is described as "approachable, friendly and knowledgeable with great customer service. She has an excellent understanding of our business." She regularly assists on complex and high-profile employment matters in New Zealand, including acting for the Aviation Security Service in relation to the removal of an employee from her position as dog handler for the client, a successful defence before the Employment Relations Authority.

Department profile by Dundas Street Employment Lawyers

Department profile not yet provided by Dundas Street Employment Lawyers. Please see their firm profile.

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Kiely Thompson Caisley - Employment

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Boutique firm with a vast network of overseas connections and a prominent position in New Zealand's employment legal sphere. Represents global corporations and major domestic businesses, advising them on health and safety and employment-related immigration issues.

Strengths  The team is lauded for the quality of its service and its management of client relationships. One referee says: "They're very responsive, and I always find that they're professional and quick in getting back to me."

Another client highlights the firm's depth of knowledge: "I'm very pleased with their work. The quality of their advice was particularly impressive."

Work highlights  Represented Air New Zealand against the New Zealand Airline Pilots Association concerning an appeal to the Supreme Court in a dispute that related to a collective agreement.

Successfully represented Micron Security Products in an appeal in the Employment Court concerning a disputed redundancy.

Notable practitioners

Andrew Caisley is best known for his high levels of expertise on collective bargaining and other industrial relations work. Recently he successfully defended Air New Zealand against a claim by the New Zealand Airline Pilots Associationin the Court of Appeal concerning alleged downtraining.

Head of department Peter Kiely has over 30 years' experience as an employment law practitioner, and leverages his wealth of knowledge for an array of large businesses and corporate clients. His work highlights include representing Radius Residential Care in a matter against a union for organising a public protest, and not a permissible paid stop-work meeting. This case judicially defined the term 'union meeting'.

David France is highly valued by clients for the quality of his knowledge and his dedication in maintaining client relationships. One client says: "He truly understands the nature of our business, the issues we have, and their subtleties and nuances. He's a joy to work with, a very good and personable communicator, and I really value his work." He led the team that successfully represented Micron Security Products concerning an employee application to seek leave to appeal against an Employment Court ruling in relation to a redundancy.

Department profile by Kiely Thompson Caisley

Department profile not yet provided by Kiely Thompson Caisley. Please see their firm profile.

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LangtonHudsonButcher - Employment

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Specialist employment boutique recommended for its adept handling of contentious matters, including superannuation payment disputes, constructive dismissal claims and misuse of trade secrets allegations. Also recognised for its counsel on fiduciary duties, economic tort claims, health and safety compliance and industrial relations matters. Fields a large bench of highly experienced practitioners.

Strengths  Clients commend the team's pragmatic approach and the specialist expertise of its practitioners: "What I love about working with them is that they appreciate my level of expertise and pitch knowing my level of understanding without patronising."

Another client declares: "They're very pragmatic and commercial, so they don't fight for the sake of fighting. They're also very fair, and that's what makes them an outstanding firm."

Work highlights  Represented the China Navigation Company in an industrial relations case brought against it by the Maritime Union of New Zealand concerning collective agreements for prospective employees not actually employed by the company.

Advised Les Mills New Zealand in a health and safety prosecution case that considered the extent to which the company was liable for a contractor's actions concerning workplace injury.

Notable practitioners

Stephen Langton is a founding and managing partner of the firm, as well as an experienced adviser on employment law issues. One referee describes him as "incredibly bright and pragmatic. He comes up with novel solutions and has solved all of our problems without fail so far." His work includes acting for a class of plaintiffs in a Holidays Act case regarding deficient holiday pay before the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court.

Emma Butcher is described by one client as "excellent at communicating the risks and issues we faced while also helping me contextualise those in my business risk management." Her broad experience ranges from employment disputes and advisory work through to the employment aspects of major transactions. Lately she appeared as counsel for World TV, defending against a claim of unjustified dismissal in the Employment Relations Authority.

Andrew Schirnack specialises in advising human resources teams within major private corporations and public entities, advising on both employment disputes and advisory work. He co-led work for Lancom Technology in an action in the Employment Relations Authority seeking damages and penalties against two former employees for breaches of the employment agreement concerning misuse of IP.

Department profile by LangtonHudsonButcher

Department profile not yet provided by LangtonHudsonButcher. Please see their firm profile.

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MinterEllisonRuddWatts - Employment

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Notable expertise in employment agreement reviews and business restructurings. Advises clients in the agriculture, transport, healthcare and energy sectors on health and safety and industrial relations. Specialises in immigration and union bargaining matters, along with disciplinary proceedings, employee terminations and workplace investigations.

Strengths  Sources highlight the team's depth of resources and the scope of its expertise: "They always maintained a core contact for us, and they brought in relevant experts as required. They have extensive experience and can advise on multiple areas."

Another client describes the team as "very responsive and business-focused. They have a great profile and high professional integrity."

Work highlights  Represented Youi NZ in bargaining for a collective agreement with a New Zealand union, and provided day-to-day assistance in relation to compliance with New Zealand employment law.

Advised AWF Madison for all employment and health and safety matters, as well as giving strategic advice on restructuring, agreement reviews and disputes.

Notable practitioners

Head of the Auckland practice Gillian Service is praised by one source as a "consummate professional with extensive legal and commercial knowledge." She has experience advising on domestic and international employment matters, and is especially noted for her health and safety law expertise. She advised Qantas Airways and its subsidiary Jetconnnect on a range of health and safety issues for its pilots and crew.

Megan Richards is head of the Wellington practice, with specialist knowledge of executive appointments, redundancies and incentive schemes. She acted for Zespri Group regarding a claim brought by a former employee concerning the termination of his employment as a result of alleged breach of contract. One source states: "She gave us good counsel throughout, and educated us on our options and the likely outcomes that we could achieve."

Department profile by MinterEllisonRuddWatts

It's no secret that employees are one of your organisation's biggest assets. Yet, they do come with risk. It’s important to comply with legislative requirements, especially given the frequency of change.
Recognised as employment specialists in numerous legal directories, we have one of the largest employment teams in New Zealand so we can provide practical legal advice on all your employment-related matters.

We can help you with employee and industrial relations, HR, employment law, disciplinary investigations and dismissals, restructuring and redundancies, managing poor performance and long term illness, Holidays Act advice, executive remuneration, health and safety, immigration law, privacy issues, and equal employment opportunities and discrimination law.
We have a reputation for providing high quality, strategic assistance. We pride ourselves on understanding your business – which allows us to give you advice that is practical, easy to understand, commercial and easily implemented.

Our firm has a global network of offices so we can connect you with experts to assist with your global HR and legal needs. We’ll make sure you are kept updated with the latest employment developments by providing regular training courses and seminars, plus e-newsletter updates.

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Russell McVeagh - Employment

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Advises on complex corporate employment matters including senior management restructuring and employee transfers. Also knowledged for its advice to employers regarding collective bargaining, industrial action, departure of senior executives and health and safety issues, including advising on personal liability for senior managers and directors.

Strengths  The team's expert knowledge and cohesive approach are complimented by clients: "I find them timely, pragmatic, accurate, and very easy and pleasant to deal with."

Another source states: "I couldn't be happier with the service and level of advice and support they give. They're very capable and competent in this space."

Work highlights  Successfully represented Sanford in relation to a dispute over a settlement agreement concerning electronic copies of oyster bed co-ordinates before the Employment Relations Authority.

Defended General Distributors in a personal grievance claim concerning failure to comply with liquor licence requirement documentation brought by a former employee before the Employment Relations Authority.

Notable practitioners

Kylie Dunn spearheads the employment practice, and is particularly commended for her skill in mediation. She also advises on industrial action, collective bargaining and restraints of trade. One client states: "She's clear and decisive. She really knows her stuff so you have a lot of confidence in her, and she balances the legal view with commercial and practical advice." She represented SKYCITY Management regarding a challenge to the enforceability of a settlement agreement before the Employment Court.

Department profile by Russell McVeagh

The relationship between employers and employees are often harmonious and mutually beneficial. However, when disputes arise, they can attract unwanted public attention which can be damaging to a reputation or brand. Companies need to be able to anticipate workplace disputes, as well as have decisive strategies in the face of any incidents.

Whether an employer is looking for assistance structuring new employment agreements, or needs assistance settling personal grievance claims, our team is there to provide all the employment-related services they require.

We also offer clients services in health and safety, compliance and litigation and are experts in industrial relations.

contentious aspects of New Zealand employment law. Our lawyers assist with the protection of confidential information, enforcement of restraints of trade, misconduct issues and performance management, and can help during the sale, merger, or outsourcing of a business with issues like redundancy and restructuring.

Our finance experts can also assist with issues around superannuation and KiwiSaver, and we can provide assistance during issues relating to human rights, privacy, harassment and worker’s compensation.

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Chapman Tripp - Employment

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Highlighted for its deep experience acting for employers on cases related to the misuse of confidential information and the termination of senior executives. Other areas of proficiency include health and safety legislation compliance, restricted superannuation issues and employment matters arising from corporate transactions. Provides national coverage thanks to its extensive bench of specialists across New Zealand. Represents clients in mediations as well as Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court and High Court hearings.

Strengths  Sources commend the team's strong advice and responsiveness: "We've had some pretty challenging employment matters over the years and they've always given us work of a high standard."

Work highlights  Advised BlueScope Steel on the employment-related aspects of the sale of its Taharoa export iron sand business.

Represented Baker Hughes New Zealand in mediation for a claim of unjustified dismissal.

Notable practitioners

Marie Wisker is an emerging talent in New Zealand employment. Recognised for her litigation and mediation skills, she's described by one peer as "obviously one to watch," and she represents a large number of corporates on complex employment disputes. She advised Shell New Zealand on the employment-related aspects of the sale of its Kapuni onshore oil and gas field.

Department profile by Chapman Tripp

We have a strong employment practice with specialists based in each of our offices. Many of New Zealand’s leading corporates, multinationals and public sector organisations call on us for advice.

We act on high profile and sensitive matters including advising a number of leading corporates on the exits of senior management from their businesses and restructurings. Many of these are highly confidential and involve sensitive reputational issues for all parties

We work with our clients throughout the employment lifecycle:

  • providing business as usual advice on best practice policies, employment agreements and complex incentive schemes
  • advising on all union related matters such as negotiations, collective bargaining, disputes and more formal processes such as mediations or facilitations
  • providing front end advice during the due diligence and implementation phases of corporate transactions
  • advising on high profile and sensitive matters, such as disputes that may arise during the course of an employment relationship or after its termination, and
  • appearing in mediations or taking charge of proceedings in the Employment Relations Authority, the Employment Court and beyond if required.

We have a strong operational health and safety practice and have represented our clients’ needs in making submissions to the Government, which has helped shape new health and safety legislation. We also advised a number of clients on their H&S policies and compliance, helping them prepare for the new regime.

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DLA Piper New Zealand - Employment

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Global firm known for its practical expertise in the employment aspects of international acquisitions and divestments. Also skilled in reviewing employment documentation and adapting to local legislative changes regarding health and safety compliance and industrial relations.

Strengths  One client states of the team's service: "I am impressed with the down-to-earth and practical advice I receive from the firm."

Another source highlights the firm's international qualities: "We can draw on resources globally and provide that to our multinational clients."

Work highlights  Provided global expertise and advice to Air New Zealand in developing and co-ordinating the presentation of global data protection and privacy law training for its corporate legal services team.

Acts as employment and health and safety adviser to Metlifecare and recently advised on collective bargaining matters.

Notable practitioners

John Hannan is a highly respected and long-standing figure in employment law. He is adept at handling complex cases from union access to interpretation of the Holidays Act, and claims concerning extended health insurance. One client describes him as a "very experienced individual, and very calm." He advised Pandora, an international streaming service, on a personal grievance claim brought by a former senior employee.

Laura Scampion leads the firm's national employment team, acting for an impressive roster of local and international clients. Interviewees describe her as "very friendly, knowledgeable and pragmatic." Her broad skill set includes advising on workforce reductions and transfers, as well as providing day-to-day employment advice. She recently acted for Newell New Zealand in its divestment by Newell Brands, including facilitating employee transfers, drafting employment documentation and advising on employment relations risk.

Department profile by DLA Piper New Zealand

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Kensington Swan - Employment

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  In demand for its depth of expertise in health and safety regulatory compliance, including dealing with investigations by regulatory bodies. Advises on various aspects of employment law, including restructurings, contractual issues, performance management and misconduct, as well as having extensive litigation experience. Represents multinational companies and offers noteworthy expertise in the aviation industry.

Strengths  Clients benefit from the team's broad range of expertise. One source explains: "We have a very positive impression of the firm. They're always available, and they help on any query large or small."

A second client praises the team's "good, sound knowledge."

Work highlights  Represented the New Zealand Transport Agency in the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court in a claim brought by one of the country's biggest unions concerning how movements between remuneration bands should affect actual pay rises.

Worked with the Order of Saint John on collective bargaining with five different trade unions across its national operation, involving approximately 5,000 employees.

Notable practitioners

Anthony Drake co-leads the Auckland employment practice with "outstanding service: he's available, easy to understand, flexible and helpful." Lately, he acted for Auckland Transport regarding an investigation involving the bribery and corruption of public servants.

Auckland-based Grant Nicholson is noted for his expertise in health and safety matters. He acts for clients across dismissals, discrimination claims and serious harm investigations, and his work highlights include leading the team advising Broadspectrum in relation to a WorkSafe New Zealand investigation and prosecution for offences under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

Department profile by Kensington Swan

The firm offers a specialist team advising on the full range of employment law issues, including restructurings, contractual issues, performance management and ill health, misconduct and relationship issues, and statutory obligations under the Employment Relations Act, Holidays Act and other employment related legislation.

We offer extensive employment litigation experience, ranging from complex, high profile, union-initiated litigation to routine unjustified dismissal claims.

We help clients understand the law and create effective health and safety systems, polices, and procedures to prevent (or minimise the risk of) accidents occurring.

We regularly deal with personal grievances, review employment agreements and policies, provide training, and advise on the people issues arising from transactions such as mergers and outsourcings.

When accidents happen, we handle investigations and dealings with WorkSafe New Zealand, media, and the courts. We act in more health and safety cases before the courts than any other law firm.

We also have significant presence in the public sector, representing some of New Zealand’s largest and most high profile public sector employers.

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Lane Neave - Employment

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Large and experienced New Zealand team with expertise in health and safety legislation and workplace issues. Covers the spectrum of privacy, human rights, holidays and minimum employment entitlements, and is experienced in handling complicated litigation matters. Also provides training on New Zealand employment law to all of its clients and specialist industry groups.

Strengths  Clients appreciate the team's "flexibility, ability and willingness to respond and engage."

A source points out: "They really understand our business due to the number of years we have worked with them."

Work highlights  Acted for the Tourism Industry Association in regard to new legislation and the requirement to provide persons working in a 'shop' the opportunity to choose whether or not to work on Easter Sunday.

Advised Preet, Warrington Discount Tobacco and Dilbag Singh Bal on breaches of minimum employment entitlements before the Employment Relations Authority, with claims amounting to NZD750,000.

Notable practitioners

Andrew Shaw of Lane Neave is strongly praised by clients for his support and commitment on a number of employment issues: "He's very experienced and credible. I find his advice to be quite commercial and pragmatic, and his knowledge and experience are strong." He advised ANZCO Foods regarding the impact on its business of its disclosure of its collective bargaining processes to the New Zealand Meat Association where it seeks to be a joinder in a Supreme Court appeal.

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Band 1

Susan Hornsby-Geluk

Dundas Street Employment Lawyers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Susan Hornsby-Geluk is a highly reputed practitioner in the employment law space. Referees universally agree on her quality: "She goes for gold in a very constructive way, and she's a very sharp-minded lady." She's adept at handling union negotiations regarding strike action, and recently represented District Health Boards in regard to strike action of junior doctors made across the country.

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Band 1

Simpson Grierson

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Phillipa Muir has recently successfully tried several significant employment cases, including before the New Zealand Supreme Court. She is consistently described by referees as a top operator and an authority on employment law: "She's excellent: smart, personable, very effective and commercial in her approach. The best I've seen." She advised public and private sector clients on issues with inadvertent non-compliance with the Holidays Act 2003 and their obligations to remedy the holiday pay underpayments.

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Band 1

Bell Gully

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Head of the employment team Rob Towner advises on the employment aspects of major capital market and M&A deals, as well as complex employment litigation. Clients describe him as "very professional and successful. He's experienced in employment law and has been very good at giving technical advice." He recently advised Lyttelton Port Company on litigation that arose from companies bargaining with the Maritime Union for a new collective agreement, which resulted in Employment Court injunctions to restrain unlawful strike action.

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Band 2

SBM Legal

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Kathryn Beck is president of the New Zealand Law Society, and a highly experienced and successful practitioner in the employment law space. Skilled in litigation, she provides several major companies with strategic advice, and is described by one source as a "great and pragmatic practitioner" who is "very wise in her operations." She acted for Pulp & Paper Industrial Union in a successful claim for arrears of holiday pay in the Employment Court.

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Band 2

Kiely Thompson Caisley

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Andrew Caisley is best known for his high levels of expertise on collective bargaining and other industrial relations work. Recently he successfully defended Air New Zealand against a claim by the New Zealand Airline Pilots Associationin the Court of Appeal concerning alleged downtraining.

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Band 2

Buddle Findlay

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Peter Chemis is highly praised by referees for the calibre of his advice and knowledge in the employment sector. He is particularly respected as a litigator, one client explaining: "He was very carefully selected for his combination of deep expertise in employment law and his superior litigation ability. He's commercial and pragmatic, and is a very grounding influence in sensitive situations." He defended the Alliance Group against a personal grievance claim for unjustified dismissal filed with the Employment Relations Authority, and filed a strike-out application in response to the claim.

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Band 2

Kiely Thompson Caisley

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Head of department Peter Kiely has over 30 years' experience as an employment law practitioner, and leverages his wealth of knowledge for an array of large businesses and corporate clients. His work highlights include representing Radius Residential Care in a matter against a union for organising a public protest, and not a permissible paid stop-work meeting. This case judicially defined the term 'union meeting'.

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Band 2

LangtonHudsonButcher

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Stephen Langton is a founding and managing partner of the firm, as well as an experienced adviser on employment law issues. One referee describes him as "incredibly bright and pragmatic. He comes up with novel solutions and has solved all of our problems without fail so far." His work includes acting for a class of plaintiffs in a Holidays Act case regarding deficient holiday pay before the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court.

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Band 2

SBM Legal

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Don Mackinnon is head of the department with almost 30 years of experience in employment law and industrial relations. His specialist knowledge and reputation as a trustworthy practitioner, particularly in dealing with union disputes, makes him a respected figure. He led the team in advising Foodstuffs North Island on its full industrial relations strategy.

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Band 2

MinterEllisonRuddWatts

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Head of the Auckland practice Gillian Service is praised by one source as a "consummate professional with extensive legal and commercial knowledge." She has experience advising on domestic and international employment matters, and is especially noted for her health and safety law expertise. She advised Qantas Airways and its subsidiary Jetconnnect on a range of health and safety issues for its pilots and crew.

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Band 2

SBM Legal

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Penny Swarbrick gives clients the benefit of her 30 years of experience, with one source stating that she is a "very accomplished and recognised lawyer. She does very good-quality work, and is very down-to-earth and pragmatic." She successfully defended The Warehouse in both Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court proceedings that were brought by a client who claimed she had been unjustifiably disadvantaged by an alleged workplace injury.

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Band 2

Simpson Grierson

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Head of the employment team in Wellington, Samantha Turner is praised highly by one client, who states: "She's very good at client management, very level-headed and able to see the big picture." Her advice is valued and respected in the market, and she represents a diverse range of clients on complicated matters. She represented the Ministry of Social Development in an appeal to the Employment Court concerning an Employment Relations Authority ruling regarding an unjustified dismissal claim.

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Band 3

LangtonHudsonButcher

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Emma Butcher is described by one client as "excellent at communicating the risks and issues we faced while also helping me contextualise those in my business risk management." Her broad experience ranges from employment disputes and advisory work through to the employment aspects of major transactions. Lately she appeared as counsel for World TV, defending against a claim of unjustified dismissal in the Employment Relations Authority.

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Band 3

Bell Gully

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

An experienced litigator, Tim Clarke is praised for being "very calm, concise and considered without being dramatic. He avoids the potential problems that can arise in the employment space." His expertise in handling health and safety matters is highlighted, as is his practicality. He was part of the team that defended the Rank Group on two sets of proceedings before the Employment Court over pay entitlements related to the Holidays Act, and advised on the relevant legislation.

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Band 3

Buddle Findlay

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Sherridan Cook leads the Auckland litigation, employment and health and safety teams. He has over 20 years of experience handling a variety of issues, including bargaining with unions and changes to health and safety legislation. One source describes him as a "very considered and helpful" practitioner. He led the team that acted for Newell Brands on its NZD660 million purchase of the Sistema Plastics business, and assisted in the employment aspects of the related purchaser due diligence and potential implications of a risk of employee resignation.

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Band 3

Wynn Williams Lawyers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Amanda Douglas of Wynn Williams Lawyers heads the firm's employment and health and safety practice at the firm. Her own practice focuses particularly on contentious employment work, including advising on negotiated exits. She is lauded as "technically brilliant, with the ability to measure the response to a situation" by one source. Another interviewee appreciates that she is "pragmatic and empathic to client requirements." Recently sheadvised Environment Southland on its collective employment agreements and collective bargaining strategy.

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Band 3

Kiely Thompson Caisley

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

David France is highly valued by clients for the quality of his knowledge and his dedication in maintaining client relationships. One client says: "He truly understands the nature of our business, the issues we have, and their subtleties and nuances. He's a joy to work with, a very good and personable communicator, and I really value his work." He led the team that successfully represented Micron Security Products concerning an employee application to seek leave to appeal against an Employment Court ruling in relation to a redundancy.

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Band 3

DLA Piper New Zealand

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

John Hannan is a highly respected and long-standing figure in employment law. He is adept at handling complex cases from union access to interpretation of the Holidays Act, and claims concerning extended health insurance. One client describes him as a "very experienced individual, and very calm." He advised Pandora, an international streaming service, on a personal grievance claim brought by a former senior employee.

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Band 3

Buddle Findlay

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Hamish Kynaston leads the Wellington litigation team, and has over 20 years of experience in employment and health and safety law. One referee reports: "He's very pragmatic, available, and goes the extra mile beyond just giving legal advice." He advised the New Zealand Post on employment implications of a major restructuring that involved fundamental changes to its business, and acted in two sets of proceedings in the Employment Relations Authority filed by the unions whose members may be affected by the change.

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Band 3

Anthony Harper

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Head of employment at Anthony Harper, Jennifer Mills is respected for her work advising on industrial relations, restructurings and executive remuneration. One client enthuses that she is "very responsive, with clear and strong advice that gives us confidence." She advises on many of the firm's most notable matters, including acting for Sharp New Zealand on an investigation into potential serious misconduct by an executive, with the executive in question seeking remedies.

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Band 3

Kensington Swan

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Auckland-based Grant Nicholson is noted for his expertise in health and safety matters. He acts for clients across dismissals, discrimination claims and serious harm investigations, and his work highlights include leading the team advising Broadspectrum in relation to a WorkSafe New Zealand investigation and prosecution for offences under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

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Band 3

Quigg Partners

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Michael Quigg of Quigg Partners advises a broad range of clients, including leading domestic businesses and government entities, on a number of employment issues, most notably on health and safety law.

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Band 3

MinterEllisonRuddWatts

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Megan Richards is head of the Wellington practice, with specialist knowledge of executive appointments, redundancies and incentive schemes. She acted for Zespri Group regarding a claim brought by a former employee concerning the termination of his employment as a result of alleged breach of contract. One source states: "She gave us good counsel throughout, and educated us on our options and the likely outcomes that we could achieve."

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Band 3

Hesketh Henry

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Head of Hesketh Henry's employment practice, Jim Roberts has over 25 years of experience providing valuable advice and expertise to his clients. One interviewee states: "I think he's very pragmatic. His breadth of experience is phenomenally useful, and he is very skilled at seeing the other side of a matter." He advised Kia Motors on a wide range of employment compliance matters.

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Band 3

Simpson Grierson

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

John Rooney is an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner with a strong reputation in the area of health and safety legislation. He advised McAlpine Hussman on complex employment issues involved with the payment of stock options to two senior executives, particularly with regard to whether such earnings could be classed as gross earnings under the Holidays Act 2003.

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Band 3

LangtonHudsonButcher

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Andrew Schirnack specialises in advising human resources teams within major private corporations and public entities, advising on both employment disputes and advisory work. He co-led work for Lancom Technology in an action in the Employment Relations Authority seeking damages and penalties against two former employees for breaches of the employment agreement concerning misuse of IP.

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Band 3

Dundas Street Employment Lawyers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

With 20 years' experience, Blair Scotland maintains a strong reputation among clients. As one source explains, "he has a speciality in health and safety, and is incredibly knowledgeable and solid. I have complete and utter trust in him and the advice that he gives. He has a very good presenting style as well as being technically strong." He acted for NZ Fire Service in advising on employment issues related to the nationwide restructuring of the services into one organisation, and adapted to last-minute changes to the relevant legislation.

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Band 3

Lane Neave

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Andrew Shaw of Lane Neave is strongly praised by clients for his support and commitment on a number of employment issues: "He's very experienced and credible. I find his advice to be quite commercial and pragmatic, and his knowledge and experience are strong." He advised ANZCO Foods regarding the impact on its business of its disclosure of its collective bargaining processes to the New Zealand Meat Association where it seeks to be a joinder in a Supreme Court appeal.

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Band 3

Simpson Grierson

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Shan Wilson is a trusted adviser and negotiator with 25 years of experience in the employment space. One source reports: "She's a good operator. I find her really pragmatic." She has often advised some of the team's most significant clients on a range of litigation cases. Recently she co-led the team acting for Fonterra Co-operative Group before the Employment Relations Authority, in a matter concerning a claim of breach of good faith obligations brought by the New Zealand Dairy Workers Union.

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Up and Coming

Russell McVeagh

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Kylie Dunn spearheads the employment practice, and is particularly commended for her skill in mediation. She also advises on industrial action, collective bargaining and restraints of trade. One client states: "She's clear and decisive. She really knows her stuff so you have a lot of confidence in her, and she balances the legal view with commercial and practical advice." She represented SKYCITY Management regarding a challenge to the enforceability of a settlement agreement before the Employment Court.

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Up and Coming

DLA Piper New Zealand

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Laura Scampion leads the firm's national employment team, acting for an impressive roster of local and international clients. Interviewees describe her as "very friendly, knowledgeable and pragmatic." Her broad skill set includes advising on workforce reductions and transfers, as well as providing day-to-day employment advice. She recently acted for Newell New Zealand in its divestment by Newell Brands, including facilitating employee transfers, drafting employment documentation and advising on employment relations risk.

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Up and Coming

SBM Legal

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Bridget Smith is known for her skill in handling employment disputes. She led the team advising Coca-Cola NZ regarding the steps required to raise a personal grievance claim under the Employment Relations Act and also on the confidentiality of communications with support officers of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This was a significant case with long-term implications for personal grievance and mediation confidentiality matters.

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Up and Coming

Chapman Tripp

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Marie Wisker is an emerging talent in New Zealand employment. Recognised for her litigation and mediation skills, she's described by one peer as "obviously one to watch," and she represents a large number of corporates on complex employment disputes. She advised Shell New Zealand on the employment-related aspects of the sale of its Kapuni onshore oil and gas field.

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Associates to watch

Bell Gully

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Elizabeth Coats has extensive experience advising on redundancy and restructuring issues, disciplinary processes, WorkSafe investigations and restraints of trade. One source commends her "detailed technical knowledge and commercial awareness. She's also quick to adapt to change, experienced, efficient and easy to relate to." A particular focus of her work is advising on non-compliance issues under the Holidays Act. Recently she advised Horizon Services in proceedings for damages and penalties brought by the client against a former employee for breach of contract and good faith, proceedings that were valued at NZD200,000.

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Associates to watch

Hesketh Henry

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Alison Maelzer of Hesketh Henry is a special counsel with over 17 years of experience advising on employment matters. Highly regarded for her extensive knowledge, she has advised clients such as Suncorp NZ Employees, Northpower and Staples Rodway on a number of employment relations and health and safety matters. One source says she gives "extremely well thought out advice, availability and prompt replies."

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Associates to watch

Dundas Street Employment Lawyers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Rosalind Webby is described as "approachable, friendly and knowledgeable with great customer service. She has an excellent understanding of our business." She regularly assists on complex and high-profile employment matters in New Zealand, including acting for the Aviation Security Service in relation to the removal of an employee from her position as dog handler for the client, a successful defence before the Employment Relations Authority.

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