Our Team

Michael Byrnes

Partner
Part­ner, Employ­ment

I am a work­place rela­tions lawyer with over 20 years’ expe­ri­ence in assist­ing clients nav­i­gate employ­ment, dis­crim­i­na­tion and work health and safe­ty issues. I advise on all aspects of the employ­ment rela­tion­ship includ­ing employ­ment con­tracts, mod­ern awards and enter­prise agree­ments, anti-dis­­crim­i­­na­­tion and diver­si­ty, sex­u­al harass­ment, bully­ing, per­for­mance and con­duct, man­ag­ing ill­ness and injury, indus­tri­al dis­putes, unfair dis­missal, adverse action/​general pro­tec­tions, con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion, post-employ­ment restraints and WHS

I am an expe­ri­enced advo­cate, under­take com­plex work­place inves­ti­ga­tions and deliv­er bespoke train­ing on employ­ment law issues (includ­ing at board level).

I am a co-author of the pub­li­ca­tions Anno­tat­ed Fair Work Act & Relat­ed Leg­is­la­tion” and Fair Work: A user-friend­ly guide”. As well as reg­u­lar­ly pre­sent­ing at sem­i­nars and con­fer­ences, I am fre­quent­ly called upon for expert opin­ion in the media. I have appeared on var­i­ous radio seg­ments and been quot­ed in pub­li­ca­tions includ­ing The Aus­tralian Finan­cial Review, The Age, ABC News, Lawyers Week­ly, Work­place Express, OHS Alert, Smart­Com­pa­ny and InThe­Black on work­place rela­tions and WHS law issues.

Expe­ri­ence

Since join­ing Swaab in 2018 I have act­ed on a broad range of mat­ters including:

  • Advis­ing a com­pa­ny in the food pro­duc­tion indus­try on right of entry issues. 
  • Advis­ing a large clean­ing com­pa­ny on work­place arrangements. 
  • Advis­ing a high pro­file media com­pa­ny on var­i­ous employ­ment law matters.
  • Advis­ing the board of a promi­nent gov­ern­ment agency on WHS issues relat­ing to man­age­ment of prin­ci­pal contractors.
  • Act­ing for a list­ed com­pa­ny on the defence of a claim from a for­mer employ­ee in the Supreme Court.
  • Act­ing for a large internet/​online com­pa­ny in defence of var­i­ous employ­ee claims in the AHRC and FWC
  • Advis­ing and act­ing for an equip­ment com­pa­ny on var­i­ous employ­ment issues includ­ing work­place sur­veil­lance and post-employ­ment conduct. 
  • Review­ing and draft­ing suites of employ­ment con­tracts for var­i­ous clients.
  • Review­ing and draft­ing inde­pen­dent con­trac­tor agree­ments for var­i­ous clients. 
  • Strate­gic work­place rela­tions advice for var­i­ous clients.

Exper­tise

  • Employ­ment Law
  • Work­place Relations
  • Discrimination
  • Work Health and Safe­ty (includ­ing Coro­nial Inquests)

Roles, mem­ber­ship and education 

  • Bach­e­lor of Laws (First Class Hon­ours) (Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy, Syd­ney) 1994
  • Bach­e­lor of Busi­ness (Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy, Syd­ney) 1994
  • Mem­ber of the Law Soci­ety of NSW
  • Mem­ber of the Aus­tralian Human Resources Institute
  • Mem­ber of the NSW Indus­tri­al Rela­tions Society

Publications