Our Team

Michael Byrnes

Employ­ment, Work­place Health and Safety

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.


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

Practice & Industry Sectors

  • Labour & Employment


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.

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
  • Member of the Law Society of NSW Employment Law Committee


Read more Publications by Michael Byrnes

In the News

Read more News Articles by Michael Byrnes