Highlight: Employment law firms stepped up to provide WHS resources during COVID-19

Firms rolled out apps, hubs and webinars to guide clients as they struggled with business continuity

Highlight: Employment law firms stepped up to provide WHS resources during COVID-19

The field of employment law has seen a lot of activity during the pandemic, from advising on policies and dismissal cases to offering guidance on vaccine mandates. However, these weren’t the only ways employment law boutiques helped clients.

A number of firms developed apps, set up hubs and conducted webinars to assist clients with regard to their WHS and business continuity obligations.

“We were incredibly busy at the beginning of the pandemic supporting clients through WHS and the employment-related implications of COVID-19, such as leave entitlements, stand-downs, redundancies and restructures,” explained Michael Harmer, chairman and senior team leader, and Amy Zhang, executive counsel and team leader at Harmers Workplace Lawyers.

In addition to webinars, the firm directed its clients to global resources on COVID-19-related workplace relations and safety compliance guidelines. The firm was also involved in a landmark employment law case that resulted in a massive $5.2m damages award for a senior executive bringing an adverse action/bullying/breach of contract claim; Harmer and Zhang described the result as “the largest outcome in a bullying case in Australian history.”

Meanwhile, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills helped clients to understand the JobKeeper scheme through an app that “provided employers with preliminary guidance on whether they were eligible for the JobKeeper scheme and what their next steps were,” former managing partner Manuel Makas said.

“[We also developed] a COVID-19 hub on the firm’s website as a go-to resource for up-to-date information on the tax measures that were available to help businesses.”

The firm was also in place to guide clients through tax law-related high-value matters once financial market activity surged.

Harmers Workplace Lawyers and Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills were named among Australasian Lawyer’s Top Boutique Firms for 2021.

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