Barry.Nilsson. strengthens national employment practice liability insurance offering
National law firm Barry.Nilsson. has expanded its national employment practices liability team with the appointment of Laura Sowden as special counsel.
Dr Sowden has comprehensive experience in employment, workplace, health and safety and discrimination law. She has appeared before the Fair Work Commission, Federal Circuit Court, Federal Court, District Court of NSW and Supreme Court of NSW and all relevant state and territory tribunals and commissions in a range of litigated matters.
Based in Barry.Nilsson.’s Sydney office, Dr Sowden will work across the firm’s national offices to support clients in sensitively managing risk and reputation damage in the workplace.
She will work alongside special counsel Corrina Dowling who is an experienced employment law and workplace relations lawyer having worked for small family-owned businesses as well as multi-national corporations across multiple industries including retail, aged care, education and government. She has also worked in the not-for-profit sector.
Together the duo will head up this fast-growing area of law which, in recent years, has seen a high frequency of claims with the rise of the #MeToo movement coinciding with the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment.
Commenting on her new role Dr Sowden said: “Employment matters can be a fast-paced area of law with a high frequency of litigated matters. The Fair Work Commission has regularly seen around 15,000 unfair dismissal and general protections applications each year.
“Personal liability for directors and officers is a common feature in the employment practices liability and workplace health and safety space with proceedings and prosecutions increasingly being brought against directors and officers and penalties imposed against them.
“Contingent working arrangements such as casual employees and independent contractors/ employees have been topics of interest for regulators, unions and business alike as we see increasing litigation in this area.”
Ms Dowling said now was an exciting time to be part of employment practices law.
“There is a human interest element to this area of law – it’s all about people,” she said.
“It’s also a dynamic and evolving area of law, which makes it both challenging and stimulating.
“The #MeToo movement had given a voice to many victims of workplace sexual harassment who otherwise would have remained silent.
“Too often, these incidents are dismissed as friendly banter or horseplay when in fact, it’s a serious offence. It’s our job to ensure organisations are aware of their responsibilities as an employer, and educate them to accept that employment matters are not just a problem for HR to handle.”
For more information, please contact:
07 3231 6180