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Alice DeBoos

Practice Area Leader — Labor, Employment & Workplace Safety
Fax +61.2.9513.2399
Alice DeBoos is Practice Area Leader of the global labour, employment and workplace safety practice and sits on the firm's global Management Committee. Ms. DeBoos is passionate about employment and industrial relations and this is reflected in the work that she does with her clients. Ms. DeBoos works with her clients to devise and implement strategic plans in relation to employees, human resources and industrial relations. This means that she works from the outset with clients to think outside of the square to achieve the goals of the organisation, whether that be in government or the private sector. When disputes arise, Ms. DeBoos takes a practical and commercial approach to the resolution of issues which often involves complex and difficult litigation.

She works with her clients on all manner of issues relating to the employment relationship including restructuring and mergers, harassment, discrimination, termination of employment and the management of difficult employee issues. With respect to collective labour issues, she provides strategic advice in relation to employment structures and industrial relations planning and management, including union relations and collective bargaining.

Ms. DeBoos regularly represents clients in tribunals and superior courts in employment, industrial relations and restraint of trade/restrictive covenant cases and is a very experienced litigator. She is also an experienced trainer regularly designing and delivering training programs and sessions for clients. This includes managing the legal aspects of employment and people management as well as industrial relations skills and compliance programs.

Ms. DeBoos' clients include large employers across a number of industries, including government, construction, infrastructure, transport, banking and finance, resources and utilities. Ms. DeBoos has worked in-house which has provided her with a unique set of skills, coupled with an invaluable insight into the expectations and practical application of the legal advice she provides to her clients. Ms. DeBoos is interested in the business of her clients and the solutions they need. It is with this in mind that she provides her advice and representation.

Professional Background

Ms. DeBoos worked at a national law firm for a number of years. Prior to this she has worked in legal and employee relations roles inhouse, including managing the legal aspects of workplace relations and safety for a major construction company.


  • Recognised as a Band 3 lawyer for Employment by Chambers Asia-Pacific (2019)
  • Recognised in the 2017 and 2016 Chambers Asia-Pacific (Australia) Legal Directory Rankings for Employment.
  • Included on the 2016 Chambers Asia-Pacific list of recognised Employment lawyers
  • Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in Australia (2013, 2014 and - 2017 2015) for Labour and Employment Law
  • Listed as a 'Leading Employment Lawyer - NSW' in Doyle's Guide (2015 - 2018)
  • Listed as "Pre-eminent Employer Lawyer -  Doyles Guide 2018

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Industrial Relations Society of NSW member
  • Australian Human Resources Institute member

Speaking Engagements

Ms. DeBoos is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars in workplace relations and human resources, including the firm's Law@Work workshops. She is requested by external conferences to speak on the full range of employment issues such as termination of employment, equal opportunity and discrimination, as well as the management of relationships at work.

Additional Information

Ms. DeBoos is regularly asked for comment in the national press and has been published in The Australian and The Australian Financial Review. Ms. DeBoos has been widely published in human resources industry publications. Recent examples include:
  • “When office romance goes pear-shaped”, The Australian Financial Review, 5 May 2017
  • "The Law on Harassment is Simple: Businesses Must Condemn it", The Australian Financial Review, 1 December 2017
  • "When Office Romance Goes Pear-Shaped", The Australian Financial Review, 5 May  2017
  • "Building Industry Needs Better Foundations in Law", The Australian Financial Review, 10 July, 2015
  • "Toyota Seeks Double Time for Sundays", The Australian Financial Review, 16 December, 2013
  • "Hopes Perception Will Become Reality", Lawyers Weekly, 10 October, 2013
  • "MLC case: beware the gravy train" The Australian Financial Review, September 26, 2012
  • "MLC case: beware the gravy train" The Australian Financial Review, September 26, 2012
  • Acting as a sounding board and trusted advisor to human resources and legal teams on employment issues such as restructures and mergers, contractual disputes, interpretation matters, compliance complaints, mental health and ill workers, employee grievances, performance management and terminations.
  • Acting for major construction companies in proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia to obtaining injunctions to prevent unlawful industrial action, recover civil penalties and damages from two construction industry unions (Lend Lease Property Management & Construction v CFMEU and Anor [2012 FCA 1273] and Baulderstone Queensland Pty Ltd v CFMEU & Anor [2012 FCA 520])
  • Working with clients across numerous industries such as government, transport, construction and infrastructure to plan and implement strategies in relation to enterprise bargaining. This includes support, training and planning in early stages through to advice on bargaining, representation in disputes before the Fair Work Commission and disputes regarding approval and implementation
  • Drafting and negotiating collective industrial agreements and employment contracts for employers in a wide range of industries, including devising strategic industrial relations plans.
  • Acting for a major logistics company in devising and implementing a strategy to manage its complex industrial relations frameworks and agreements over a five year period. This involved aligning the needs of the business over that period with achievable and innovative change in collective agreements and employment structures.
  • Acting for numerous employers in relation to both defending and bringing interlocutory proceedings to enforce restraints and restrictive convenants in Supreme Court.
  • Regularly undertakes large and often complex workplace investigations involving harassment, bullying and fraudulent activity. Ms. DeBoos also trains in house teams and HR professionals to conduct workplace investigations and drafts internal policies, procedures and documentation to assist.
  • Acting for the employer in a successful defence of an unfair dismissal claim brought by an employee which upheld the employer's right to dismiss for serious safety breaches (Carrick v Patrick Stevedores Holdings Pty Limited [2012] FWA 4480).
  • Advising and appearing for a significant maritime industry client in unfair dismissal proceedings brought by one of its past employees. The matter involved conciliation proceedings, conference before a Fair Work Commission Member, hearing and an appeal. The proceedings were complex in nature as the applicant employee sought to merge the boundaries of Commonwealth legislation and Western Australian state legislation in order to sustain their argument.
  • Acting for the Commonwealth Bank (CommSec) in the successful defense of an anti-bullying application made by an employee (Aly v Commonwealth Bank/CommSec).
  • Acting for Essential Energy in relation to the termination of its enterprise agreement and related matters, culminating in a workplace determination issued in December 2016 by the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission.
  • Acting for Westpac in the successful defence of an unfair dismissal claim brought by a former employee. Volker v Westpac Banking Corportation [2018] FWC 7348
  • Acting for a major maritime company in multiple union disputes and negotiations regarding the structure of the workforce and the transformation of the business to meet client and contractual needs.