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Katie Sweatman

Special Counsel
Fax +61.3.9205.2055

Ms. Sweatman is a senior associate in the Labour, Employment and Workplace Safety team. Ms. Sweatman actively practises in labour and employment relations matters, including dismissal and grievance handling, industrial relations and workplace safety.

With a strong focus on regulation and compliance, Ms. Sweatman works with businesses to identify risk areas and to implement practical industrial and common law workplace arrangements. She has provided employment law advice on significant business takeovers, both domestically and internationally, as well as market entries of overseas businesses into the Australian market. In the public sector, Ms. Sweatman has a detailed understanding of machinery of government changes.

In addition to advising and supporting employers during periods of change, Ms, Sweatman regularly acts for employers in litigious and industrial matters in the Fair Work Commission and advises proactively on day to day employment issues.

Ms. Sweatman works closely with medium and large employers across both the private and public sectors, including Commonwealth departments and State government agencies, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and major higher education institutions.

In addition to maintaining her labour and employment law practice, Ms. Sweatman is the Pro Bono Co-ordinator for the Melbourne office of K&L Gates.

Professional Background

Prior to becoming a legal practitioner, Ms. Sweatman worked as an Employee Relations Consultant for the Australian Retailers Association, working closely with retailers of all sizes in workplace compliance and in the provision of training solutions.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Volunteer lawyer, St Kilda Legal Service Co-operative
  • Committee of Management, Industrial Relations Society of Victoria

Speaking Engagements

In addition to client training and presentations, Ms. Sweatman has presented at events including:
  • Australian Human Resources Institute, “General Protections/Adverse Action under the Fair Work Act: A Practical Diagnosis and Treatment Program” (18 July 2013)
  • Tonkin Corporation Employment Law Conference, “Avoiding the pitfalls of redundancy: Who does it affect and what are the implications?” (15 November 2012) 
  •  Aventedge HR Law Masterclass, “Restructuring Legally and Professionally” (26 October 2012)

Additional Information

  • Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) baseline security clearance
  • Provision of inhouse employment law advice to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection as secondee senior legal officer in connection with the amalgamation of the Department with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, including the development of employment models for the establishment of the Australian Border Force.
  • Provision of employment advice to a major U.S. retailer in connection with its entry into the Australian market.
  • Provision of employment advice to an international human resources company on its joint bid with an equity investor to acquire 100% of the share capital of an Australian human resources company in a deal valued at approximately AUD115 million.
  • Appointment as probity advisor on a major Commonwealth government procurement.
  • Managing the implementation of single interest enterprise agreements for a major international franchise system in Australia, covering approximately 280 franchisees.
  • Provision of employment advice to an international manufacturer and distributor on its entry into the Australian market through the acquisition of all of the issued share capital of an Australian manufacturer and distributor in a deal valued at approximately AUD60 million.
  • Advising on complex areas of law applicable to Commonwealth agencies, including laws around public interest disclosures, privacy and the Public Service Act 1999.
  • Acting for 21 national Australian law firms in applications to vary the Legal Services Award 2010, and 41 medical research institutes in applications to vary the Higher Education Academic Award 2010, under the 2012 Award Modernisation process in the Fair Work Commission.
  • Representing employers before the Federal Court, Federal Circuit Court, the Fair Work Commission and anti-discrimination tribunals.