Simpson Grierson

Employment Department

New Zealand
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What the team is known for Skilled team offering strong representation to clients in health and safety compliance and WorkSafe investigations. Also handles employee termination cases and is commended for its handling of industrial relations cases, including unionised employee pay disputes. Advises boards, CEOs, mayors and councils on senior executive restructuring negotiations and plans. Superb litigation offering at all levels of the employment court system, and well respected for its work handling Holidays Act matters.

Strengths One very satisfied client extols the group as the "pre-eminent and major thought leader in New Zealand from an employment relations perspective," commending it for the ability to "really quickly prioritise matters and solve solutions very quickly."

Another interviewee credits the practitioners as "responsive, pragmatic, commercial in their approach and knowledgeable of the business and our people."

Work highlights Successfully represented the Ministry of Social Development in the Employment Court, appealing a Employment Relations Authority ruling that an employee was unjustifiably dismissed.

Advised various employers in the public and private sectors on issues with inadvertent non-compliance with the Holidays Act 2003, and their obligations to remedy underpayments.

Notable practitioners

John Rooney is acknowledged by commentators for his work in the health and safety area, with one describing him as a "very smart guy and a very good operator." His practice often involves complex negotiations and mediations, and he also acts as defence counsel for corporate clients on WorkSafe prosecutions before the Employment Court and Employment Relations Authority.

Phillipa Muir is lauded as a "technically outstanding" employment lawyer able to provide a "commercial and pragmatic lens." Also singled out as a "guru on legal disputes concerning employment law and contracts," she is sought after to argue novel employment cases at all levels of the New Zealand court system.

Rebecca Rendle is a senior associate who is described by one client as "really approachable, very articulate, calm and able to respond to any queries," and another source comments: "She was pragmatic on the other side, and she settled a case in about 30 seconds."

Samantha Turner leads the employment law team in Wellington, with a well-regarded practice acting for key clients in the public sector. A client states: "She is well networked among business leaders in New Zealand, which is useful in terms of her being able to draw on other perspectives and levels of advice." She is also an expert in the health and safety sector, and often advises local government bodies in this area.

A strategic adviser, Shan Wilson provides an expert service for union-related issues. She is experienced in industrial issues and mediations, and a client praises her as alawyer who "brings good perspective to difficult and complex cases." She also deals with test cases before the Employment Court and Court of Appeal.