Jacquie Seemann has practised employment law, discrimination law and education law since 1990. Her sports law practice has grown naturally from these other areas since 2006.
She has guided clients through four major reforms to the federal industrial relations system.
An experienced litigator in employment and industrial relations, Jacquie has specialist expertise in discrimination, unfair dismissal, breach of contract claims, industrial disputes, and prosecutions for breach of awards, industrial laws and safety laws. She is a tough negotiator, and looks for commercial and non-litigious solutions where possible.
Jacquie works in both the public and private sectors, and her expertise spans a wide range of industries including education, sport, health and aged care, community services, financial services, IT, retail, manufacturing, transport and agribusiness.
Jacquie’s education sector clients cover the education lifecycle, including preschools, schools, universities and other post-secondary education providers. She advises these clients not only on employment-related issues but also on the broadest range of education law issues. Jacquie is NSW Chapter Vice President for the Australia & New Zealand Education Law Association.
Jacquie’s sports law clients include sports clubs and their owners, representative sports associations, employer associations, and disability services organisations. She is Honorary Solicitor for a community-based State sports association covering 15 sports.
Jacquie has been acknowledged by The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific (2018 & 2019) for her work in Labour and Employment law; by Doyle’s Guide (2018 – 2020) as a recommended Employment lawyer; and by her peers as one of the Best Lawyers in Australia in Labour and Employment Law (2014 – 2020), Employee Benefits Law (2019 & 2020) and Occupational Health & Safety Law (2020).
Jacquie co-authored the employment law chapter in Higher Education and the Law (Federation Press, 2015); and the chapter on issues and challenges facing schools in relation to religion in The Palgrave Handbook of Education Law for Schools (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
A sought-after speaker at conferences, Jacquie is also a guest lecturer in employment law at the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney. Participant/audience reactions to her presentations are extremely positive.
Recent experience includes:
- Assisted a large international travel services organisation to enter the Australian market during changes to federal laws, including advising on transmission of business and award coverage issues under both the Workplace Relations Act 1996 and the Fair Work Act 2009, and preparing all necessary employment-related documents.
- Advised a major post-secondary education provider about a restructure of its businesses across Australia, including the strategy for implementation and communication of a large number of redundancies.
- Acted for a large trade employer association in the award modernisation process in 2009 and modern award review process in 2014, which amongst other things resulted in inclusion of a new award classification for elite sports people undertaking part-time apprenticeships.
- Advised and negotiated on behalf of a community service provider with 58 locations in making its enterprise agreement. The project involved reshaping the agreement to suit Fair Work Act requirements, and successfully challenging the union on jurisdictional issues.
- Acted for a national aged care provider in relation to its acquisition of an aged care facility with its own enterprise agreement. This raised industrial and administrative issues in terms of integrating affected employees. Provided strategic advice and representation in the Fair Work Commission, obtaining an order to terminate the facility’s enterprise agreement.
- Advised a litigation funder in relation to a proposed class action involving allegations of very significant underpayment to employees across a chain of hospitality businesses.
- Advised a university in negotiations about the provision of specialist training courses in an overseas location, including drafting contracts to meet the requirements of two very different jurisdictions.
- Advised a large education provider in relation to a series of performance and conduct management processes, including two involving formal external investigations. Some of these processes led to termination of employment/engagement and some to negotiated resignations and demotions.
- Advised a professional sports club in a national league about allegations of misconduct, including commissioning an external investigation and advising about outcomes.
- Regularly advises employers about conduct and performance issues and defends claims brought against employers. For example:
- Succeeded in Fair Work Commission on application to strike out unfair dismissal claim against an international IT sector client for want of jurisdiction;
- Acting for an aged care provider in relation to claims for breach of enterprise agreement dispute provisions brought by employees;
- Acting for a higher education institution in defending a series of related complaints involving allegations of race discrimination and privacy issues.
- Advising the new CEO of an early childhood education provider on regularising employment arrangements, including drafting new template employment contracts and independent contractor agreements.
- Advised an American technology company about policies and compliance strategy, producing new employee handbook covering the full range of compliance issues.
- For a national sports organisation (covering 18 sports), drafted Member Protection Policies including membership applications, Code of Conduct, training materials, management guides and tribunal rules. For a State constituent of the same organisation, advised about constitutional reform, including drafting new constitutions for the umbrella body and its affiliate clubs.
- Designs safety management systems for schools, including a system for managing risks arising in the course of a major overseas tour and affecting both staff and students.
- Assisted a disability services organisation in relation to safety and liability issues arising from its participants playing sport.
- Advised on and negotiated terms for the outsourcing of a large community K-12 school’s facilities maintenance function.