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Melanie Smith

Melanie Smith

BA, LLB (Hons), DML (French) (Melb)

Senior Associate

Workplace Advisory
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About Melanie

Melanie is a Senior Associate in Arnold Bloch Leibler's Workplace Advisory team.

Melanie is regarded for her pragmatic advice and support in a range of issues spanning the employment lifecycle. This includes advising on hiring practices and pre-employment issues, drafting and reviewing workplace policies and employment contracts, providing strategic advice on business restructures and sales, managing performance and misconduct, ensuring compliance with employment and equal opportunity laws, termination of employment, enforcing post-employment obligations and restraints and managing workplace disputes.

Melanie has worked for a diverse range of clients, including in the retail, manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, media and advertising and professional services industries, as well as many in the not-for-profit sector. She has also worked with industry regulators to successfully prosecute breaches of workplace laws. Clients appreciate Melanie's clear and strategic advice and approachability.

Before joining Arnold Bloch Leibler in 2019, Melanie was a Senior Associate in Herbert Smith Freehills' Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety team. She has also worked on secondment at ANZ as a Senior Employee Relations Advisor and at Binarri-Binyja Yarrawoo Aboriginal Corporate in Kununurra (WA), where she delevoped the organisation's corporate governance framework and advised on director remuneration options and stakeholder engagement.

Melanie graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Diploma of Modern Languages (French). 

Practice focus

Melanie's practice spans a range of workplace issues, including:

  • senior executive engagements, transitions and separations;
  • protection of confidential information, intellectual property and enforceability of post-employment restraints;
  • compliance with workplace laws;
  • conducting and advising on best practice management of workplace investigations and resolution of workplace complaints;
  • termination of employment and managing performance, discipline, absenteeism and ill and injured workers;
  • workplace policies and procedures;
  • strategic workplace planning and change management; and
  • advising on the employment implications of business restructures, outsourcings and acquisitions.

Experience

Melanie's recent experience includes acting on behalf of:

  • various ASX listed and large private companies: in relation to managing sensitive and time-critical executive departures;
  • a large Australian retailer: in relation to defending unfair dismissal and general protections claims in the Fair Work Commission;
  • an iconic Australian company: in relation to litigation in the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission regarding reinstatement and workers' compensation issues;
  • a not-for-profit organisation in the healthcare sector: in relation to the implementation of tailored workplace policies, procedures and employment contracts; 
  • a large childcare provider: in relation to its proposed acquisitions of various related business; 
  • a client in the energy sector: in relation to a review of its rostering and remuneration arrangements;
  • various clients in the financial services, retail, not-for-profit, professional services, aviationa and other sectors: in relation to structuring and enforcing employment obligations, managing workplace issues including bullying, discrimination, mental health, absenteeism, performance etc, executive contract negotiations, workplace investigations, implementing redundancies and termination of employment.