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Mental Health & Employment Law Conference

A one day conference that discusses the employment law aspects of mental health.


Mental Health and Employment Law Mindfields

Mental Health is one of the fastest growing sources of injuries at work, but employers are often in the dark about how best to ensure their workplaces are safe for their staff, how to support them if and when mental health concerns emerge- and their legal and ethical obligations in these circumstances.

Mental Health Mindfields is the first in a series of Conferences dealing with mental Health issues in the workplace.
This program has been designed in partnership with clinical and legal experts who will set out the mental health claims landscape, as well as provide clinical guidance on how mental health issues can best be prevented, identified and managed in the workplace by managers, co-workers and the executive. The Day will provide the delegates with a legal understanding of the obligations of employers and co-workers which is another critical part of the Mental Health at Work puzzle and would not be complete without an introduction to the legal considerations employers need to bear in mind.

We will be joined by senior legal practitioners who specialise in mental health matters. They will also update you on the latest case law and what it means for your legal obligations and responsibilities.

Since Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is emerging as a particularly complex issue for employers, the program will include a special session on what that looks like, both clinically and legally.

The days format will consist of a series of expert presentations, followed by facilitated panel discussions where audience questions can be put to the experts. The day will conclude with a hypothetical workplace scenario, where the legal, clinical and HR aspects of managing a mental illness will be brought together and explored by our expert panelists.


9:00AM Welcome Address by the Chair
The Honourable Pru Goward, AO

Mental Health: The compensation iceberg 

- Nature and frequency of mental injury in the workplace
- How it has changed in the past decade
- Primary and Secondary mental injuries
- Impacts of mental injury on return to work and compensation outcomes
Dr Jonathan Cohen, Principal, Taylor Fry


Mental Health at Work: Risks, Response, Recovery
- What constitutes mental health and mental health disorder
- What are the critical risk factors
- What should workpbest employers support workers experiencing mental ill health.
Mark Deady, Senior Research Fellow, Black Dog Institute

Mental Health and Employment Law
- The legal framework – State and Federal discrimination laws and the Fair Work Act.
- The dangers of assumptions. The importance of evidence.
- Reasonable Adjustments in the Workplace
- Managing absence due to mental health issues
- Managing performance and discipline
- Creating an environment that minimises the risk of claims
Michael Byrnes, Partner, Swaab

10:55AM - Morning tea

11:25AM - Panel Session
What would you do if?
Mark Deady, Senior Research Fellow, Black Dog Institute
Dr Jonathan Cohen, Principal, Taylor Fry
Michael Byrnes, Partner, Swaab

12:15PM - Lunch

Practical Strategies for the workplace:
- How to identify and manage PTSD
Michael Plowright, Founder, Working Well Together

PTSD - Psycho Social Injury and Risk to Health and Safety
- What are the obligations of Employers, Directors, Managing Directors and Office Holders.
- What types of employees are most vulnerable and how do I identify them
John Rodney, Special Counsel, K & L Gates

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the workplace:
- Prevention
- Management
- Recovery
Enterprise Professor Nicole Sadler
Head of Policy and Practice, Phoenix Australia

Hypothetical Case Situation: Explore how to respond to the occurancy of a mental health episode to ensure the best outcome for the employee , the company and co-workers

Michael Plowright, John Rodney, Nicole Sadler

Close of Conference by Chair
The Honourable Pru Goward, AO

For event enquiries, please email


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