People

Shannon Chapman

Special Counsel
Workplace Relations & Safety
  • +61 7 3456 5199

Shannon's general areas of practice are employment, industrial relations and safety. Shannon specialises in complex employment and industrial litigation and disputes and has experience representing clients in conciliation conferences, mediations and hearings in all relevant state and federal jurisdictions, including the High Court.

Experience

Shannon has a unique knowledge and experience base amassed across numerous industries and sectors and through various work experiences. Shannon is highly experienced in conducting litigation in a cost-effective manner in state and federal jurisdictions. She has advised Commonwealth and state agencies on a broad range of employment, industrial and safety issues.

Shannon's areas of expertise include:

  • Contractual matters
  • Industrial strategy and bargaining
  • Complex investigations
  • Management of misconduct allegations
  • Discrimination, harassment and bullying
  • Underpayments
  • Award interpretation
  • Enterprise agreement interpretation
  • Enterprise agreement approval issues
  • Discipline
  • Termination of employment
  • Industrial action
  • Fitness for work
  • Bargaining
  • Policies and procedures
  • Right of entry
  • Structural change and redundancy
  • Coronial inquests
  • Defence of safety prosecutions

Shannon has provided clients with extensive workplace training, including effective workplace investigations, management of ill and injured employees and termination of employment. Shannon also acts for clients in relation to safety prosecutions and assists companies to defend prosecutions for breaches of statutory obligations. In addition, Shannon regularly assists clients with complex issues arising from regulator investigations, including compliance and rectification.

Shannon has advised clients in relation to the conduct of investigations, and has conducted investigations, that have been required by the Crime and Corruption Commission Queensland and which involve public interest disclosures. Shannon's interest in human rights matters has led her to advise on various discrimination and harassment claims and to conduct associated litigation. In addition, Shannon has undertaken work at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, where she was based in Katherine in the Northern Territory for approximately eight months.

During 2018, Shannon completed a secondment within the Legal Team at the University of Queensland.

Career Highlights

Shannon's career highlights include:

  • Australian Building and Construction Commissioner: Acting on multiple matters for the Commissioner. Recently, Shannon acted for the Commissioner in urgent proceedings involving a union and two individuals that involved an application for interlocutory injunctive relief, which was successful.
  • Aurizon Holdings Ltd: Shannon was the solicitor responsible for the day to day conduct of a significant piece of industrial litigation for Aurizon. The matter involved an application by Aurizon to a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission to terminate 12 expired enterprise agreements. At the time Aurizon made its application, there was an existing line of authority to the effect that the emphasis on promoting productivity is primarily to be achieved through collective bargaining in good faith, rather than by other means, such as termination of an expired enterprise agreement. In order to succeed in its application, the Commission needed to be convinced to overturn that line of authority. Aurizon was successful in its application. The decision was ground breaking in Australian industrial law. Subsequently, various unions challenged the validity of the decision of the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission in the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia. The application by the unions was unanimously dismissed in its entirety.
  • Anglo American (Stephen Byrne): Acting in defence of an adverse action claim arising from the dismissal of Mr Byrne (alleged protected attributes were the taking of personal leave and being the Lodge President). Successful defence of the claim at first instance and on appeal, and successfully defended an application for Special Leave to appeal the High Court.
  • Anglo American (Drayton Mine): Acting in defence of a claim for multiple breach of an enterprise agreement relating to the basis upon which personal leave was calculated and paid. This case was first heard in the Federal Circuit Court and was then appealed to the Federal Court. Special Leave to appeal was sought, but refused.
  • Anglo American (Callide Mine): Acting in defence of proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia alleging breach of provisions in the enterprise agreement relating to the creation of a new position, some duties of which were covered by the applicable enterprise agreement.
  • Mater Misericordiae Health Services: Acting for the service in Fair Work Commission proceedings relating to the negotiation of its 2014 agreement with the Queensland Nurses' Union, including proceedings relating to termination and suspension of protected and unprotected industrial action.
  • Workplace Fatality: Advising and assisting in relation to the incident, including briefing experts, assisting with internal investigations and advising on outcomes; drafting enforceable undertakings and conducting the defence of the prosecution against the client.
  • Downer EDi Mining: Acting in relation to an application for declarations commenced by the CFMEU in the Supreme Court of Queensland relating to the use of drug and alcohol testing on a coal mine.
  • John Holland: Acting in relation to applications for section 418 orders and in related appeal proceedings.
  • Coronial inquest: Acted for the family of a man who passed away after being left at a remote airstrip in the Northern Territory.
  • High Potential Incident at Coal Mine: Advised regarding the incident and assisted during internal and external investigations, including providing advice to witnesses, reviewing investigation and incident reports and advising on risks of prosecution.
  • Local Council: Acting for the Council in proceedings in the Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal. Advising the Council on a range of employment and industrial issues, including disciplinary issues and discrimination issues.

Insights by Shannon