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Leanne Nickels

Leanne Nickels

Leanne is responsive and has a good understanding of our business. I value her calm demeanour, and I trust what she is telling me as she can articulate it in a way that I understand and am clear on the strategies.

Leanne is an employment law practitioner with over 25 years' experience assisting clients in managing workforce challenges, achieving compliance with workplace laws and resolving workplace conflict at the individual and collective level.

Leanne is experienced across a broad spectrum of workplace issues including workplace dispute resolution, legislative and award compliance, managing disciplinary processes, privacy, contract preparation, enterprise bargaining and investigations.

As an advocate, Leanne has appeared in the Fair Work Commission, the Federal Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court, the District Court of Western Australia, and the Supreme Courts of Western Australia and New South Wales.

Leanne is frequently requested to present at seminars and conferences and is a well-regarded speaker on  workplace issues and employment law best practice.
Areas of FocusEmployment
Professional QualificationsBarrister and Solicitor of the High Court of AustraliaBarrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Western AustraliaSolicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales


  • Acting as Counsel in successfully defending an unfair dismissal claim by two former employees (represented by the MUA) against their employer, a large multinational in the offshore drilling industry, in the Fair Work Commission (Dittmann v Sedco Forex International Inc t/as Transocean [2015] FWC 5963). The decision highlighted the importance of safety obligations placed on an employer in the context of disciplinary processes and the need for breaches of safe work practices and policies to be treated seriously by employers
  • Acting for the respondents in a claim in the Federal Circuit Court alleging a breach of the sham contracting provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) including allegations that the directors were personally liable.

  • Successfully acting for Contracting Solutions (a licensee of the ODCO style of contracting) in the Federal Court of Australia (at first instance) in respect of a claim brought by the Fair Work Ombudsman that it was involved in alleged breaches of the sham contracting provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). This was the first successful defence of a claim under s357.

  • Acting as Counsel in NW v Bechtel (Western Australia) Pty Ltd [2014] WASC 375 in successfully resisting an application for pre action discovery seeking the name of a person who made allegations against the applicant which resulted in an investigation by the site principal contractor.

  • Advising a large employer in the fast food industry on its negotiation with the union and implementation of a multi-employer enterprise agreement covering franchisor and franchisees across all states and territories.

  • Advising a large multinational company in the energy sector on the closure of its Australian operations including redundancies and redeployments.

  • Assisting a client in the aviation sector in responding to a dispute notified by a group of employees about the interpretation of the applicable industrial instrument.

  • Obtaining orders dismissing a claim in the Federal Court of Australia before the matter proceeded to a full hearing: Oze-Igiehon v Uber Technology Inc & Ors [2017] FCA 1024.

  •  Acting for the employer on appeal to the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission in the matter of Bristow Helicopters Australia Pty Ltd v Australian Federation of Air Pilots [2017] FWCFB 487 involving a dispute over the applicability of stand down provisions.

  • Advising a large international contract mining company in relation to an investigation by regulatory authorities into a safety incident at the Dervish mine site.

  • Advising a large international construction company on its industrial relations strategy concerning the construction of the Wheatstone LNG project.

  • Advising a gold mining company on its industrial relations strategy for the development of the Tropicanna Gold mine.

  • Advising Troy Resources in relation to the strategy work and on dealing with the unions on the Karouni Gold Project in Guyana.

  • Advising Gold Road Resources on HR and employment law issues including contract, legislative and award compliance.

  • University of Sydney, Master of Labour Law and Relations, MLLR, 2003
  • University of Western Australia, Bachelor of Laws, LLB, (Hons), 1993


  • Since 2014, Leanne has been recognised by the Australian Financial Review as a 'Best Lawyer' for employment law and is listed as a 'Recommended' employment lawyer by Doyles' guide to the legal profession.
  • Leanne is recognised by Legal 500 Australia for Labour and Employment.



Memberships And Affiliations

  • Law Society of Western Australia
  • Board member and current Chair of Zonta House Refuge Association Inc
  • Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD)
  • Member of Women on Boards (WOB)