Nicola Smith

Senior Principal Lawyer

Nicola was admitted as a solicitor in April 2007 and has practised exclusively in the areas of employment law and industrial relations, specialising in public sector employment law, since December 2007. She has been a Senior Principal Lawyer in the Workplace Law Team since August 2017.

Nicola has extensive experience advising a wide range of clients, both in the public and private sectors, on the full range of employment law matters including managing complex employment matters, disciplinary matters, performance management, managing long-term absences including medical retirements and responding to employee complaints and grievances. Nicola also specialises in the conduct of litigation and public service appeals involving employment issues and unfair dismissal claims.

She regularly provides strategic and pragmatic advice to clients with a view to minimising the legal risks that arise in complex and sensitive workplace matters.

Nicola's experience includes:

  • providing advice in relation to allegations of misconduct, including drafting terms of reference, reviewing investigation reports, identifying risks in relation to any procedural or substantive deficiencies in investigation reports and how to best manage those risks
  • preparing show cause notices and penalty letters in disciplinary matters
  • assisting agencies with managing performance issues, including reviewing performance improvement process documents and, where appropriate, drafting disciplinary correspondence
  • representing and advising employers in unfair dismissal and adverse action claims, including appearing at hearings before the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and Fair Work Commission
  • advising on various matters relating to certified agreements and enterprise agreements, including options for terminating agreements
  • advising employers in relation to systemic underpayment matters
  • investigating allegations of sexual harassment, adverse action and undeclared conflict of interest
  • investigating complaints of alleged bullying, harassment and discrimination
  • preparing necessary correspondence and briefing notes to facilitate independent medical assessments and ill-health retirements under the Public Service Act 2008
  • advising on employment and industrial issues, including on the existence and exercise of statutory powers and functions
  • providing statutory interpretation advice of public service and industrial relations legislation and public service directives
  • negotiating settlements of discrimination complaints, claims of unfair dismissal and workers’ compensation matters, and drafting deeds of settlement in such matters.