Melinda Bell

Special Counsel

Qualifications: BA, LL.B (Hons)

Practices

With over 14 years of experience, Melinda provides strategic and practical advice on a range of employment and industrial relations law issues.

She has extensive experience in the drafting and implementation of enterprise agreements, including advising on compliance with good faith bargaining obligations and the industrial action provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009. She is also experienced in negotiations on enterprise agreements and in resolving workplace industrial relations issues. Through a recent secondment to the Victorian public sector, Melinda is uniquely positioned to advise clients on the intersection of public sector industrial instruments, legislation and the Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees.

Melinda advises clients on the employment law aspects of commercial transactions, corporate restructures, transfers of business and outsourcing arrangements. She also assists clients with the performance management of employees, employee discipline and the implementation of redundancies and workplace change.

Melinda is experienced in advising and handling unfair dismissal applications, general protections claims and disputes in the Fair Work Commission. She also conducts and manages workplace investigations, including under client legal privilege.

Recently, Melinda has been engaged in a number of underpayment and workplace compliance audits. She is experienced in managing such complex matters under client legal privilege, which includes advising on the interpretation of industrial instruments, managing internal and external stakeholders, advising on and managing reporting obligations, developing communication strategies and engagement with regulators (including the Fair Work Ombudsman and Australian Taxation Office).

Experience

  • Drafting and advising on the implementation of enterprise agreements, including communication strategies, submissions and appearing before the Fair Work Commission for employers in the aged care, banking and finance, health, manufacturing, franchising (retail and fast food), building and construction and transport and logistics industries.
  • Conducting workplace investigations and reporting on findings of investigations into complaints and workplace issues for corporate employers and the public sector.
  • Advising on independent contractor arrangements, drafting independent contractor agreements and conducting workforce audits.
  • Advising on compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009, including the National Employment Standards, modern awards and franchisor liability provisions.
  • Managing ill and injured workers, including advising on the application of worker’s compensation legislation and discrimination legislation in various jurisdictions.
  • Recently seconded to a Victorian public sector agency, Melinda managed complex workplace grievances, investigated and resolved workplace behaviour and ethical issues (including bullying, discrimination, harassment and disciplinary matters), managed public complaints and advised on risk and legal issues arising out of workplace behaviour and ethical matters.

Awards and recognition

Best Lawyers in Australia 2022
Special Counsel – Litigation

Latest thinking

Employment & Workplace Relations | 12 May 2021

Pre-approval requirements for enterprise agreements: hurdles preventing approval

Employers must ensure that they comply with enterprise agreement pre-approval requirements set out in the Fair Work Act, which in recent years have been strictly interpreted. We examine the recent case law and look at the implications for employers.