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Sara Summerbell

Sara Summerbell is a special counsel in the Employment Practice Group. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Sara was a principal and managing counsel for BHP, one of the world's leading energy and resources companies. With BHP, Sara worked in the United States, across South America, Asia Pacific and the UK. Before working in-house, she spent seven years at a top-tier international law firm specializing in employment and labor relations law. An experienced presenter and legal educator, Sara has developed and facilitated extensive training programs to executives, HR teams, in-house counsel and industry groups on a wide range of employment law issues. Sara has appeared in Federal and Victorian Courts as well as tribunals including the Fair Work Commission and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

From Tuesday, 12 December 2023, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) will have new powers to commence an inquiry and ensure compliance when it ‘reasonably suspects’ an organization is not complying with its positive duty under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (“Sex Discrimination Act”). The positive duty commenced in December 2022 following the passing of legislation to implement a recommendation in the Respect@Work Report.

Does your workforce include casual employees? Laws relating to casual employment have undergone significant changes due to recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). Several changes require employers to take action now, by or after 27 September 2021. We set these out below along with some recommended actions.