Amanda Lyras is an experienced adviser in all aspects of employment law.
Her practice spans the full spectrum of the employment life cycle from hiring through to firing, including sensitive discrimination and harassment matters, and complex executive engagements and terminations. She frequently guides her clients on the employment aspects of mergers, acquisitions and restructures, and represents them in contentious employee litigation.
Amanda is also a recognised whistleblowing expert, having been invited by the Senate Economics Committee to participate in the development of the new whistleblowing laws. She routinely handles complex whistleblowing complaints, litigation and investigations, and has advised Commonwealth Bank in landmark whistleblowing proceedings, as well as a large number of listed, public and private companies on their whistleblowing policies and programs.
Amanda is extremely client-focused. She prides herself on being highly responsive and delivering commercial, clear and tailored advice that allows her clients to make timely decisions that are critical to their business operations.
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Workplace Relations, Employment and Safety
Employment aspects of business acquisitions
Amanda advises on all employment aspects of business acquisitions with a view to unlocking workforce value, incentivising key personnel, and navigating employment and regulatory issues affecting the various sectors in which her clients operate.
- Tyro: Amanda advised Tyro, Australia's largest EFTPOS provider outside the big four banks, on the employment-related aspects of its listing on the Australian Stock Exchange, which was touted as the biggest public float of 2019. This included preparing a suite of executive employment contracts, providing advice on incentive terms and the Banking Finance & Insurance Award, as well as revising workplace policies.
- Woolworths: Amanda advised on Woolworth's significant strategic investment in PFD Foods, one of Australia's leading foodservice suppliers, which unlocked important value for both businesses across their combined network. This involved undertaking a detailed employment due diligence including a review of compliance with obligations arising under approximately 20 applicable enterprise agreements and 6 modern awards. She also closely reviewed independent contractor and casual workforce arrangements and advised on nuanced work, health and safety issues applicable to the logistics aspect of the business.
- Blackstone: Amanda advised Blackstone on the employment aspects of the sale of its $3.8bn Milestone logistics portfolio, which was Australia's largest ever direct property transaction. In this role, Amanda worked closely with the Blackstone team on employment terms and retention strategies for key personnel in order to effect a seamless transition of the business to ESR.
- Westpac: Amanda advised Westpac on the employment issues arising from the sale of its motor vehicle dealer finance and novated leasing businesses. With completion of the deal occurring over several stages to allow for a smooth transition, unique considerations arose from an employment perspective in terms of transfer of employment and secondment arrangements to support business continuity, as well as complying with the terms of the Westpac Enterprise Agreement.
- Crescent Capital Partners: Amanda acted as employment counsel to Crescent Capital Partners, the most active private equity manager in healthcare in Australia in the past 10 years, in relation to its acquisition of PRP Diagnostic Imaging, one of Australia's largest radiology businesses. The deal involved consideration of employment issues particular to the healthcare sector, including doctor shareholder/employee arrangements, independent contractor and casual employee engagement and restraints of trade.
Amanda is a trusted adviser to a number of organisations on their whistleblowing policies and programs, including complaint and investigation management. She also has a wealth of experience delivering training to Boards and senior executives on whistleblowing.
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia: Amanda acted for the Bank in landmark whistleblowing proceedings under the new whistleblowing protections in the Corporations Act 2009 (Cth) and the former whistleblowing protections under the Life Insurance Act 1995 (Cth). This involved advising on the scope of the confidentiality and victimisation protections under the legislation, which are largely untested by Australian courts.
- AMP: Amanda worked closely with AMP on the relaunch of the Bank's whistleblowing program following whistleblower law reform, including revising the Group's global whistleblowing policy and delivering tailored whistleblowing training to the Board and senior executive team.
- Alinta Energy: Amanda has undertaken a broad range of work for Alinta Energy in the whistleblowing space, including advising on its whistleblowing policy and approach to whistleblowing reports, delivering whistleblowing training to the Board, senior executives and investigators, developing an e-learning module for staff, and preparing a comprehensive whistleblowing procedures manual.
- Cochlear: Amanda advised on revisions to Cochlear's whistleblowing policy and underlying procedures, as well as the operation of Australian whistleblowing laws to Cochlear's global operations.
- John Holland: Amanda provided advice to John Holland on its whistleblowing policy and approach to whistleblowing reports following the introduction of new whistleblowing laws, including as they relate to complex incorporated and unincorporated joint venture arrangements in which John Holland is involved.
- Rio Tinto Group: Amanda advised Rio Tinto Group on its global whistleblowing policy and approach to whistleblowing disclosures that arise across its international operations.
- Novartis: Amanda has advised Novartis on its global whistleblowing policy to account for Australian legislative changes and developed related staff communications.
- Vertex: Amanda reviewed and amended Vertex's global policies and procedures to address new Australian whistleblowing requirements, provided related advice in relation to the operation of Australian whistleblowing laws, and delivered whistleblowing training to senior management.
- Global automotive company: Amanda advised on a complex and sensitive whistleblower investigation that traversed allegations of financial impropriety and harassment. Amanda worked closely with a global team of instructors to ensure the management of the matter aligned with Australian whistleblowing laws, as well as broader global legal and regulatory requirements.
- Global fleet leasing company: Amanda advised on the management of a whistleblowing claim and a counter-claim brought by a respondent. As part of this, Amanda advised on the day-to-day management of a whistleblowing investigation and developed investigation and confidentiality protocols that aligned with the requirements under Australian whistleblowing laws.
Discrimination and harassment
Amanda is regularly engaged to advise her clients on sensitive matters concerning discrimination, bullying and harassment.
- Large professional services firm: Amanda advised a large professional firm on various employee claims alleging discrimination on the basis of sex, race and disability. The claims as asserted were complex and sensitive in nature and required a thoughtful and strategic response. Amanda provided advice on prospects for the matter and supported the firm in the successful resolution of those claims on a commercial basis.
- Large beauty company: Amanda provided advice to a large beauty company on employee claims of bullying and harassment. This involved advice on the findings of a workplace investigation and appropriate outcomes including resulting disciplinary action.
- Large telecommunications company: Amanda has advised on various employment matters that have raised discrimination considerations, including alleged illness and injury. These types of matters can often raise legal complexities, particularly where there is a need to undertake legitimate performance or conduct management.
- A large private equity firm: Amanda provided advice to a large private equity firm on employee claims across various jurisdictions alleging sex and pregnancy discrimination.
- Facebook: Amanda has provided detailed discrimination advice to Facebook, traversing 13 pieces of applicable equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation in Australia.
- Department of Innovation, Industry and Science: Amanda delivered a tailored and comprehensive face-to-face workplace behaviour training program to Department staff across the country, focusing on the role of bystanders and psychological safety.
- Law Society Diversity & Inclusion Committee: Amanda has been a member of the New South Wales Law Society's Diversity & Inclusion Committee for a number of years. In that role she develops best practice policies and initiatives on discrimination and harassment matters, including in response to the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian workplaces.
Amanda regularly advises clients on matters spanning the entirety of the employment life cycle, from hiring through to firing. This includes preparing and negotiating employment contracts, preparing and reviewing workplace policies and procedures, and advising on performance management, the management of ill and injured workers, termination of employment, employee entitlements and redundancy & restructure issues.
Recent matters include:
- nbn: Amanda advises nbn on a range of day-to-day employment matters, including "unfair dismissal" and "adverse action" claims filed in the Fair Work Commission, workers’ compensation claims, investigations conducted into various workplace complaints, discrimination issues, management of ill and injured workers, restructure programs and the revision and implementation of workplace policies.
- Crescent Capital Partners: Amanda has advised on a variety of employment issues across Crescent's diverse portfolio of companies, acted on behalf of various portfolio companies in litigation before employment tribunals, and advised on the employment aspects of acquisitions.
- Rest Superannuation: Amanda is Rest's employment counsel and advises on a range of day-to-day employment matters, including remote working arrangements, workplace policies, incentive schemes, disciplinary processes and workplace investigations.
- Alinta Energy: Amanda has provided advice Alinta Energy in relation to various employment matters, including executive and employee exits, consultancy arrangements and workplace investigations.
- Bechtel: Amanda advises Bechtel in relation to day-to-day employment issues including employee claims, workforce management during COVID-19, and international assignment arrangements.
- 360 Capital: Amanda has advised 360 Capital on employee exits, restraints of trade, termination benefits legislation, and consultancy arrangements.
- Amanda has advised an investment bank in relation to the hiring of key personnel in highly contested circumstances, including navigating complex restraint of trade terms and anticipated litigation.
- Oaktree Capital: Amanda has provided advice Oaktree Capital on employment issues arising across various portfolio companies, including employee hires and exits.
- InvoCare: Amanda has advised InvoCare on key management personnel changes, incentive programs, employee exits, termination benefits legislation and conduct matters.
- Insulet: Amanda has worked closely with Insulet on its entry into the Australian market, including to prepare various template employment contracts and a comprehensive employee handbook.
- European Investment Bank: Amanda advises EIB in relation to staff issues concerning the Bank's Australian operations.
- Facebook: Amanda has advised Facebook in relation to workforce management during COVID-19, with a focus on work, health and safety.
- MoneyMe: Amanda has advised MoneyMe on its executive employment arrangements in light of requirements under the ASX Listing Rules and Corporations Act.
- Ausgrid: Amanda has provided advice Ausgrid on various employment matters, including in relation to workplace investigations, COVID-19 workforce arrangements, employee departures, and the management of ill and injured workers.
- Teradata: Amanda provides day-to-day advice to Teradata on workforce management and restructures, employee departures and incentive arrangements, and acts on behalf of Teradata in employee claims.
- TK Maxx: Amanda has advised TK Maxx on its employment arrangements and post-employment obligations owed by employees.
- Sydney Trains: Amanda has advised Sydney Trains on the management of workforce change and associated industrial relations matters, as well as individual employee complaints.
- SPS Commerce: Amanda has provided advice to SPS Commerce on modern awards and various workplace policies and procedures.
- Vertex: Amanda has advised Vertex on COVID-19 workforce measures, including in light of work, health and safety and workplace surveillance laws.
See Workplace Relations, Employment and Safety