Chris Hartigan - Thomson Geer

Chris Hartigan

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2016

Chris joined Thomson Geer as a partner in 2008. Chris has been a partner specialising in Employment and Workplace Relations for 14 years. Chris advises and represents employers on issues involved in unfair dismissal claims, anti-discrimination claims, occupational health and safety prosecutions, enterprise bargaining and industrial disputes.

Chris has broad experience representing corporate clients in industrial and employment disputes in the Fair Work Commission, the Victorian Supreme Court, the Federal Court, the High Court and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

His expertise in the area of Workplace Relations is based on a thorough understanding of the commercial implications of the Fair Work Act 2009.

Chris advises and defends corporate clients in relation to investigations and prosecutions by government regulators including the Fair Work Ombudsman, Fair Work Building and Construction, Worksafe and Comcare.

Relevant Experience

  • Eastlink - Represented Thiess John Holland in answer to claims from the CFMEU alleging an underpayment of $4 million on the Eastlink Project. Chris successfully obtained a clarification of the applicable certified agreement and settled a parallel Federal Court matter and a High Court application by the CFMEU.
  • Represented a number of financial institutions, including AMP, ING and CBA in the AIRC at the time of a common rule application by the ACTU in Victoria, which may have had the effect of replacing existing super funds with funds nominated in the applicable award. This involved advising those institutions about the effect of the application, preparing the case before the AIRC and negotiating a settlement with the ACTU which was then included in the standard common rule award superannuation clause.  This case had the potential to disturb the superannuation arrangements of hundreds of thousands of employees in Victoria.
  • Represented John Holland in the West Gate Bridge dispute in 2009, including obtaining several injunctions in the Federal Court where Chris sought the imposition of $50million worth of penalties on the construction unions for unlawful industrial action.
  • Victorian Desalination Plant - Represented Thiess in a significant industrial dispute with the ETU in relation to the redundancy of electricians on the Plant.  This involved representing Thiess in the Federal Court and in the FWC.
  • Represented John Holland in a number of OHS investigations and prosecutions brought by Comcare against John Holland including a prosecution arising from a fatality at the BHPIO Newman Hub project in Western Australia in 2009, and a prosecution arising from a John Holland Rail project in St Kilda in Melbourne in 2007.  Chris is familiar with Comcare’s prosecutions in the Federal Jurisdiction.

Office Location

Level 39, Rialto South Tower
525 Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Practice Areas

Labour and Employment Law