Executive Employment

Senior executives often face unique and complex employment issues that require prompt and discrete legal advice to achieve a resolution without any reputational damage.

Legal advice for senior employees

The lawyers at Jewell Hancock Employment Lawyers have acted for Managing Directors, Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Principals, Human Resources Managers, In-House Counsel, and other senior executives in the public and private sectors, including at ASX-listed and international companies. 

We understand the unique nature of negotiating employment law matters involving executives, including the importance of protecting professional reputation and preserving ongoing relationships.

Contact us today to arrange a no-obligation confidential discussion with one of our experienced lawyers.

We can assist with:

Executive employment termination 

Contract reviews

Contract disputes

Executive employment law matters are complex, so getting accurate legal and strategic advice from an experienced employment lawyer can make all the difference in reaching a timely resolution with successful outcomes. 

With over two decades of combined experience, our highly skilled Melbourne employment lawyers pride themselves on resolving matters early to achieve fair and practical outcomes. 

Executive employment termination 

Towards the end of your employment, precise and timely employment law advice may make all the difference in protecting your professional reputation and ensuring you receive your legal entitlements. 

Our team of employment lawyers are experienced in acting for executives involved in employment disputes such as workplace investigations, allegations of misconduct and unfair dismissal. 

Redundancy vs unfair dismissal

Executive redundancy can occur because of business restructures, economic and technological changes, or when an employer becomes insolvent or bankrupt. This type of termination of employment is not related to poor performance or misconduct. 

Our knowledgeable legal team can advise on executive redundancy entitlements, including redundancy payment and the required termination notice period. If your termination was not a case of genuine redundancy, an employment lawyer will be able to determine if you can bring an unfair dismissal claim, depending on your annual remuneration.  

Higher-income employees not covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement are not entitled to unfair dismissal protection under the Fair Work Act but other protections do apply. General protections and discrimination claims can generally be made regardless of income and executive employees may also be able to make contractual claims (e.g. reasonable notice), and other statutory claims such as under the Australian Consumer Law

If you are dismissed and earn over the high-income threshold, we can assist with timely expert employment law advice. 

Why choose us?

Fixed Fees

No-win no-fee

Plain Speak

20+ years Experience

Partner Contact

Contract reviews

To avoid legal issues before they arise, our executive employment lawyers can assist with negotiating terms and conditions within executive employment contracts.

We have extensive experience in providing expert legal and strategic advice on executive employment contracts, including complex bonus arrangements, short- and long-term incentive schemes, profit sharing plans and remuneration clauses unique to executives.

With our express document review service, a Principal Lawyer of the firm will review your employment contracts (or other document) and will send email advice within 24 hours. 

Contract disputes

The terms you agree to when entering the employment relationship will significantly impact your post-employment restraints or obligations. Confidentiality, non-compete, and non-solicitation clauses in employment contracts can restrict you from working for a competitor for a period making it difficult to move on to new employment. 

Lengthy notice periods are an increasingly common mandate for senior executives or those with highly sought-after skills. For employees bound by these extended timeframes, it can be difficult to navigate how and when to leave a role for a new opportunity, especially if a new or prospective employer wants you to start sooner. We provide legal advice on notice periods and a range of other contract disputes for people in executive roles, including:

  • Restraint of trade clauses
  • Non-solicitation clauses
  • Bonus disputes
  • Breaches of confidentiality obligations (or non-disclosure agreements)

Shareholder and directorship issues

Disputes between directors are common and can arise for many different reasons, such as disagreements about the management of a business, the direction and future of the business or due to a relationship breakdown. These disputes can become more complex where directors are also shareholders. 

Our executive employment lawyers are experienced in navigating directorship and shareholder disputes and employee share schemes. We can provide you with advice on your position and the potential implications of the dispute and assist in negotiations or legal proceedings in court. 

Contact us today to arrange a no-obligation confidential discussion with one of our experienced lawyers.

Frequently asked questions

The high income threshold operates as a limit to an employee’s eligibility to be protected from unfair dismissal under the Fair Work Act 2009.

If an employee is not covered by a modern award, or if an enterprise agreement does not apply to them, they must earn less than the high income threshold which is currently $167,500.

A deed of release, also sometimes referred to as a “separation deed”, “deed of settlement” or “release agreement”, is usually an agreement between an employer and employee to settle all claims arising out of the employment.

They are often used when there has been a breakdown in the employment relationship and the parties wish to record an agreement to end the employment on agreed terms, or to settle a claim made by the employee in a court or tribunal. 

A deed of release contains lasting obligations that can sometimes impact the rest of your professional career. When drafted by an employer, they can also contain terms that are deliberately more favourable to the employer. If a particular provision is overlooked or is poorly drafted, it can cause significant reputational damage and can potentially restrain your conduct for many years to come.

An experienced employment lawyer will be able to advise you on the terms, negotiating amendments and options available to you if you do not wish to sign the release agreement.

A confidentiality agreement, also known as a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a legal agreement commonly used to protect sensitive information, trade secrets, or proprietary data shared between parties. The party or parties signing the agreement agree to terms and conditions under which confidential information can be shared and used.

Depending on the circumstances, these obligations can be documented in either:

  • A free-standing confidentiality agreement, or
  • A clauses within an agreement