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Employment Law Update: Casual Employees and Class Actions - UTS Open
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Employment Law Update



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4 hrs

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Join us online at UTS for the next instalment in our popular series of employment law updates. Hear expert analysis of recent developments in the laws applying to casual employment contracts. Gain valuable insights into the use of class action procedures in employment law claims, including those involving casual employees.

About this course

Recently, the High Court’s decision in WorkPac v Rossato and amendments to the act have provided important clarification of the permanent vs casual employee distinction.

In this half-day legal CPD course, participants will hear from leading experts about the combined impact of these developments on construction of casual employment contracts, the distinction between employees and independent contractors and class actions involving employees.

As class action procedures are increasingly favoured by employment law claimants, an understanding of these procedures is important for all legal advisors in this field, whether acting for the plaintiff or the defendant. Our speakers will share their extensive knowledge of procedures for class action involving employees, including updates on regulation of litigation funders and strategic management of risk for litigants. The impact of the Rossato decision and future directions for class actions in this field will also be examined.

Key benefits of this course

This short course has been designed to give participants:

  • Insights into current issues, case developments and legislative updates in the area of casual employment contracts and class actions involving employees
  • Knowledge of recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the High Court decision in WorkPac v Rossato and procedural aspects of employee class actions
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) - For NSW lawyers, the Law Society of New South Wales advises: "If this particular educational activity extends your knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant to your practice needs or professional development, then you should claim one (1) "unit" for each hour of attendance, refreshment breaks not included."


Full price: $484 (GST-free)*

*Price subject to change. Please check price at time of purchase. 

Discounts are available for this course. For further details and to verify if you qualify, please check the Discounts section under Additional course information.

Enrolment conditions

Course purchase is subject to UTS Open Terms and Conditions. 

COVID-19 response 

UTS complies with latest Government health advice. Delivery of all courses complies with the UTS response to COVID-19.

Additional course information

Course outline

8:55am   Log on to Zoom – participants arrive

9:00am   Welcome and introduction
Chair: Professor Joellen Riley Munton

9:15am   The construction of the employment contract after the High Court decision in WorkPac v Rossato
Speaker: Christopher Parkin, Barrister, 5 Wentworth Chambers

  • The common law concept of casual employment
  • Recent amendments to the Fair Work Act dealing with casual employment
  • Implications for the employee vs independent contractor distinction
  • Options for employees whose contracts do not reflect the reality of their employment relationship.

10:15am   Break (10 mins)

10:25am   Class actions in employment law
Speaker: Philippa Munton, Senior Associate, Corrs Chambers Westgarth

  • Overview of class action procedures in Australia
  • Types of employment related class actions
  • Reasons behind the uptake in employment class actions in recent years
  • Procedural differences between employment law class actions and other class actions
    -  Security for costs
    -  Discovery
    -  Civil penalties
    -  Communications with workers / ‘group members’
  • Impact of Rossato and recent amendments to Fair Work Act on current employment class actions in Australia.

11:25am   Break (10 mins)

11:35am   Class actions in employment law
Speaker: Brad Woodhouse, Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth

  • Recent amendments concerning regulation of litigation funders
  • Strategies and procedural risks for defendants
  • Declassing applications
  • Competing class actions – the ‘beauty parade’
  • Settlement and common fund orders
  • Expectations for trends in employment class actions after Rossato.

12:35pm   Questions from the audience

12:50pm   Close.

Course learning objectives

This short course will equip participants with:

  • Knowledge of important developments affecting the employee vs independent contractor distinction
  • Valuable perspectives on construction of casual employment contracts
  • A general understanding of the increasing role of class actions in employment claims
  • An understanding of key procedural aspects of employment class actions
  • Insights into specific aspects of class actions, such as litigation funding, risk management for defendants, declassing applications, competing actions and settlements
  • Expert opinions on how the Rossato decision might impact future employee class actions.



This course will be facilitated online using Zoom, with course materials provided via Canvas. You will need:

  • Access to a computer or device with a reliable internet connection
  • Operating system compatible with Zoom and a web browser compatible with the Canvas
  • Speakers or headphones for audio
  • Microphone and video camera functionality (optional but recommended).


Discounts are available for this course as follows:  

  • UTS alumni and current students: 10% discount
  • UTS staff: 10% discount (see below)
  • Multiple enrolments from the same organisation: 10-15% discount

Discounts cannot be combined and only one discount can be applied per person per course session. Discounts can only be applied to the full price. Discounts cannot be applied to any offered special price.  

UTS staff, alumni and students: How to enrol and obtain your UTS discount  

Group enrolments from the same organisation

To take up this offer, email law.shortcourses@uts.edu.au with:

  • Your organisation’s name
  • The course name and date 
  • The number of people you’ll be enrolling (minimum of 2 participants).

How to apply your discount voucher 

  • If you are eligible for a UTS alumni or student discount, please ensure you have provided your UTS student number during checkout. If you are an alumni and have forgotten your UTS student number, email support@utsopen.uts.edu.au with your full name, UTS degree and year of commencement.  
  • Add this course to your cart 
  • Click on "View Cart" (blue shopping trolley at top right of screen). You will need to sign in or sign up to UTS Open 
  • Enter your eligible code beneath the "Have a discount code?" prompt and click on the blue "Apply" button 
  • Verify your voucher code has been successfully applied before clicking on the blue "Checkout" button.

Contact us

Who is this course for?

This short course is suitable for, but not limited to:

  • General practitioners completing continuing legal education
  • Employment law specialists
  • Senior managers and leadership teams
  • In-house legal teams
  • Corporate counsel
  • Legal officers
  • HR managers and "People and Culture" staff
  • Non-executive directors
  • NFP employers
  • C Suite leadership team.
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Acknowledgement of Country

UTS acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation, the Bidiagal people and the Gamaygal people, upon whose ancestral lands our university stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.