Kate Walawski

Partner: Employment & Workplace Relations
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Kate Walawski has practised almost exclusively in the area of workplace relations and safety law since leaving a previous career in education and forging a new career in law. Working across all aspects of workplace relations and safety law, Kate has specialised in helping clients traverse and navigate the complexities of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the harmonisation of occupational health and safety laws across Australia and the constantly evolving employment and safety landscape.

She has provided legal expertise in relation to all aspects of employment law arising under common law, state workplace laws, the Fair Work reforms and Australian safety net systems, including compliance with the National Employment Law Standards and the modern awards. Further she has provided legal expertise in relation to securing the health and safety of workers and workplaces, providing industry specific advice and practical solutions to OHS issues and proactively managing regulatory investigation.

She has provided accurate and timely advice, and representation in courts and tribunals, to individual and corporate clients across a wide range of industries in the areas of workplace relations, employment and safety law.

She has advocacy and negotiation experience in the Federal Circuit Court, the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts of Western Australia, the Fair Work Commission, the Western Australian Industrial Magistrates Court and the Industrial Relations Commission, and in the Equal Opportunity Commission and the State Administrative Tribunal.

As a passionate educator, Kate has conducted workshops and provided appropriate training to line managers in relation to, inter alia, workplace behaviour, OHS responsibilities, conducting investigations and performance management.

She has worked closely with Human Resource practitioners and business-owners in the development and implementation of workplace policies and procedures, preparing strategies for organisational change, conducting workplace audits and investigations, developing detailed implementation strategies for enterprise bargaining, and drafting a large array of agreements, checklists, template letters, codes of conduct and policies and procedures. She has worked with clients to introduce an organisational behavioural framework to drive cultural change in relation to appropriate workplace conduct and safety.

Kate has an established history in being able to facilitate the resolution of workplace disputes. As an accredited mediator, she works hard to avoid protracted litigation and to preserve the client’s position in respect of costs, and is able to negotiate a swift resolution and final settlement of all existing and potential claims.

Kate was also recently recognised by Best Lawyers in Australia as a leading Workplace Relations and Employment lawyer for 2020.

When she is not busy with her clients and helping with their employment law concerns, Kate likes to take time out to enjoy floristry and spend time with her two dachshunds, Preston and Winston.


2020 Australian Edition Best Lawyers - Workplace Relations and Employment Law


"The Complexities of Calculating Overtime For Award Covered Casuals"
"Australia's Wage Theft Epidemic: Insurance For Wage Theft Fines - Will That Too Soon Be Prohibited?"
"Top 10 Best Practices for Employers"
"Increase to Minimum Wage Rates for National System Employers"
"Shutting Down Over Christmas and New Year"
"Considering Redundancy in a Covid-19 World - Lessons From The Fair Work Commission"
"Clerks Award Flexibility During the Pandemic"
"Accessing Leave Entitlements and Stand Down: Considerations for Employers"
"Unpaid Pandemic Leave in Response to COVID-19"


"The Corona Hangover: Q&A with Murfett Legal"
"Responding to COVID-19: Your Critical Questions Answered"

areas of expertise

Kate’s expertise in Employment and Workplace Relations includes advising on:

  • Day-to-day workplace and employment issues, including performance, conduct and leave entitlements
  • Post-employment restraints and associated enforcement
  • Unfair dismissal and general protections claims
  • Contracts of employment
  • Independent contractor agreements
  • Restructures, redundancies and transfer of business
  • Employee entitlements and liabilities, including in business sales
  • Equal opportunity, harassment and discrimination and representation in State and Federal tribunals and commissions
  • Policies and procedures
  • Workplace training and investigation
  • Occupational safety and health
  • Award requirements and compliance
  • Industrial relations and enterprise bargaining, including union disputation and right of entry


  • Bachelor of Laws - University of Western Australia (2009)
  • Bachelor of Music Education (Honours) - University of Western Australia (2000)
  • Accredited Mediator - Resolution Institute and the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators


  • Australian Labour Law Association
  • Industrial Relations Society of Western Australia - Committee Member
  • Australia and New Zealand Educational Law Association
  • Law Society of Western Australia
  • Women Lawyers of Western Australia Inc.
  • Resolution Institute and the National Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators