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Team Members

Gemma Sharp

Special Counsel
Gemma brings over 10 years’ experience providing advice and representation to employers on employment, industrial discrimination and health and safety matters.

As a special counsel in Cooper Grace Ward’s workplace relations and safety team, Gemma brings over 10 years’ experience providing advice and representation to employers on employment, industrial discrimination and health and safety matters.

Gemma advises a range of clients across various industries, including retail, finance, early childhood and education, transport, and religious organisations, on issues such as compliance and duties under workplace health and safety legislation; unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment; the operation of employment contracts and restraint of trade provisions; independent contractor and employee distinctions; award and enterprise agreement applicability and provisions; dismissal risks and strategies; management of ill and injured employees; workers’ compensation claims; and general protections claims.

Having worked in both private practice and in-house roles, she understands the importance of providing practical commercial legal solutions for businesses.

In addition to her workplace relations and safety work, Gemma also advises religious organisations on complex church matters, and early childhood and educational institutions on education and child safety related matters and privacy law.

  • Juris Doctor of Laws – Bond University
  • Bachelor of Business- RMIT
  • Solicitor – Supreme Court of Queensland.

Industrial relations and employment relations

  • Advising about general employment obligations for award and award free employees to small and large commercial organisations.
  • Conducting workplace investigations to investigate claims of bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment.
  • Representing clients in the Fair Work Commission for unfair dismissal and general protections claims.
  • Representing clients in the Fair Work Commission for applications to terminate enterprise agreements and to vary Modern Awards.
  • Drafting enterprise agreements and assisting throughout negotiation process.
  • Drafting employment contracts, policies, enterprise agreements, individual flexibility agreements and relevant deeds.
  • Providing training to organisations and their employees on general employment related matters

Education and early childhood

  • Advising regarding Education and Care Service National Law and assisting in incident investigations for child safety matters.
  • Considering and assisting institutions with mandatory reporting obligations in early childhood education.
  • Undertaking workplace investigations and preparing incident investigations reports.
  • Providing advice to education and early childhood organisations regarding privacy law obligations including investigation and assessment of notifiable data breaches.

Religious organisations

  • Conducting investigations in relation to conduct of clergy and resolving disputes within congregations.
  • Establishing and reviewing grievance mechanisms for incorporated and unincorporated congregations.
  • Drafting stipend arrangements for clergy and providing legal advice in relation to call entitlements.
  • Advising letters patent organisations on complex legal matters, including, equitable property disputes and church structures in manner that is consistent with the Church and its Mission.

Areas of Expertise


Minimum wage to increase to $915.90 per week from 1 July 2024

The Fair Work Commission has handed down its annual wage review decision for 2024. From 1 July 2024, the national minimum wage will increase to $915.90 per week.

Qantas’ adverse action appeal grounded following landmark High Court decision

The High Court of Australia’s decision in Qantas Airways Limited v Transport Workers Union of Australia provides more certainty regarding the application of adverse action in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Qld).

$380,000 fine for harmful work culture serves as reminder to protect employee mental wellbeing

A $380,000 fine for Court Services Victoria demonstrates the consequences for employers who do not take steps to ensure their workplaces are conducive to the mental health of employees.