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Frances  Thomas

Senior Lawyer

Frances is a Legal Practitioner Director in the Sydney office of Ai Group Workplace Lawyers.

Frances has been a commercial lawyer for 20 years and has specialised in workplace law for 12 years, first in England and Wales and then in Australia. Frances has a special interest in anti-discrimination law, creation and enforcement of post-employment obligations and senior executive engagement and separation.

Frances’ experience in employment law includes advising and acting for employers in relation to all aspects of employment from engagement, performance management and flexible work arrangements, to absence management and termination. At times this has included advising and representing employers in proceedings in common law courts in relation to breach of contractual and fiduciary obligations (such as post-employment restraints and confidentiality), and at other times acting and appearing for employers in workplace discrimination claims, termination of employment and General Protections claims in State and Federal forums, as well as the Fair Work Commission.

Frances has a special interest in developing dispute avoidance and resolution strategies, particularly in contexts such as employment separation, illness and absence management, redundancy and restructures, workplace behaviour and anti-discrimination. This experience has recently been put to task in the course of conducting and advising employers on workplace investigations into allegations of bullying, harassment, misconduct and unlawful discrimination.

In addition Frances has a breadth of experience in negotiating, drafting and interpreting contracts of employment, enterprise agreements and policies, as well as providing strategic advice on transfer of business, workplace structures and strategic planning with a view to avoiding disputes and contraventions of workplace regulation.

Frances has worked with a variety of multi-national and large to medium sized employers, including with respect to cross-border transactions and movement of staff.


BA and LLB – University of Cape Town, South Africa

PSC and LPC – England and Wales

Admitted to practice in England and Wales in 2005


  • Representing and advising a multi-national business in relation to an investigation by a workplace regulator into alleged discriminatory recruitment practices in Australia. Technical arguments persuaded the regulator against prosecuting the business and concluded the matter promptly.
  • Advising and representing a recruitment agency in successful (and at the time, novel) pre-action discovery and injunction proceedings against an employee who had breached their fiduciary duties.
  • Advising a tertiary education provider in a race discrimination claim against the institution, certain senior staff and the then pro-vice- chancellor. The dispute concluded by parties reaching a non-monetary settlement and the institution avoiding a full public hearing.

What you won’t find elsewhere

  • Experience dealing with claims brought under the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001


02 9466 5545
02 9466 5593
0415 044 632


Deborah Nicholls
02 9466 5560

51 Walker Street,

North Sydney NSW 2060

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