Karen Radich

With over 21 years specialist experience, Karen Radich is skilled in all areas of employment law. Primarily acting for employers and senior executives, she has a reputation for a straightforward and practical approach to resolving complex issues.

Karen is familiar with both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining Clifton Chambers in March 2012, Karen was a partner at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts for over nine years and has spent 2 years working in-house in a large Government Department. As well as her law degree, Karen has a BA in Political Science and a Master of Business Studies.

Karen is author of Employment Mediation (2013) and regularly publishes articles and conference papers. She is recognised in key international legal directories, including Chambers Global (Leading), PLC Which Lawyer (Endorsed), The Best Lawyers in New Zealand (Leading), and the Legal 500 directory singles her out for ‘exceptional legal advice’.

Karen’s particular areas of expertise, each of which is discussed below, are:

  • Employment litigation
  • Restructuring
  • Employment Investigations
  • Performance management
  • Medical issues
  • Collective bargaining
  • Employment legislation
  • Mediation
  • Management training

Employment litigation

Karen represents employers in grievance and dispute cases in the Employment Relations Authority, the Employment Court, and the Court of Appeal.  Her particular talent is defending claims of unjustified dismissal and good faith breaches, but she has also acted in a number of cases concerning collective agreement terms, redundancy grievances, and constructive dismissal claims.


Karen has managed a number of restructuring processes from beginning to end, including preparing consultation documents for staff and unions to consider, drafting letters to affected employees, advising on employee responses to the restructuring process, considering the comparison of roles between old and new structures, and defending any grievance claims that result.  She understands the law in this area, but also the options for proceeding with organisational restructuring in ways which minimise any risk.

Employment investigations

Karen is skilled in conducting independent employment investigations.  She focusses on undertaking a thorough and unbiased investigation, and ensures that a fair process is followed.  As an external investigator, Karen has the time and capacity to prepare a detailed investigation report which can be relied on by the employer and incorporates any responses made by the employees involved.

Performance management

Dealing with performance issues can be fraught and time-consuming for an employer, particularly where those issues are intermingled with health problems or ‘stress’ claims.  Karen provides robust and practical advice to employers as they embark on performance management processes and assists with responding to any challenges which might arise.

Medical issues

Karen has advised a number of employers in responding to difficult medical cases, including situations where elements of stress claims and mental health issues are apparent.  She is an expert on drug testing issues, and was selected to present a conference paper on this topic at the 2012 New Zealand Law Society Employment Law Conference.

Collective bargaining

Karen is experienced in collective bargaining, having represented a number of employer clients in their negotiations with a variety of unions.   Her work primarily involves preparing a bargaining process agreement, developing a bargaining strategy, acting as the employer’s advocate during bargaining meetings, advising on responses to industrial action, and drafting new collective agreement provisions.

Employment legislation

Karen is familiar with the requirements of a variety of employment-related legislation, including the Employment Relations Act, Holidays Act, Human Rights Act, Privacy Act and Wages Protection Act.  She has acted in two cases concerning minimum wage claims for sleepover periods and is experienced in advising Boards and Chief Executives when issues have arisen with management employees.


Karen has an MBS degree majoring in Dispute Resolution, so has an in-depth understanding of all dispute resolution and negotiation techniques.  Karen is co-author of a book entitled Employment Mediation – A Guide to Mediating Employment Disputes published by Brookers in 2005. She also completed the LEADR training course for professional mediators and is an accredited member of the LEADR Panel of Mediators.


Karen is an accomplished public speaker, having completed the NZ Speech and Drama Board examinations to Grade 8 level.  She is often asked to present papers at employment law and industrial relations conferences, and at Law Society seminars.