Karen Radich is a specialist employment lawyer.

Karen has over 25 years of experience and is skilled in all areas of employment law, particularly focussing on litigation, legal advice, and investigation processes. Primarily acting for employers and senior executives, she has a reputation for a straightforward and practical approach to resolving complex issues and for effectively representing clients.

Karen is familiar with both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining Clifton Chambers as a Barrister in March 2012, Karen spent 9 years as a partner of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts and 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 (Dispute Resolution) and a Master of Laws (LLM). She is a member of the Employment Law Committee of the New Zealand Law Society, is on the Government Superannuation Appeals Board, spent 5 years as a member of an NZLS professional disciplinary committee, and sits on a Legal Aid Assessment Committee.

Karen is author of Employment Mediation (2013) and regularly publishes articles and conference papers. She has been recognised in key international legal directories, including Chambers Global (ranked as Leading) and the Legal 500 directory which singled her out for ‘exceptional legal advice’.

Karen’s particular areas of expertise are:

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. 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, including with senior executive performance.

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 represented employers in two cases concerning minimum wage claims for sleepover periods.


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 has also completed the LEADR training programme for professional 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.

Contact Karen Radich

Level 1 Solnet House
70 The Terrace
Wellington 6011
Phone: +64 4 974 5953
Mobile: +64 21 688 646


LLB – University of Otago
BA (Political Science) – Victoria University of Wellington
MBS (Dispute Resolution) – Massey University
LLM (First Class Honours) – University of Auckland