Barrister specialising in Employment and Health and Safety Law
I have more than 20 years’ legal experience, practising in the specialist areas of employment law and health and safety law. I began my legal career in the United Kingdom, working in the employment law team at multinational law firm, Herbert Smith (now Herbert Smith Freehills).
I moved to New Zealand in 2008 with my Kiwi wife and a young family and worked for five years in the employment law team of MinterEllisonRuddWatts as a Senior Associate, before moving to Kensington Swan (now Dentons Kensington Swan) in early 2013.
From October 2016 until February 2022, I was the lead in-house employment lawyer at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, where I managed its Employment Law & Employment Relations team.
Throughout my legal career, I have worked closely with human resources practitioners and teams and provided advice on complex matters to senior managers and boards in both the public and private sectors. My time as an in-house lawyer, working in a large, complex institution, has given me a deep understanding of the operational complexities within an organisation. This experience helps me to provide legal and strategic advice and support that extends beyond simply advising on what the law might be when you or your organisation are confronted with difficult employment relationship issues or situations.
After more than five years working in-house, I decided to move to the independent Bar to enable me to use my experience and expertise to help a broader range of clients.
I strive always to provide advice and support that is pragmatic, responsive and focussed on my client’s strategic objectives. I enjoy working collaboratively with clients to find innovative ways to resolve issues, and to help them to achieve their goals.
Under NZ Law Society rules, I can accept direct instructions from clients on most employment law matters, without the need for an instructing solicitor, and am very comfortable working directly with HR practitioners and managers. I am also happy to accept instructions from, and am used to working collaboratively with, in-house or external solicitors.
I am experienced in, and can help with a wide range of employment and health and safety matters, including in the following areas:
- Personal grievances and litigation in the Employment Relations Authority or Employment Court
- External workplace investigations and reviews in relation to complex employment relationship matters, including formal complaints alleging workplace bullying, sexual and/or racial harassment or discrimination
- Employment issues arising from COVID-19
- Dispute resolution, with a particular focus on mediation and restorative practices (at the University, I was involved in the design and establishment of its internal employee advisory and resolution service – EARS Te Rauawa)
- Performance improvement processes
- Employee medical and health issues
- Restraints of trade and preservation of confidential information
- Protected disclosures
- Collective bargaining and union relationship issues
- Holidays Act issues, including remediation and engagement with the Labour Inspectorate
- Restructurings and staff transfers
- Drafting employment agreements, contracts for services and workplace policies.
Health and safety
- Advising PCBUs and officers on their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 in the context of an organisation’s operations
- Representing clients in WorkSafe NZ investigations and prosecutions.
- Advising on responses to requests for information made under the Official Information Act 1982 and/or the Privacy Act 2020.
Contact Steve Wragg
Level 2, Solnet House
70 The Terrace
P: +64 4 242 0272
M: +64 21 562 191
LLB (Hons) (European), University of Warwick
Certificat de Droit Français, Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV, France
Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Distinction), College of Law, London