Jessie Lapthorne


Jessie is a partner in the employment and health and safety team and is based in Auckland. She has 20 years’ experience as an employment law specialist, in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Jessie is an experienced litigator, regularly appearing in the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court.

Jessie’s expertise spans the full spectrum of workplace law, including disciplinary and performance matters; restructuring and redundancy procedures; personal grievances; restraint of trade disputes; protection of confidential information; health and safety; and human rights issues; where her input ranges from front-end guidance, to dispute resolution and advocacy.

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Working closely with her clients to guide them through difficult people related problems, Jessie helps them achieve their commercial objectives in the most effective way. She is focused on providing advice that is pragmatic, commercially driven, and relevant.

Jessie has a diverse client base that cuts across a variety of sectors and acts for some of New Zealand’s most recognised home-grown companies as well as several international brands. She takes the time to understand her clients’ businesses to ensure her advice is targeted and well suited to meeting their needs.

Recent employment work includes:

  • Successfully represented an employer in relation to an unjustified dismissal claim in the Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court, and Court of Appeal.
  • Defended a large airline in relation to a claim in the Employment Relations Authority brought by an employee dismissed for committing a sexual act with a passenger.
  • Successfully defended an application for judicial review in the Employment Court.
  • Successfully defended a claim for unjustified dismissal brought by an employee of a charitable trust in the Employment Relations Authority. 
  • Successfully defended two individuals who were being sued by a former employer for breaches of restraints of trade, which were held to be unenforceable by the Employment Relations Authority.
  • Defended an aged care provider in relation to a claim brought under the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act 2017.
  • Represented a manufacturer in relation to a WorkSafe investigation and prosecution following a fatality at its workshop.
  • Brought a successful jurisdiction-based challenge in the Employment Court against a penalty award issued by the Employment Relations Authority.
  • Defended a global company in the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court in a 90-day trial period dismissal case.

Jessie's insights

Insurance law insights featured in GILC Risk Radar report 2024

24 May 2024

Limitation of liability clauses upheld by the High Court

18 April 2024

Employment newsletter

9 April 2024

We're driven by our values

They drive our client relationships and connections with our community, and underpin our achievements.

He tāngata

  • Member of the Duncan Cotterill board.
  • Member of St Mary’s Ellerslie school board.
  • Authors articles and presents at seminars, conferences and industry events.
  • Provides media commentary.


  • Recognised as a ‘Leading Practitioner’ in the Best Lawyers New Zealand 2025 directory for Labour and Employment Law.
  • Recommended lawyer in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific legal directory.
  • Included in Doyle’s Guide Leading Employment Lawyer – New Zealand 2023 and 2024.


  • Member of the New Zealand Law Society, Auckland District Law Society, Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association, Human Resources Institute of New Zealand and Employment Lawyers Association (UK).
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.
  • Solicitor of the High Court of England and Wales.

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