Kirsty McDonald


I guide businesses through difficult employment and health and safety related issues by providing strategic and pragmatic advice.

My expertise includes disciplinary and performance matters, restructuring, personal grievances, industrial relations, restraints of trade, protection of confidential information, workplace investigations and the employment aspects arising from commercial transactions. I advise a broad range of clients in New Zealand across all sectors such as education, manufacturing, construction, forestry, distribution, transportation, professional services and IT.

Recent employment related advise includes:

  • Advising a multi-national on a complex workplace investigation involving allegations of sexual harassment against a senior executive
  • Successfully representing a Charitable Trust in the Employment Relations Authority determining the status of volunteers
  • Advising a multinational on managing conflicts of interest involving personal relationships
  • Advising a global organisation on its restructure impacting over 20% of its New Zealand business
  • Assisting a global organisation acquire a NZ entity (working with UK lawyers on the employment due diligence)

I am also heavily involved in the health and safety space regularly acting for clients facing prosecution. Recent matters have involved:

  • Representing an Australian Company in a WorkSafe NZ investigation into bullying with no resulting prosecution
  • Representing a roading contractor in a WorkSafe NZ investigation following a fatality with no resulting prosecution
  • Representing numerous organisations in the District Court at sentencing
  • Assisting clients with Enforceable Undertakings and Project Orders

I am an experienced advocate, having represented clients in the Employment Relations Authority, the Employment Court and the District Court. I am recognised as a recommended lawyer by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021 legal directory and regularly present to clients and organisations on employment and health and safety issues.