Kirsty McDonald


Kirsty is an employment and health and safety specialist with 20 years’ experience.

Kirsty advises on all manner of workplace issues across a broad range of sectors, with a specific focus on education, energy, manufacturing, construction, logistics, distribution, professional services and technology.

She regularly advises employers, senior managers and Boards of Trustees on sensitive workplace issues, including relationship difficulties, complex restructuring, investigations, holidays act compliance, all while considering compliance with current and future legal issues. Clients appreciate Kirsty’s pragmatic and strategic approach which is reflected through her experience representing large global organisations and iconic NZ brands – recognised leaders in their sectors.

Kirsty also represents clients when Worksafe New Zealand investigates incidents of serious harm.

Recent highlights:

  • Working with several global organisations advising on their NZ restructuring.
  • Advising a global organisation on the acquisition of a NZ entity, working with UK lawyers.
  • Advising on the instruction of external investigators to assist with investigations into sexual harassment, bullying, theft, etc.
  • Advising a sector on whether their workforce are employees or contractors.
  • Advising a multinational organisation on managing conflicts of interest from personal relationships.
  • Advising global organisations on the impact of share and asset sales.
  • Chairing various Judicial Committees.
  • Advising a Franchisor on the employee/ contractor status of Franchisee workers.
  • Providing advice to a range of private and public secondary schools, primary schools, and early childhood centres regarding allegations involving misconduct, bullying, privacy breaches.
  • Advising Limited Statutory Managers, Commissioners and Boards of Trustees.
  • Advising on a Royal Commissions of Inquiry.
  • Representing a range of corporates in different sectors when investigated by WorkSafe NZ.
  • Advising labour hire businesses involved in WorkSafe NZ investigations of serious harm.
  • Successfully negotiating a s34 charge in place of a s36 charge for a labour hire business.
  • Successfully representing a client involved in a fatality where the charges were withdrawn.
  • Representation of a large construction company with allegations of recklessness.
  • Assisting clients with Enforceable Undertakings and Project Orders.

Kirsty's insights

Uber drivers - the latest decision in the contractor or employee debate

31 October 2022

Limitation of liability clauses upheld by the High Court

18 April 2024

Employment newsletter

9 April 2024

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