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John Rooney



P+64 9 977 5070

M+64 21 499 365

John Rooney

John is a partner in the firm's employment law group. He specialises in employment law and health and safety.

John advises many of New Zealand's top companies on employment law issues. He provides pragmatic and incisive advice on a broad range of matters, including disciplinary and personal grievance hearings, collective bargaining, disputes between unions and employers, employment contracts and service agreements, termination packages, workplace–related stress and bullying, restrictive covenants, confidentiality, and superannuation (including KiwiSaver). John also has extensive experience of providing strategic and integrated advice on business reorganisation, mergers and acquisitions, and redundancy programmes.

In conjunction with his employment practice, John has extensive experience in health and safety. He has many years' experience advising clients on options for managing their workplace obligations and for improving their performance in this business critical area. John's experience includes incident response management, defending prosecutions laid by WorkSafe, advising on investigation processes for complex situations, including for alliances with international parties, governance advice, reviews of health and safety systems, and delivering training.

John regularly attends mediations and appears in the Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court and in the District Court as defence counsel on WorkSafe prosecutions.

  • Chambers Asia-Pacific Employment 2022 - Leading Lawyer
  • The International Who's Who Legal Labour, Employment & Benefits 2021 - Global Leader
  • Asia Pacific Legal 500 Employment 2017 - Recommended Lawyer

Examples of Work

  • Fonterra Co–operative Group - personal grievance claims, claims for breach of contract and implied indemnities, and disputes over the interpretation of employment contracts
  • Virgin Australia Airlines - successful defence of a claim for unjustified dismissal on appeal to the Employment Court
  • Spark - successful defence of personal grievances for unjustified dismissal, unjustified disadvantage, and discrimination
  • Westpac - representing Westpac in various claims by both individuals and unions in both the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court
  • Department of Corrections - successfully defending claims for unjustified dismissal
  • Watercare - advising in relation to a high profile explosion in a watermain resulting in a fatality and serious harm to employees and contractors. This involved providing extensive advice and guidance to the company and dealing with the Police and MBIE over a period of two years from the date of the accident through to sentencing
  • Auckland Council - advising extensively on the health and safety obligations of various business units and the leadership team, and the impact of the proposed new law to all areas of the council, reviewing and advising on safety plans
  • Auckland Transport - undertaking an extensive review on its compliance with the Reform Bill and identifying the areas for improvement
  • Fletcher EQR - providing advice and representation into asbestos management issues arising in the Christchurch rebuild
  • Fletcher Building Group - defending prosecutions in relation to serious harm arising from use of machinery, cranes, and hoists

Other Credentials

  • Solicitor, England and Wales
  • Auckland District Law Society Health & Safety Committee - Member
  • New Zealand Institute of Safety Management - Member