Practice Group Leader
Geoff Borenstein is the Leader of the Victorian Industrial and Employment Law Department.
Geoff has been practising for over 20 years and is widely regarded as one of Victoria’s best Union lawyers.
Geoff has had the advantage of having worked at a Labour Law firm and then working from inside a Union at the ETU for the past 15 years. Having seen both sides of the equation Geoff has some great ideas on how we can better service our Union clients and their members.
Geoff has proven himself to be a strategic legal thinker and outcome oriented. Examples of this include the following:
Most recently, Geoff provided strategic legal advice throughout the CUB dispute, including in the tense and technical settlement of the bitter dispute, where time was of the essence and there was no room for error. The CUB dispute was a great success, with the settlement enshrining that all of the sacked employees got their jobs back on the same terms and conditions and enhanced job security.
During the controversial Desalination Project, Thiess-Degremont threatened to sack the hundreds of electricians on the Project. Geoff orchestrated the legal actions which achieved an injunction from Justice Tracey halting the terminations. In the few days available, Geoff was able to present evidence to the Court from the many workers and families that had committed to the Desal project and would suffer significant loss if the sackings had proceeded. By reason of the legal action and injunction, the Union was able to save the jobs of all of the many hundreds of workers, as well as having preferred contractors employ them, without the need for any industrial action being taken and therefore avoiding the threat to the Union of being sued for penalties and damages.
When the Grocon dispute occurred, the ETU was also without representation on the relevant site. By reason of a clause drafted by Geoff in the relevant EBA, the ETU was able to take legal proceedings to get an order that a shop steward of its choice be engaged on the Grocon site. That person was the first shop steward to get on the Grocon site. Again, through the use of strategic legal planning and actions, the Union was able to get appropriate and experienced representation on one of the most fiercely anti-union sites, without the need for any industrial action being taken and therefore avoiding the threat to the Union of being sued for penalties and damages.
With Geoff, you will get someone who has not been stuck in an office tower. He has been in battles alongside officials and members from many Unions in the courts and commission. He has been out in the field with officials and members. He has seen the workplaces where members work. He has been involved in the negotiation of their industrial agreements. He has met and dealt with all types of bosses. He knows what Unions and the members face because he has been involved in and witnessed it firsthand.
As a result of these types of experiences during his 20 years of legal practice, Geoff will be able to provide hands on and strategic legal advice that Union’s and its members deserve and expect.
- General Protections
- Contract of employment matters
- Wrongful dismissal
- Underpayment of employees
- Laws in respect to industrial action
- Industrial Disputes
- Governance Laws
- Registered Organisations
- Union rules
Professional Qualifications and Admissions
- 1998 Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Commerce
- 2017 Slater and Gordon, Melbourne Practice Group Leader of Industrial and Employment Department
- 2002 CEPU, Principal Lawyer
Memberships and Associations
- Law Institute of Victoria
- Australian Lawyers Alliance