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Luke Gattuso

principal lawyer, employment, safety and migration

meet Luke

about Luke

melbourne office +61 3 9208 9820
legal secretary: kerstan welshman +61 3 9794 2625

about Luke

Luke understands the complex dynamics that make up the employer–employee relationship, the human component that makes this area of law so unique.

For more than 15 years he has been resolving issues that have an impact on a company’s culture and profitability, and that are often highly emotional for the people involved. Luke’s clients vary from large corporate ASX listed companies and multinationals through to smaller local businesses and executives.

Clients praise Luke for his down to earth approach and practical insight. Advising on employment issues and disputes at the executive level is a true passion for Luke, where he can convert a complex situation into clear, commercial recommendations. The opportunity to improve a client’s business and contribute to their future success drives Luke to achieve great outcomes.

“There are many factors involved in employment matters – commercial drivers, reputation, personalities, and of course the particular factual circumstances. They all need to be considered when weighing up risk and finding the best solution.”

Luke heads up the Employment, Safety and Migration practice, and takes pride in ensuring a commercial mindset and outstanding service across the entire team.

Areas of Expertise

  • Best practice agreements (employment and consultancy)
  • Disputes in courts and tribunals
  • Employment compliance
  • Executive employment issues, including restraints and termination benefits laws
  • Industrial relations
  • Managing performance, misconduct, and fitness for work
  • Restructuring
  • Tailored training programs
  • Workplace investigations



listed lawyer, labour and employment law, best lawyers in australia, 2021 edition

recent experience

  • investigation by fair work ombudsman

    A group of companies became the subject of investigations by the Fair Work Ombudsman in relation to various employment issues, including potential underpayment of wages.

    Luke’s knowledge across the compliance landscape meant he was able to quickly identify areas of risk for our client, advise on potential liabilities, and provide strategic advice and assistance in dealing with the regulator on behalf of the client.

    He also assisted the client with proactive measures to implement a new suite of employment documentation for staff, and guidelines for internal use, to ensure the issues were rectified and to mitigate risks going forward.

    Luke’s work on the matter meant the client avoided prosecution, penalties and reputational damage, paramount for the ongoing viability of their business.

  • allegations of bullying and workers' compensation claim

    A client was faced with a number of issues when one of its employees made allegations of bullying in the Fair Work Commission against senior management after the commencement of a performance management process. The employee also made a workers’ compensation claim, alleging the employer had caused harm to his mental health.

    Following a conference at the Fair Work Commission, Luke and his team were able to have the stop-bullying application discontinued with no orders made and no consideration passing to the employee. The team also assisted behind the scenes in having the worker’s compensation claim rejected.

    Luke’s practical insights also led the way in how to manage the employee’s extended absence and related fitness for work issues, and in resolving the performance issues in a way that navigated the risks of ‘adverse action’ and other claims, and that caused minimal disruption to the business.

  • difficult exit for senior executive results in great outcome

    Luke successfully assisted a senior executive with a difficult exit from a company in which they held equity. The separation was complicated for various reasons, including because the employer was acting unreasonably towards our client.

    Luke recommended and successfully carried out a strategy to resolve the issues, extricating the executive from the situation, obtaining compensation, and avoiding what would otherwise have resulted in protracted litigation and had the potential to cause significant harm to their reputation.

    When negotiations stalled, Luke was able to apply unexpected levers to negotiate a great outcome. As well as getting on the ‘front foot’ in relation to potential claims against the company, Luke also advised on and was able to resist threats by the company to attempt to enforce unreasonable post-employment restraints against our client.