Practice area(s): Employment law
Location(s): Melbourne
Qualification(s): BA, LLB (Hons)

Josh Bornstein is a Principal at Maurice Blackburn, based in Melbourne. He is the head of the firm’s national employment law department and a member of the Maurice Blackburn Board. He has 18 years’ experience as an employment lawyer, advising employees throughout Australia and expatriate executives in Asia and Europe. Josh’s legal skills include litigation, strategy, and providing robust legal advice regarding employment contracts, restraint of trade, adverse action, unlawful discrimination, redundancy, workplace bullying, disciplinary investigations, sexual harassment and industrial disputation. Where possible, he seeks to favourably resolve cases prior to litigation. He has negotiated numerous substantial out of court settlements, and ensures the privacy of his clients and their reputation is paramount.

“I decided when I was five years old that I wanted to be a lawyer. Employment law was the perfect way for me to be able to argue for the underdog. The most rewarding thing about my job is helping people from all walks of life; from executives, sporting, media, legal and medical professionals through to wharfies and production employees.”

Josh has been a passionate advocate for the introduction of federal legislation explicitly addressing workplace bullying and he welcomed the enactment of a national anti-bullying law which came into force in January 2014.

“Workplace bullying has a toxic effect on employees' careers and their health, and I've witnessed that first hand.”

Josh was recognised as the top ranking employment lawyer in Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession 2013. His significant achievements are many and varied. They include:

  • representing the incoming CEO of a listed property company in negotiating the terms of her employment contract
  • obtaining a seven figure settlement for an unpaid bonus for a senior executive without having to initiate court proceedings
  • acting for the Fair Work Ombudsman in its prosecution of an employer who failed to offer a suitable position for an employee who was returning to work from maternity leave
  • obtaining a seven-figure settlement for a senior, long serving employee, after urgent court action was taken to prevent his employment being unlawfully terminated
  • guiding senior employees through complex and difficult disciplinary processes
  • obtaining an urgent court order to prevent the termination of a senior religious figure
  • successfully representing one of Victoria's highest ranking police officers in a defamation suit
  • confidentially resolving the cases of two women air traffic controllers in Federal Court proceedings who alleged prolonged sex discrimination and severe workplace bullying at Airservices Australia, and
  • representing the family of Larry Knight in the investigation and coronial inquest into the Beaconsfield mine collapse between 2006-2009.

Josh is not only passionate about his job, he also believes it’s important to give back to the community. He sits on a number of boards and advocacy groups that range from thought leadership and law reform. His interest in disciplinary processes is informed by his role as Deputy Chair of a disciplinary tribunal in the horse racing industry. He also contributes to law journals and has had numerous opinion pieces on employment issues published in mainstream media including the Australian Financial Review, The Age, The Guardian, and The Drum.

Memberships & accreditations

  • Workplace Relations Section Executive Committee Member
  • Maurice Blackburn Director
  • Australian Journal of Labour Law Editorial Committee Member
  • Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board Deputy Chair
  • Tzedek Chairman
  • Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law Advisory Board Member (University of Melbourne)
  • Law Institute of Victoria Member
  • Per Capita Director 2008-2014
  • State Trustees Director 2010-2012


  • Doyles Guide Pre-eminent Employment Lawyer 2013
  • Law Institute of Victoria Certificate of Service Award 2014