Practice area(s): Employment law services
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 is a member of the Maurice Blackburn Board.

Josh has 20 years’ experience as an employment lawyer, advising executive and managerial clients throughout Australia, as well as expatriate executives in Asia and Europe. He is available to consult with interstate and international clients by Skype.

Josh is a skilled and strategic litigator with extensive experience regarding: employment contracts, restraint of trade, adverse action, unlawful discrimination, redundancy, disciplinary investigations, workplace bullying, sexual harassment and industrial disputation. Josh aims to resolve cases prior to litigation, and has negotiated numerous substantial out-of-court settlements. In all cases, he is vigilant about the protection of his client’s reputation.

Josh is recognised as the top ranking employment lawyer for employees in Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession (link to guide) 2013, 2014 and 2015. His legal achievements are significant:

  • Represented the incoming CEO of a listed property company in negotiating the terms of her employment contract;
  • Represented the Chief of Staff to a Victorian Government Minister who made a workplace bullying complaint which was investigated and upheld;
  • Obtained a seven figure settlement for an unpaid bonus for a senior executive without needing to initiate court proceedings;
  • Represented Essendon Football Club in its recent legal challenge to ASADA's investigations (2013-2014);
  • Obtained a seven-figure settlement for a senior, long serving employee, after first taking urgent court action to prevent his employment being unlawfully terminated';
  • Guided numerous senior employees through complex and difficult disciplinary processes;
  • Acted for the Fair Work Ombudsman in its prosecution of an employer who failed to offer a suitable position to an employee returning to work from maternity leave;
  • Obtained an urgent court order to prevent the termination of a senior religious figure;
  • Successfully represented one of Victoria's highest ranking police officers in a defamation suit;
  • Confidentially resolved the cases of two female air traffic controllers in Federal Court proceedings who alleged prolonged sex discrimination and severe workplace bullying at Airservices Australia; and
  • Represented the family of Larry Knight in the long-running investigation and coronial inquest into the Beaconsfield mine collapse (2008-2009).

Josh sits on a number of boards and advocacy groups, and is a highly-regarded and widely published legal commentator. He has contributed extensively to academic and industry journals, and his opinion pieces on employment issues have been published in the mainstream media both nationally and internationally, including the Australian Financial ReviewThe Sydney Morning HeraldThe AgeThe Guardian, and The Drum. His interest in disciplinary processes is informed by his role as Deputy Chair of a disciplinary tribunal in the horse racing industry. Josh has long been a forceful and effective 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.

Memberships & accreditations

  • Law Institute of Victoria Member
  • Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law Advisory Board Member (University of Melbourne) 2004 - ongoing
  • Workplace Relations Section Executive Committee Member 2007-14
  • Maurice Blackburn Director 2004-14
  • Australian Journal of Labour Law Editorial Committee Member 2012-14
  • Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board Deputy Chair 2013-14
  • Tzedek President 2012-14
  • Per Capita Director 2008-2014
  • State Trustees Director 2010-2012


  • Doyle's Guide Preeminent Employment Lawyer 2015
  • Doyle's Guide Market Leader Employment Lawyer 2014
  • Certificate of Service for Outstanding Contribution to the legal profession and Law Institute of Victoria 2014
  • Doyle's Guide Pre-eminent Employment Lawyer 2013