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 Australian and Melbourne employment lawyer for employees in Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. His legal achievements are significant:

  • Represented the Victorian Government Ombudsman in a workplace investigation in 2015
  • 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 whose workplace bullying complaint was investigated and upheld
  • Obtained a seven-figure settlement for an unpaid bonus for a senior executive
  • Obtained court orders preventing a hospital terminating the employment of a Nursing Unit Manager in 2015
  • Represented Essendon Football Club in ASADA's investigations during 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'
  • 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 urgent court orders to prevent the termination of a senior religious figure
  • Confidentially resolved the cases of two female air traffic controllers in Federal Court proceedings who alleged prolonged sex discrimination and severe workplace bullying, 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 reforms to employment laws that will assist employees deal with the challenge of modern workplaces including in the areas of workplace bullying, workplace investigations and superannuation.

Josh is also leading a legal team representing employees with intellectual disabilities who work in Australian Disability Enterprises and who have suffered unlawful discrimination because the wages tool used to determine their wages contravenes the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. In December 2015, an in principle agreement to settle the class action was reached by Maurice Blackburn and the Federal Government.

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 - ongoing
  • Australian Journal of Labour Law Editorial Committee Member 2012 - ongoing
  • Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board Deputy Chair 2013 - ongoing
  • Australia Institute Director 2016 - ongoing
  • Centre for Future Work Advisory Committee 2016 - ongoing
  • Centre for Enployment and Labour Relations Law Advisory Board 2016 - ongoing
  • Tzedek President 2012-14
  • Per Capita Director 2008-2014
  • State Trustees Director 2010-2012

Awards