Michael Cochrane Principal Solicitor

Michael is a principal solicitor in our Workplace Relations & Safety team. He practices all aspects of workplace relations law with a particular focus in the areas of employee relations, corporate employment issues, dispute resolution and M&A/transactional employment matters.

Michael’s expertise is enhanced by his strong corporate background, which enables him to provide sound and practical legal solutions to complex employment law issues with commercially focused outcomes.

Michael has an excellent strategic mindset when managing cases. Great focus on the longer game and sticking to the case narrative. Within that is excellent judgement on the tactical components of running cases.

– Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2021

Michael has experience acting for employers from SMEs through to global corporations in a diverse range of industry sectors including IT services, consulting/recruitment, professional services, insurance and financial services, transport and logistics, retail and supply, building and construction, resources, manufacturing and education.

Michael regularly appears at the Fair Work Commission, in State and Federal courts, VCAT and in other jurisdictions. He is a member of the Industrial Relations Society of Victoria, and often publishes articles and delivers interactive seminars/ webinars on interesting workplace issues.


Michael is a recommended lawyer in Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2020 & 2021).

Legal 500 Asia Pacific - Michael Cochrane - Labour & Employment 2021

Latest News & Insights

Making reasonable Jobkeeper directions – employer lessons from TWU v Prosegur

Posted By and on 16/07/20 at 2:18 PM

The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission upheld an appeal by the Transport Workers’ Union on Monday quashing an earlier decision of the Fair Work Commission that the employer Prosegur Australia Pty Limited’s Jobkeeper directions were reasonable. This decision provides the first Full Bench authority on the reasonableness test required by s. 789GK of … Read more

When a casual is still not a casual

Posted By on 21/05/20 at 2:06 PM

Perhaps unsurprisingly to some, yesterday’s Full Federal Court decision of WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 (Rossato) has delivered the same outcome as the landmark decision of WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene [2018] FCAFC 131 (Skene). See here to read our previous Skene update. Rather than appealing the Full Court’s decision in Skene … Read more


Posted By and on 16/04/20 at 3:37 PM

Last week Parliament passed the Jobkeeper legislation to give effect to the Federal Government’s new Jobkeeper payment scheme to deliver the flat rate wage subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee to qualifying employers, in addition to making a number of temporary changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) to address the … Read more

Stress leave – minimising adverse action risk

Posted By on 10/02/20 at 8:01 AM

This is the third post in a series on adverse action claims, based on a presentation and paper delivered by Michael Cochrane (Special Counsel) on the Television Education Network (TEN) on 13 November 2019.  In our previous post, we discussed why and how employees use adverse action provisions during a legitimate performance management process.  In this … Read more

Workplace Relations Q2 update: wage theft, non-standard work, travel time, labour hire and a Merry Christmas!

IN THIS UPDATE:  with Woolworths in the spotlight the era of ‘wage theft’ continues, we have the latest non-standard work (labour hire and gig work) developments, we had an important industrial ruling on travel time, there is a labour hire licensing update for Victoria, news on the varied Modern Awards and some new FWC forms … Read more