Emma Purdue

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Image > Team Member > Emma Purdue

With over 15 years' experience, Emma's practice covers all aspects of workplace relations and employment law, with a particular focus on discrimination, human rights, disputes, litigation, investigations and training.


Emma's legal career has seen her working on a range of significant matters, from the High Court of Australia to a remote Indigenous community in the Northern Territory. Emma's aim is always to provide advice and support in a manner that is practical and sensitive to the unique needs of her clients. Emma has deep experience working across both the private and public sectors, including governments, educational institutions, and health providers.

Emma has deep expertise in areas including:

  • all aspects of the employment relationship, from contracts of employment to restructures and terminations
  • managing complex litigation and disputes across a variety of Australian jurisdictions
  • discrimination and human rights
  • the protection of confidential information and post-employment restraints
  • workplace training, including training for senior leaders and boards
  • conducting and advising on workplace investigations, including child safety investigations.

Further to her undergraduate qualifications, Emma holds a Masters of Human Rights Law (2017) and is ranked among The Best Lawyers in Australia for Labour & Employment Law (since 2023). Emma has also undertaken further studies and training, including understanding trauma and interviewing children, and is an Accredited Mental Health First Aider.

Career highlights

Emma's career highlights include:

  • instructing in the landmark Barclay case before the High Court of Australia regarding the protection of union representatives under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
  • advising the Parliament of Victoria on matters relating to Respect@Work and member accountability
  • defending a major Australian university before the Federal Court of Australia in complex allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination
  • acting for a federal government agency to refute historical allegations of racial discrimination
  • acting for schools and training institutions to defend allegations of disability discrimination against students
  • drafting a handbook on discrimination law for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
  • acting pro bono for a remote Indigenous community in a discrimination claim against the Northern Territory government.