Megan Richards

Partner - Employment and Public Law

Megan leads both the public law team and the Wellington employment team and acts for both public and private sector clients. She has practiced law for over 20 years in top tier firms in New Zealand, Australia and London, and sits on the partnership’s board.

Her practice traverses strategic, litigious and time-critical day-to-day advice on all aspects of public law and employment related law. Megan regularly acts for numerous government departments and crown entities (including central government education agencies).

Bringing significant experience to all employment related matters, Megan regularly advises on drafting employment agreements and HR policies, managing poor performance, restructuring and redundancy, disciplinary investigations and dismissals, leave entitlements, minimum standards compliance, secondments, fixed term employment, KiwiSaver, collective bargaining, independent contractor arrangements, establishing business in NZ and recruiting staff, and restraints of trade and other post termination obligations.

As a recognised expert in employment law, Megan is on the Editorial Boards of employment publications and is also the co-author of the Laws of New Zealand Employment chapter.

Megan is also a public law expert and advises on exercise of statutory powers, legislative drafting, discrimination and judicial review proceedings, risk management and legal compliance and governance. As a recognised expert in public law, Megan was appointed to the Legislation Advisory Committee in 2011 and then became an external member of the new Legislation Design and Advisory Committee until November 2018 (both appointments by the Attorney General).

Megan’s leading expertise across employment and public law is consistently noted in independent national and international peer guides, including Chambers Global and Chambers Asia Pacific.

She also has specialist expertise in PPPs having acted for the Ministry of Defence (UK) on their defence procurement and Railtrack plc on the privatisation of the UK railway.

Professional background

Recent work

Judicial review claim

Acted for FairWay Resolution Ltd in defending a judicial review claim challenging a decision by a FairWay reviewer regarding their independent review of an ACC decision.

Employment advice in the healthcare sector

Acted for Healthcare of New Zealand Holdings Limited in the pay equity/equal pay litigation brought by mental health and addiction treatment support workers against a number of employers in this sector.

Industrial dispute strike action

Advised Z Energy on options available in terms of strike action contingency planning during the industrial dispute between the Port of Lyttelton and unions/union member employees.

Ongoing employment advice

Providing Zespri a range of employment advice, both contentious and non contentious.

Health and Safety Advice

Advising public and private sector employers on all health and safety matters including compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and practical steps to take.

Pike River Coal Limited (in receivership)

Advising on employment and health and safety issues arising from the mine explosion in November 2010 and advising other organisations on health and safety matters including WorkSafe NZ investigations and drafting and implementing drug and alcohol policies.

Admitted

  • 1991, New Zealand

Qualifications

  • LLB, Victoria University of Wellington

Affiliations

  • Editorial Board Member Lexis Nexis' Employment Law Bulletin
  • Editorial Board Member Lexis Nexis' Employment Headnotes of New Zealand
  • Specialist Editor Lexis Nexis Employment Precedents
  • Honorary Solicitor NZ Riding for Disabled Assn Inc
  • Member Wellington Club

Specialisations

  • Employment Law
  • Public Law
  • Health and Safety
  • Immigration
  • Government

Awards

  • Recognised by Best Lawyers for Labour and Employment Law
  • Ranked as a leading Employment & Public Law lawyer, Chambers Asia Pacific
  • Ranked as a leading Labour and Employment lawyer, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific
  • Recognised by the Doyles Guide as a Leading Employment Lawyer