Anthony Drake

LLB, Partner

Anthony is a partner in our national Dispute Resolution team.  He has specialised in employment law for 20 years and is acknowledged for his work in this field by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022.  Anthony deals with all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment issues including advisory work, dismissals, discrimination, and employment implications for commercial transactions, redundancy, restraint of trade, confidential information, and industrial disputes. 
Anthony has managed many complex cases and has significant experience with mediations and alternative dispute resolution as well as judicial settlement conferences.  As a founding member of the New Zealand Serious Fraud Office he has expert skills in major investigations and inquiries.  He has acted for a wide range of major domestic corporates, New Zealand Government and various local government agencies, and state-owned enterprises, as well as acting for individual and private clients. 
As a previous member of the St John’s (Anglican Church) Board of Oversight, Anthony has considerable experience in dealing with three Tikanga: Maori, Pacifica and Pakeha, and has a valuable awareness of the complexities of multicultural environments.  Anthony also happens to be a descendant of the infamous privateer Sir Francis Drake and the son of a Polish war refugee to New Zealand.
Anthony is a regular presenter and commentator on employment law topics and has considerable experience in writing legal opinions, research papers and summarising of facts.  He is also an author of Butterworth’s Forms and Precedents employment law section.

  The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms
"Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes (Oscar Wilde).  I like to take a common sense approach to workplace disputes and issues and seek ways to resolve conflicts to avoid litigation, if feasible.  I strive to get the best results possible for clients. "

Recent Projects

  • Representing employees in defending their rights under the Employment Relations Act 2000.

  • The following work was undertaken whilst at Wynn Williams and a previous firm:

  • Acting for a major local authority in relation to the investigation and prosecution of a number of employees regarding corruption and bribery.

  • Acting for a number of clients in relation to theft of confidential information, intellectual property and the interference with computer systems. This includes obtaining search and seizure orders.

  • Acting for private clients in defending claims of breach of restrictive covenants in restraint of trade.

  • Acting for private clients and corporate entities in relation to business transfer provisions in the Employment Relations Act 2000.

  • Providing employment, restructuring and health and safety advice, and representing local authorities for over 15 years.

  • Representing employers in collective bargaining and application of the collective bargaining provisions in the Employment Relations Act 2000.

  • Advising and representing many multi-national companies in relation to ongoing employment issues regarding the interpretation of employment laws and processes, and providing strategic advice on commercial aspects of their businesses.

Recent Articles


Employer get ready

2022 will see a number of legislative changes in employment law take effect. As an employer, you need to be ready and have clearly communicated what these changes mean for your employees …

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Agreements are made to be kept; employee restraint of trade held to be enforceable

The Employment Relations Authority recently enforced restraint of trade clauses in a political journalist’s employment agreement when she resigned - Tova O’Brien v Discovery NZ Limited (2022). In deciding whether to enforce the restraints, the Authority considered whether they were reasonable and questioned the scope of the terms.

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The intricacies of the COVID-19 Vaccination Order

New Zealand enjoyed almost a year of freedom after the March 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, before the emergence of the Delta variant and widespread community transmission which has resulted in some new and significant issues for New Zealand employers and employees to deal with, including broad mandatory vaccination requirements.

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Employment Authority rules on “no jab, no job”

The Employment Relations Authority has released its first substantive determination dealing with an employer’s right to dismiss an employee who refuses to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In the case of GF v New Zealand Customs Service, the Authority found that Customs was justified in dismissing GF, a border protection officer working at a maritime port facility, who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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COVID-19 wage subsidies and obligations

Applications for round two of the Government Wage Subsidy opened on 3 September 2021. The criteria for application and obligations around use are explained in this article. Also we explain the importance of sanctity of contract if you’re contemplating wage or salary reductions at this time.

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Can employers require employees to get the jab?

There can be no doubt that all employers have a duty to provide conditions of employment that allow people to be, and stay, healthy. However, there is no cut and dried demarcation when it comes to the question of whether an employer can make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for its employees.

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What does equal pay mean for workers and employers?

How does our society value specific types of work?  There is no single answer to that question, but with threats of strike action on the horizon issues such as pay equity are at the forefront of industrial action for a number of sectors of the workforce.  

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Holidays Act update

Government has announced that it has accepted all the Holidays Act Taskforce’s recommendations and expects to introduce legislation in 2022.  It is universally accepted that most employers have experienced some difficulty in calculating accrual and payment of employee holiday entitlements.  In recent years, many employers have been required to recalculate employee holiday entitlements and there have been significant pay-outs to correct errors. 

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Employment Law Calendar 2021 and 2022

A new subsidy has been released following the rise in Alert Levels on 28 February 2021. This subsidy is designed to help employers and self-employed people continue to pay workers and protect jobs for affected businesses.

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Hot off the Press: Uber Drivers are Workers

On 19 February 2021 the UK Supreme Court handed down its decision in the high profile Uber driver case. In Aslam and others v Uber BV and others Uber drivers were regarded by the company as self-employed but are in fact workers.

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Full Court to consider implications of the Covid-19 Wage Subsidy

A full court of the Employment Court is to consider the Employment Relations Authority’s ruling on whether an employer can reduce an employee’s salary without consent after accepting the Covid-19 Wage Subsidy.

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Novel Coronavirus – an increasing concern for the workplace

We all expect employers to act in good faith and follow good human resources practices to avoid workplace issues or problems. But sometimes when issues such as a potential outbreak of a deadly virus occurs, what can employers do to protect their workers?

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The gig economy – a changing workforce

The internet is increasingly playing an important role in all aspects of our lives, including the important role of finding work. Likewise, the way we manage our work with the use of online platforms has dramatically grown in the last decade.

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Unpaid internships: exploitation or opportunity?

A key purpose of an internship is to gain experience, skills or contacts that may assist a prospective employee to gain employment or work opportunities in the future, but is it exploitation?

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Holiday obligations - Miri Kirihimete, Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays!

Many employers and employees use the festive season to take planned holidays, manage leave balances, and in some cases close the office, factory or shop. Amanda Douglas and Anthony Drake explain some of the employer's obligations.

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Diversity for goodness sake?

Diversity is generally defined as acknowledging, understanding, accepting and valuing the differences among people regarding age, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental disability, race, sexual orientation, and religious or political beliefs. Regardless, discrimination on any of those grounds would be unlawful under the Human Rights Act 1993.

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Workplace bullying - employer fined

Most employers are committed to providing a safe and productive working environment free from all forms of physical, emotional and verbal abuse. However, from time-to-time a case comes before the courts which is noteworthy.

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Employees’ rights under triangular employment relationships expanded

New Zealand’s response to the age of flexibility is a new law that will come into force on 27 June 2020 which will enable employees to raise a personal grievance against any organisation that has the ability to direct or control the employee’s day-to-day work.

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Distinguishing between employees and independent contractors

The application of the Employment Relations Act 2000 and different tax treatment are key reasons it is important to correctly establish whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor. This article looks at how to distinguish between them.

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Social media trolling: an employer’s responsibilities

There is an increasing prevalence of internet trolling where thoughtless, cruel and harmful messages are posted. This creates challenges and responsibilities for employers to keep employees, whose job it is to be online, safe from pernicious trolling and hateful tweets.

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How should you structure your business? Contractors versus employees

Anthony Drake, Partner at Wynn Williams talks to Jake Millar, CEO of Unfiltered about how to structure your business. 

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On, or off the clock?

There is a trend in a number of recent employment cases where the courts have considered the demands of work and the demands of family or personal life. In a recent decision of the Employment Court the full court ruled that an employee’s private time is a valuable commodity and accepted the proposition that where an employer purports to reserve the unilateral ability to require an employee to work past their usual hours it does materially constrain a worker’s ability to plan their life away from work.

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The use of probationary periods

On 6 May 2019 the Government scrapped the use of trial periods for employers with more than 20 employees. However, employers are still entitled to use probationary periods at the beginning of an employment relationship to assess a new employee’s skills or for an employee who is changing jobs with the same employer, but it is important to be aware of the legal obligations they impose.

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The Christmas party - what are the employer's responsibilities?

We have all heard stories where people let their hair down at the Christmas party – and the boozy office bash turns messy. A number of untoward things can take place! We have reached that time of the year when we need to remind ourselves and staff about acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour.

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The risks arising from electronic mail

Electronic mail (email) has become the main mode of communication in the business world. Email has modified the character of corporate and personal communication. It removes the time and place restrictions previously associated with more traditional methods of communication. When engaging in business correspondence through email people perceive it as an informal mode of communication.

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Is it time to review your employment agreements?

We live in an age of constant change where disruption, innovation and evolution are norms. In the business sector, it is good practice for employers to regularly review employment agreements, job descriptions, key-performance-indicators, wages and salaries, and the existence of the job itself.

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New domestic violence law – how will this affect employment relationships?

The Domestic Violence – Victim Protections Bill was passed into law this week and amends the Employment Relations Act 2000, the Holidays Act 2003 and the Human Rights Act 1993. The changes come into effect on 1 April 2019 and enable victims of domestic violence to request a short-term variation to their employment arrangements for the purposes of dealing with the effects of being subject to domestic violence.

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Surrogacy – who gets what?

Should surrogates and parents through surrogacy receive the same legal rights to leave and pay when their child is born? In New Zealand, surrogacy is an altruistic arrangement on the part of the surrogate mother and it’s illegal to pay her more than her reasonable expenses. So who gets entitlements under New Zealand’s statutory Parental Leave legislation?

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The power of 'big data' and privacy reforms

George Orwell wrote literary criticism and one of his best known books is the dystopian novel ‘1984’. The novel was written in 1947 and identified such terms as “Big Brother”, ‘doublethink’ and ‘newspeak’ which have become part of everyday language. Who would have thought 70 years later we would still be grappling with the same fairy-tale relationship between morality and privacy.

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What's going on around your water cooler? Finding love at work

The Me Too movement and the use of its hashtag on social media has changed the way many employers should view the workplace environment. Workplace culture is now under the microscope like never before! One of the biggest dilemmas employers face is often the mismatches of perceptions at work where one person thinks they are flirting, while the other person feels like they are being harassed or objectivised. The situation becomes even more complex with office romances.  

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Is it OK to collect biometric data from workers?

The collection of biometric data includes not only fingerprint, but voiceprint, or the scan of a person’s retina, iris, face or hand, and is becoming increasingly commonplace. It is easy to see how some employers could view the introduction of electronic scanning as helpful to eliminate common forms of timekeeping fraud and to produce a more streamlined operation.

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Can I turn my phone off?

Technology is changing the way we work and think. There is an expectation in the modern connected world that employees will always be available to respond to the employer’s or customer’s demands. A lack of availability or responsiveness is often perceived as detrimental to competitive advantage.

Keep reading...

Speaking Engagements

  • Marsh and the Professional Real Estate Group (April 2020)

  • Commercial Communications Council (April 2020)

  • ICANZ - Managing Employment Issues under COVID-19 (April 2020)

  • Employment Law Masterclass - Panel Session (March 2020)

  • Employment Law Sessions: What's the Latest in Legislation? Protecting your Workplace, and Difficult Discussions (2019)

  • ICANZ Presentation (June 2019 and September 2019)

  • CA ANZ Company Accountants Special Interest Group - Employment Law Update (May 2019)

  • Focus on Management - Working in the Gig Economy (April 2019)

  • Industrial & Employment Relations Summit (March 2019 and March 2018)

  • Commercial Communications Council - Checking In: Managing those Difficult Conversations (February 2019)

  • Employment Law Sessions: What’s Hot in 2018?, Termination, Policies & Compliance (April, August, November 2018)

  • Employment Law Update – The Employment Relations Reset (September 2018)

  • Employment Law & Workplace Relations Masterclass (May 2018)

  • Company Accountants Group – Changes to Employment Laws (May 2018)

  • Focus on Management – Employment Law Update (April 2018)

  • Employment Law Masterclass Auckland (March 2018)

  • Commercial Communications Council – Employment Law in 2018 (March 2018)
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