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Mandi Xu

Special Counsel

Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Commerce

  • Aged Care
  • Education
  • Government
  • Not-for-Profit
  • Insurance
  • Private Clients
  • Workplace Relations
  • Anti-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
  • Discrimination and Human Rights
  • Employment Advice
  • Employment Disputes
  • Industrial Relations
  • Workplace Agreements

Mandi is a Special Counsel in Russell Kennedy’s Workplace Relations, Employment and Safety team based in Sydney. She has extensive experience advising multinational and Australian businesses and public sector employers on contentious and non-contentious matters covering all areas of employment law and workplace relations.

Mandi helps employers with managing and incentivising employees and executives, moving their workforce into and out of Australia, navigating people issues in mergers and acquisitions, and handling complex workplace issues and disputes.


  • Developed and prepared suite of employment-related documentation for multi-national and Australian companies (including employment contracts for employees and senior executives, company policies and procedures, contractor/consultancy agreements, restraint of trade agreements, and volunteer arrangements)
  • Conducted reviews of global employee handbooks, policies and procedures for a number of multi-national companies to ensure compliance with Australian laws
  • Advised a number of clients in the banking, finance and insurance sector regarding compliance with modern awards and enterprise agreements, and navigating reforms to annualised salary arrangements which came into effect in 2020
  • Advised a leading international network of higher education and post-secondary institutions on transferring a large number of employees to a shared services entity, including preparation of a suite of employment-related documentation
  • Assisted a multinational manufacturer of consumer communication products with the design and implementation of new cash-based and equity-based long term incentive plans for key senior executives located in a number of countries including Australia and those in the Asia Pacific region
  • Advised private, public and listed companies on employment and securities law issues relating to the design, implementation and maintenance of various types of employee incentive plans (e.g. shares, options, performance rights, share appreciation rights, loan funded-shares and converting shares plans) and preparation of plan documentation
  • Advised a client in the building sector in relation to a complex workplace investigation into complaints of bullying and harassment
  • Acted for a telecommunications sector client to conduct mass redundancies, and successfully resisted unfair dismissal and general protections claims brought by some of the affected employees
  • Defence counsel for professional services firm in relation to a high-profile sex discrimination claim before the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Federal Court of Australia
  • Acted for a pro bono client in the aged care and disability sectors to successfully resist a claim by a former volunteer alleging underpayment of employment-related entitlements
  • Acted as defence counsel for clients in employment-related disputes (including unfair dismissal, general protections, bullying, discrimination and underpayment claims as well as independent contractor / employee disputes) in State and Federal courts and tribunals including the Fair Work Commission, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of New South Wales, the New South Wales Court of Appeal, the Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales Court, the New South Wales Court Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and the New South Wales Court District Court


  • Former member, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (February 2011 - June 2019)