Meet our team of professionals

Meet John Farren, Principal and Alison McRae, Senior Consultant

john Farren, Principal

Before establishing Farren Workplace Consulting in 2008, John Farren gained extensive experience working as both a Principal Employee Relations Advisor and senior commercial lawyer. 

As a Principal Employee Relations Advisor, John provided professional, authoritative and timely strategic advice to senior and executive management on issues including:

  • enterprise bargaining;
  • diminished performance;
  • discipline (including dismissal);
  • discrimination and harassment;
  • rehabilitation practices;
  • employment law;
  • employee relations; and
  • HR policies, certified agreements and awards.

John has 20 years’ experience in undertaking complex workplace investigations relating to misconduct, corrupt conduct, bullying and workplace harassment, serious disciplinary matters (including code of conduct breaches), grievances, discrimination and worker's compensation issues.

He has investigated misconduct allegations as diverse as assault, attempted fraud, possession of an illegal drug in the workplace, sexual harassment, accessing pornographic and other offensive material via the internet and e-mail, verbal abuse and job application fraud. 

John is also an experienced mediator and conciliator of workplace disputes and grievances. He has provided workplace training to hundreds of employees on issues such as workplace ethics, including code of conduct compliance, performance and discipline management and conflict resolution.

From 2004 to 2007 John sat as a part-time member of the Queensland Public Service Appeals Tribunal, as a delegate of the Public Service Commissioner.

From 2012 to 2017, John sat on the National Board of Management of the Salvation Army's Employment Plus as an independent member, and in 2017 John was appointed to the Board of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service as a Specialist Director. 


  • Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Graduate Diploma Professional Legal Education and Training, University of Queensland
  • Juris Doctor, University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Commerce (IR and HRM), Griffith University


Alison McRae, senior consultant

Prior to joining Farren Workplace Consulting, Alison worked in the education sector for nearly 15 years. Beginning in the Tasmanian Department of Education’s investigations unit, Alison investigated and provided reports regarding complaints and grievances from employees, parents, students and community members. Alison also managed complaints from the Anti-Discrimination Commission and the Ombudsman regarding the Department. The investigations Alison conducted covered a broad range of matters, including:

  • employee misconduct;
  • bullying;
  • child protection matters;
  • workplace health and safety; and
  • discrimination.

Alison also has extensive experience in policy and compliance, both in the government and independent education sectors. Alison provided high level advice in the areas of codes of conduct, complaints and dispute resolution, bullying, performance management, complaints management, privacy, workplace health and safety, workers compensation and risk management.

Whilst working at Independent Schools Queensland, Alison worked with school staff to implement recent mandatory reporting changes for teachers regarding child sexual abuse, including a developing a new accredited policy framework, conducting training around the state and developing an online learning module for 200 schools.  Alison conducted many policy reviews for schools and developed a policy implementation framework to advise and assist schools on the proper and defensible implementation of policies at the local level. Alison also managed parental complaints received by Independent Schools Queensland regarding member schools.

In addition, Alison assisted new and currently accredited independent schools with the accreditation and cyclical review processes with the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board, developing professional learning in this area, reviewing the Accreditation Handbook, and providing advice and support directly to schools.

Alison has represented all Australian independent schools at the national project management level, undertaking advocacy work on a range of topics, from privacy, to technology, communication and change management issues.


  • Licenced Private Investigator
  • Certificate III Investigative Services
  • Prince 2 Practitioner Certificate in Project Management
  • Prince 2 Foundation Certificate in Project Management
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Acc, Fin & BusMan) , University of Tasmania 


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