EMPLOYMENT

As one of the regions leading employment teams, listed in the Legal 500 and led by Partner Maeve Vickery, we help employers plan what is right for them and their business covering all aspects of the employment relationship from contracts of employment to disciplinary processes and dismissal, as well as business restructures, redundancy processes and changes of business ownership.

Managing people can be challenging, time consuming and demanding. Getting it wrong can be expensive and have a negative impact on the business. We can help you plan a strategy and navigate a path through difficult matters such as long term sickness absence, problems within teams, bullying, and harassment, unfair dismissal, discrimination and disciplinary issues and Employment Tribunal claims, as well as advice on changes to your business, by way of redundancies, restructures and business sales and purchases.?

With the additional challenges of dealing with CV19 in the workplace we can provide you with help developing the strategy that suits your business needs.

We provide a range of services, including HR support in developing and implementing processes and qualified workplace and employment and workplace mediation.

Whether you need help with something now, or in planning for the future, we can help you reach your preferred outcome.

What we do:

Business Sales and Purchases 

  • Absence from work
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Business reorganisation
  • Business Sales and Purchases
  • Changes to terms and conditions
  • Collective Consultation
  • Conflict in the workplace
  • Contracts of Employment
  • Disciplinary and grievance processes
  • Discrimination
  • Employee and workplace mediation
  • Employment Policies and Procedures
  • Employment Tribunal Claims
  • Exit Packages and Settlement Agreements
  • Handling Sickness Absence
  • Performance Management
  • Redundancy
  • Staff Manual/Employee Handbook
  • TUPE – transfer of ownership of the business
  • Whistleblowing allegations

We understand that the current situation has brought a lot of stress and uncertainty to businesses, their owners and managers. We are up to date with the latest developments and can help with questions regarding furloughed employees, potential redundancies, the Job Support Scheme, health and safety in the workplace, working from home, returning to the office and any other queries you may have.

Absence from work

Is there an issue with an employee’s absence from work and poor attendance whether due to ill health, personal circumstances or otherwise? Whether intermittent short term absences or longer term ill health absence we can help get the management of these situations right and avoid potential pitfalls like hidden discrimination issues.

Bullying and harassment

Relationships in the workplace between staff as well as staff and management can break down and allegations of bullying and harassment can arise. Employees may say the way they are being managed amounts to bullying. Staff and managers with an upfront style may be seen as bullying and aggressive. We can help advice on the best ways of tackling and resolving these difficult issues in the workplace and avoiding claims for discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Business reorganisation

Are you thinking of making changes to your business? Whenever there are changes to organisational structure, staffing changes or changes to work roles and responsibilities, these may give rise to a number of different legal scenarios including potential redundancy situations and obligations flowing from changes to terms and conditions of employment, including a requirement to consult with your staff individually or collectively. Whatever the situation, we have huge amount of experience in helping organisations of all sizes plan changes to make sure employers are aware of the legal requirements, avoid problems and to make the process as smooth as possible.

Business Sales and Purchases

We have experts ready to assist in all areas of a business sale or purchase including commercial and property aspects. Our specialist employment team can advise and support you on a variety of issues including TUPE Regulations, individual and collective consultation requirements, re-organisations and restructuring, changes to employment terms and redundancy processes.

Changes to terms and conditions

Want to make changes? We can help make sure to approach this the right way, avoiding potential claims for failure to consult, which can arise in situations like this as well as potential claims for constructive dismissal.

Collective Consultation

We have extensive experience of advising on situations where there is a legal obligation to collectively consult with staff representatives. This can arise where there is a business reorganisation giving rise to a redundancy situation, in TUPE scenarios where some or all of the business is being transferred to a new employer and where there are changes to terms and conditions. If this obligation is overlooked it can be expensive with awards of up to 90 days pay per employee

Conflict in the workplace

Problems can arise between staff and between staff and management. We have qualified experts trained in employment and workplace mediation who can help deal with these difficult issues.

Contracts of Employment

Are your contracts of employment and polices up to date? Are you confident that they are doing enough to protect your business against risk? If not we can help. We will ensure contracts minimise risk to your business, including protection from competition and poaching, as well as protecting your confidential information and intellectual property. We will provide you with template contracts which you can adapt to your needs or we can provide full individually tailored contracts - whatever suits you best.

Disciplinary and Grievance processes

We understand that sometimes things go wrong with employment relationships and that you need to deal quickly and fairly with any issues that arise. Our employment team can advise you on the correct procedures in order to minimise the risk of a claim in the Employment Tribunal being brought against you.

Discrimination

This area is not straightforward with concepts such as indirect discrimination and discrimination by association and perception as well as harassment and victimisation. Dealing with these issues in the workplace can be challenging and time consuming. We help your business minimise the risk of these issues arising and with managing them if they do arise. We also help minimise the risk of being faced with a discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal and help you defend any claim that does arise with as little disruption to your business as possible.

Dismissal Processes

Dismissals can arise in a variety of situations – following disciplinary proceedings, ill health, performance/capability. We can advise if you are considering dismissing an employee or group of employees we can advise you as to how best to approach this and avoid being faced with a Tribunal claim. We also draft settlement agreements and advise you how to handle the situation to provide you with the best possible outcome and if things have already gone wrong, we can help sort them out.

Employee and workplace mediation

We recognise that emotions run high in a variety of situations in the workplace - difficulties between managers and staff, bullying and discrimination allegations, problems within teams. In these situations Mediation can be extremely helpful in achieving a successful outcome that may not have been achievable through formal processes. Partner Maeve Vickery is qualified as an accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator and Workplace and Employment Mediator and can help you achieve a resolution to these difficult issues.

Employment Policies and Procedures

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Employment Tribunal Claims

We have extensive experience in dealing with all types of claim. We know that they can be time consuming and put a lot of pressure on a business and we can help. We will quickly ascertain what your objectives are and seek to achieve them in the most cost-effective manner.

Exit Packages and Settlement Agreements

When managing staff exits, whether as a result of changes to the business or individual performance, ill health or conduct issues, Settlement Agreements can be a vital tool in protecting the employer’s position. We have experience in advising on and negotiating exit packages and drafting settlement agreements at all levels and can help you achieve what is best for your business.

Handling Sickness Absence

Whether short term intermittent absences or longer ill health absence where you may need to go through an ill health management process with a view to termination of employment, at the same time avoiding potential disability discrimination and unfair dismissal claims, we can help.

Performance management

We can help with guidance on how best to approach performance issues at any stage of the employment relationship, from the probationary period onwards, through to performance review processes which may result in termination of employment, making sure you fulfil your legal obligations and avoid time consuming grievance processes and Employment Tribunal claims.

Redundancy

We provide practical help with the whole process from the planning stages, through implementing a fair selection process to the initial announcement, any collective consultation requirements, points to cover at consultation meetings with staff and how to handle their concerns - including preparation of a Frequently Asked Questions sheet as well as provide you with a step by step guide to the process which is right for your business.

Staff Manual / Employment Handbook

A Staff Manual or Handbook can be a vital tool in getting your business ethos across to your employees whilst also fulfilling your legal obligations and summarising any sector specific requirements. We can provide a resource for staff and managers which is suitable for your business.

TUPE – transfer of ownership of the business

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Whistleblowing allegations

The law on whistleblowing is complicated with traps for the unwary, including potential personal liability of Directors as well as reputational issues. We have specific expertise in handling whilstleblowing allegations and claims and can help you navigate this difficult area.

Partner & Head of Commercial & Employment
Senior Solicitor
Legal Assistant

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