We are very experienced in advising all types of employees including directors, executives, traders, bankers, solicitors, accountants and others on a wide range of employment law issues.
Our areas of expertise include:
Employees, Partners and members of LLP’s may all be offered Settlement Agreements to settle statutory and contractual disputes with their employer or their Firm/LLP. This may arise on the settling of a particular dispute or may be given to an employee in a redundancy situation or other termination. We have advised on numerous settlement agreements and their predecessor, compromise agreements, and can offer advice on all types of agreement from the relatively straightforward to the complicated and contentious. As we have solicitors at various stages of qualification, we can assign the appropriate fee-earner to the contribution that is being provided by your employer. If the agreement requires negotiations, the fees may exceed the initial contribution and we would discuss this with you.
Many employees that we advise are in highly skilled roles in financial services’ or professional services’ firms. They are likely to have complicated contractual arrangements including restrictive covenants and sophisticated remuneration schemes. It is sensible to have your contract of employment reviewed before agreeing to it to ensure you fully understand it and that it reflects the deal that you believe has been agreed. The contract is likely to contain restrictive covenants which purport to limit your activities after you leave the employment. It is important to be aware of this at the outset as your ability to renegotiate on exit is likely to be negligible, if your departure is voluntary. We are experienced in reviewing and drafting all types of service agreement particularly in the financial services’ sector and can advise you on what you should be aware of and what scope you may have to negotiate terms.
Employees, other workers, partners and members of LLPs are all protected from being discriminated against in their work and in relation to their remuneration. Statute prohibits discrimination on the basis of certain protective characteristics including sex, race, nationality, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, pregnancy, religious belief.
Although there may be less blatant discrimination than in the past, many employees will still face discriminatory treatment in the workplace. Sometimes, those committing the acts of discrimination are not conscious that they are doing so. In other cases, an employee may be victimised for having raised complaints of discrimination. Employees are protected from direct and indirect discrimination and victimisation. Indirect discrimination occurs where a provision, criterion or practice is applied to all employees but certain employees, who share a protected characteristic, would find it more difficult to comply with the provision.
Discrimination is often a difficult matter to deal with and can be very upsetting. We are experienced in advising in relation to all types of discriminatory treatment and do so in a practical and sympathetic way. We will advise you on the best way to deal with the situation to stop the discrimination or to settle a dispute arising from the discriminatory treatment. If the matter results in litigation, we are experienced in bringing litigation and advising you through the steps of the process. We work with specialist barristers who are experts in discrimination claims. Although sometimes an employee will be able to resolve the dispute at the outset, in other cases they may be required to bring litigation. We frequently attend mediations in discrimination claims and represent our clients at mediations. This will often be an effective way of resolving a dispute prior to attending a full hearing, we can advise you on the best approach to take to achieve a satisfactory result.
We represent employees in the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and High Court employment claims. Most litigation is now subject to a system of fees. This includes Employment Tribunal claims, which require claimants to pay an issue fee of £160 or £250 and a hearing fee of £230 or £950. The fee payable depends on the type of claim issued and exemptions are only granted if you qualify for fee remission based on your personal circumstances.
When a dismissal takes place, it is usually a stressful time for an employee. The decision may be a complete shock to the employee and we are experienced in providing immediate legal and practical advice on handling the situation and ensuring that you are paid all sums that are due to you. A dismissal may result in the immediate negotiation of a settlement agreement or may involve the instigation of litigation. We can advise you on the best step to take to ensure that all your statutory and contractual rights are honoured.
When an employee has a concern at work or believes that they are being bullied or have suffered a breach of contract, but they have not actually been dismissed, the first step will usually be to raise a grievance about the matter. Hopefully the grievance will result in the issue being resolved, however even if it does not, it is still extremely important to make sure that the grievance is comprehensive and asks all the right questions. A grievance may be the first step in a process that results in litigation and will be an important document in any subsequent litigation. It is therefore a good idea to take advice at an early stage and we can advise you on the correct process to follow and the questions that need to be asked.
An employee facing a disciplinary process is likely to be anxious about the process and the possible outcome. It is sensible to seek advice before any disciplinary hearing so that you can consider the best way to respond to any allegations. Although there is no right to be accompanied by a solicitor at any disciplinary hearing, we can advise you of the best way to approach it, the questions to ask and the likely questions that you will face. It is important to be as prepared as possible for any disciplinary hearing as any adverse findings against you may result in the loss of your job and, in a regulated industry such as financial services, certain allegations, if made out, may have an effect on your ability to continue your career in the same industry. We are extremely experienced at advising employees on the best way to defend disciplinary allegations or otherwise seeking to resolve such a situation.
Employees in the UK have various statutory rights granted to them when pregnant, after giving birth, and while they are the parents of young children. Statutory rights form a basic level of entitlement and your employer may actually offer enhanced benefits. We can advise you of your rights in these situations, if you encounter a problem in being granted these entitlements or if you believe that you have been discriminated because of your situation or because you have requested a right to work flexibly.
Employees have the right to request flexible working. There is a prescribed procedure and we can advise you on the appropriate process to try to ensure that your request will be met. Issues will frequently arise from any refusal to agree to such a request for flexible working and we can advise you of any rights that may arise from such a refusal.
An employee may need advice concerning breach of contract in many different situations. They may be accused of breaching a contract themselves. This may take the form of a disciplinary matter or may involve allegations of breach of post-termination restrictions or the disclosure of confidential information. Depending on the nature of the breach, the employee may face a disciplinary procedure or may be defending proceedings in Court for injunctive relief and/or damages. In either case it is important that the employee takes advice promptly and we are experts in advising the employee on the best way to defend allegations of breach of contract or the best way to resolve such a dispute.
If an employee believes their employer has breached their contract of employment they may raise the matter through the internal grievance procedure. Again, it is important to take advice to ensure that allegations are put to ensure that the matter is either resolved or an appropriate settlement is reached.
If it is not resolved, the employee may wish to bring a claim for damages for breach of contract or they may resign and bring a claim arising from a constructive dismissal situation.
Senior employees and employers with client facing roles will frequently have restrictive covenants in their contracts of employment. These will attempt to prevent the employee from working for a competitor, soliciting, clients or other employees and preventing the use of confidential information.
Employees should take advice when agreeing to enter such restrictions and when taking up new employment, if they believe that they may be in danger of acting in breach of such covenants. If it is alleged that an employee has breached such covenants, they may be threatened with a claim including an emergency application for injunctive relief.
We are very experienced in advising on such covenants and in defending claims for breach. We can also advise you on the best way to deal with a team move to minimise exposure to potential litigation.
Employees may have issues concerning payment or repayment of bonuses including disputes about the level of bonus. We can advise on the best way to deal with such issues including potential statutory or contractual claims that you may to entitled to bring.
Employees are protected from suffering a detriment or from being dismissed as a result of having raised a protected disclosure. Employees in all areas of work but particularly in the financial and other professional services may have cause to raise concerns about breach of obligations. If they are victimised as a result, they have the right to bring a claim and such claim is uncapped in terms of the compensation that can be received so is a particularly valuable right to higher earning employees.
We are very experienced in advising on this particular area of law and in advising on how to bring such claims.