Whether you are an employer or an employee, employment law is integral to your business and to your working life. Getting it wrong can have serious consequences. We can advise you on the full range of both contentious and non-contentious aspects of employment law, including difficulties in the employment relationship, recruitment and termination of employment, day-to day HR issues, employment contracts and policies, and supporting you in relation to employment claims in the Employment Tribunal and High Court.
Our commitment is to provide you with clear advice from the outset, based on our specialist legal knowledge and a close appreciation of your particular circumstances. We will get to know you and your objectives so that we can provide you with a personal level of service which is responsive, tailored to your personal or commercial objectives and, importantly, cost-effective.
Our advice is detailed below:
Bullying and harassment in one form or another is more common in the workplace than you might think. If you have been subjected to it deciding whether to make a complaint is a crucial but is often a difficult decision.
We can offer you guidance and support to help you decide what action to take, whether you make a complaint under the employer’s bullying and harassment or equal opportunities policies, initiate a ‘protected conversation’ for a negotiated exit or whether you should bring a claim and, if so, what your potential claim should be. We have a proven track record in pursuing high value claims for victims of discrimination, bullying and harassment. Your objectives will be at the heart of our advice and from the start and if you decide to bring a claim we will give you a clear indication of how likely it is that your case will succeed.
What constitutes bullying, harassment and discrimination?
Poor treatment is not in itself unlawful discrimination but poor treatment which it is linked to a characteristic which is protected by the Equality Act 2010 could be. The protected characteristics are age, disability, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership status.
We have in depth knowledge and experience of conducting high value litigation in both the Employment Tribunal and the High Court, which includes complex breach of contract claims, discrimination and harassment cases, whistleblowing, constructive and unfair dismissal cases, and team move injunctions.
We are also very well-placed, given our extensive experience of conducting employment and personal injury litigation, to pursue work place ‘stress claims’ in the High Court, arising out of breaches of the ‘Duty of Care.’ These claims often occur through a combination of factors, including unfair treatment, bullying, harassment and excessive work demands.
Our unique insight and expertise in this area is noted in the legal directories and we are one of the few law firms that regularly conduct high value claims of this type, across a wide range of industries, including the legal sector, investment banking and against the NHS.
- ELA: Stress claims and employment litigation
- The Times coverage on duty of care
- Coverage: Howard Hymanson on mental health in the work place
- The Times: Employers must be held more accountable for workers’ mental health
- HR magazine: Employer duty of care often overlooked when disciplining employees
- iNews: Resurrecting stale sex harassment claims
- ELA briefing: Apportioning liability for psychiatric injury after BAE Systems
- Law Gazette: Mental health: we must do more
- The Times: Law firms must reduce stress for younger lawyers
- Mental health at work: look at the causes as well as the cure
- Working holidays: who should pick up the tab?
- Court of Appeal – Out of Step with the Mental Health of British Workers
- Stress-related injury: is it harder for employees to win a claim?
- Psychiatric injury claims and a fair disciplinary process
- The Times: Groping case diplomat loses £320,000 payout
Redundancy and restructure
Redundancy processes are a difficult time for business leaders. There are many rules regulating the process and if you do not comply you could find yourself accused of unfair dismissal or facing expensive pay-outs to employees under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 in respect of collective redundancies.
We can guide you through an individual redundancy process as part of an ad hoc redundancy of one or a few individuals or as part of a restructure. For larger redundancy programmes we can advise on whether the collective redundancy rules apply and guide you through the complex process including election of employee reps and collective consultation.
On a redundancy or restructure we will devise a commercial approach which complies with the relevant legal obligations and requirements, whilst taking into account wider issues of costs, employee morale and business continuity and business reputation.
The sale or purchase of a business can involve the complex issue of the application of ‘TUPE’ (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 including the obligation to inform and consult with relevant employees. TUPE may also apply when out-sourcing services, or bringing services in house or on the change of a service provider. Failure to understand and comply with your obligations under TUPE can prove costly for an employer potentially involving paying compensation to employees for failure to consult and also the liability for employees who have transferred over on a sale of a business or on a change of service provider.
On a transfer of a business or a service provision change we can advise on whether TUPE applies and your obligations whether as a transferor or a transferee including the consultation process and also the negotiation of indemnities from the seller or purchaser of a business or an incoming service provider.
If you are director or a senior executive we can advise you on all aspects of your employment relationship from negotiating terms to providing pragmatic legal advice when the employment relationship encounters problems.
Our focus is your objectives and priorities and our advice will be tailored to meet your desired outcomes. We understand that offering cost effective and commercial solutions is especially important when acting for individuals.
The breakdown of an employment relationship and problems at work can be very stressful, especially for directors and senior executives who invest significant time and emotion into working life. Difficulties may arise as a result of a restructure, a change in duties and responsibilities, discrimination, bullying and harassment, disciplinaries or grievances. We can help you find amicable resolutions to workplace problems, taking into account your reputation and financial considerations including advising on ‘without prejudice’ or ‘protected conversation’ negotiations and settlement negotiations. If it is not possible to resolve matters, our employment lawyers have an excellent reputation in acting for executives in Employment Tribunal and High Court litigation.
We work with senior executives operating in a number of industry sectors, including media & entertainment, technology, fashion, retail, publishing, advertising, telecoms, investment banking, legal and accountancy.
Settlement agreements vary enormously in terms of their content and level of complexity. Having the benefit of a specialist employment lawyer to assist in negotiating the underlying commercial terms as well as the key drafting points can make a significant difference.
No two employment relationships are the same and we will always take account of your particular circumstances and what you want to achieve including beneficial tax structuring on termination payments and legal fee contributions. Our experience of advising employers provides us with an insight into what terms are commercially achievable and allows us to anticipate an employer’s approach to negotiations. We have extensive experience in assisting directors and senior executives negotiate agreements to achieve the most favourable outcome.
If you need guidance on implementing employee incentives or on receiving an incentive award as an employee we will give you straightforward and practical advice. You can take advantage of the timely ongoing or ad hoc support, including data and process management, reporting and commercial advice.
Effective employee incentives that use the shares in a company can play a key role in recruitment, retention and motivation, as well as clearly aligning the interests of shareholders and employees. We will guide you in structuring and implementing incentives which will improve your business performance and help you to retain valuable staff.
We act for a range of large companies including those listed on AIM. We also advise executives and employees who are offered incentives involving their employing company’s shares. Getting the right deal for an employee is of paramount importance to them.
Your employees are an integral part of your business but they also may pose a threat to your business if they leave and try to compete. We will work with you to put in place effective and legally binding post-termination restrictions in your employment contracts to protect your customers, suppliers, key employees and confidential information and trade secrets. If an employee or team is about to leave your business we can help you to enforce your restrictive covenants.
You can also rely on our experience with dealing with highly tactical and complex legal issues that often arise, including dealing with the threat of High Court applications for injunctive relief.
T: +44 (0) 20 7667 5000
T: +44 (0)20 7667 5000
T: +44 (0)20 7667 5000
T: +44 (0)20 7667 5000
T: +44 (0)20 7667 5000
T: +44 (0)20 7667 5000
Our fees for representing an employer or employee in relation to a claim made in the Employment Tribunal for Unfair or Wrongful Dismissal are estimated fees and are based on our experience of the likely cost for a claim by one employee against one employer where the hearing is unlikely to last for more than one day. We expect our fee for such an Unfair Dismissal case to be £30,000 plus a barristers fee. A wrongful dismissal claim is likely to costs £20,000 plus a barristers fee. These fees are subject to VAT.
Wrongful dismissal claims arise where an employee argues that the dismissal has breached their contract of employment and the sum claimed will usually relate only to pay due in respect of the notice period. An Unfair Dismissal claim gives rise to the possibility of compensation, in addition to notice pay, which is capped at either one year’s pay , or £93,878 if one year’s pay would be more than that sum, together with a ‘basic award’ of compensation. The basic award is calculated by reference to a week’s pay, age and length of service. There is a cap on the weekly pay taken into account for this award, currently £571.
The capped amounts are updated each year by the Government, usually in April.
The compensation which can be awarded by an Employment Tribunal for a wrongful Dismissal Claim is limited to £25,000.
We will agree a scope of work with you and that will tell you if we expect the fee to be higher, based on the facts of your particular case.
Further information on our fees, third party costs, taxes and the stages involved in bringing or defending an Unfair or Wrongful Dismissal claim in the Employment/tribunal can be found here.
How long will my matter take?
An Employment Tribunal claim will typically take between four to 12 months to conclude. Some tribunals have longer waiting lists for hearings than others.
Who will deal with my matter?
The solicitors in the department are in the ‘Our team’ tab above. The solicitors in the department are all very experienced in dealing with Employment Law matters. The team spend 90% or more of their time dealing with Employment Law.
In each case, associate and senior associate solicitors will be supervised by one of the partners.
- IR35 to be scrapped
- SHRM coverage on the gig economy
- Harbottle & Lewis advises Antler on investment in Heat
- People Management coverage on carers juggling work and care
- People Management coverage: shared parental leave
- People Management coverage on advertising vacancies on social media
- People Management coverage on unfair dismissals
- People Management coverage on tribunals involving menopause
- Employee benefits: Uber’s GMB deal is a turning point for workers’ rights
- Yvonne Gallagher quoted in Personnel Today
- The Guardian coverage on Gary Lineker
- Coverage: Can I control a sales freelancer with set targets?
- Contract of Service v Contract for Services?
- Contractor UK coverage: do contractors have employment rights?
- Bloomberg Tax coverage on Uber and the gig economy
- The Times coverage on Uber’s driver dispute
- The Times coverage on duty of care
- Coverage on Uber Supreme Court ruling
- The Stage coverage for Yvonne Gallagher
- Coverage for Yvonne Gallagher in People Management
- Harbottle & Lewis advises Emma Frost and Matthew Graham’s new indie on partnership with Legendary Entertainment
- FT coverage for Yvonne Gallagher on furlough scheme