Our Employment Solicitors have tremendous experience in advising on disciplinaries and grievances, mergers and acquisitions, commercial outsourcing and employment tribunal claims. We take the time to understand your organisation and your issues before we advise, so that we can focus our advice on your aims and objectives. You can rely on us to offer clear, commercial advice, with a down to earth approach.
We never sit on the fence with our advice, so if you need clear and strong direction, we are the lawyers for you. We can offer you options to solve your legal problem. This means you can take a decision based on the level of legal and commercial risk you are prepared to accept.
Simon Rhodes ‘instils confidence’ and is described as ‘very commercial in his approach’ by Chambers and Partners 2017.
Director Appointments and Terminations
We advise on the legal issues and documentation required in appointing and terminating the employment of senior employees and executive directors. Whether acting for the senior employee or executive director, we can advise on the fairness and reasonableness of draft Service Agreements and employment contracts, as well as other ancillary contractual terms such as bonus schemes.
We, and our complementary teams can advise on:
- Service Agreements and Contracts of Employment
- Bonus Schemes or Schedules
- Commission Schemes
- Settlement Agreements
- Advise on any associated shareholders agreements, bonus schedules
- Advise on share options
We can also advise on the employment aspects of Shareholder/Director disputes.
Poor Performance, Misconduct and Absence Management
Employees that perform poorly or whose behaviour or attendance creates disruption to your colleagues or customers need to be tackled quickly and effectively. If you need strategic advice and guidance on how to handle these delicate issues, we can help. We also offer training sessions for you and your team on how to manage these issues effectively and we pride ourselves on getting workable results:
- Provide a strategy approach to managing these issues
- Prepare and advise you on the relevant policies and procedures including: Disciplinary, Grievance, Capability/ Performance, Sickness Management, IT and Social Media etc.
- Guide you through the relevant process
- Prepare useful and effective occupational health referral documents
- Help you to interpret the relevant medical evidence
- Advise you on the implementation of reasonable adjustments
- Draft or check the documents you need to support the process including: emails, letters, scripts, guidance notes and investigation questions
- Advise you on how and what to collate in evidence; and when to use it
- Advise you on any settlement negotiations (such as a protected conversations/without prejudice discussions)
Drafting Service Agreements/Contracts of Employment
All businesses need employment and consultancy contracts as part of the recruitment process. In our experience, a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work effectively. We can provide you with a tailored a set of contracts to fit your executive directors and other staff. Detailed drafting will offer invaluable contractual protection of key business assets like business contacts, staff and branding and other intellectual property and the business protection when an employee leaves.
We can prepare:
- Clear and robust Service Agreements for executive directors
- Clear and robust Employment Contracts
- Additional remuneration schemes – bonus schemes, commission schemes etc.
- Contractually restrict the employees’ activities after employment terminates
We can also:
- Advise on the restrictions with a previous employer
- Help you to negotiate a settlement with a previous or new employer on the effect of restrictions on an employee
Employee Engagement and Workplace Culture
Every organisation has a Workplace Culture, whether by design or by accident. In simple terms, it is the way you do things. A Workplace Culture is made up of the values, principles and behaviours of an organisation. Ideally it should complement the organisation’s Vision and demonstrate its values. We can assist you in the process of reviewing, assessing and improving your Workplace Culture. A negative and disruptive Workplace Culture can result in poor performance, misconduct and sickness absence. A positive and inclusive Workplace Culture can improve the organisation’s performance across the board.
- Help you to review and assess your Workplace Culture
- Help you to review and redefine your organisation’s Vision and Values
- Help you to address the cultural issues that may be holding your organisation back
Employment Tribunal Claims and ACAS Early Conciliation
Employment tribunal claims can be time-consuming and stressful. With this, the number of claims submitted continues to rise so it is vital that your company gets the right advice to ensure any action taken against its employees is lawful. Our team has extensive experience of representing companies in all types of tribunal claims including unfair dismissal, discrimination, whistleblowing and TUPE non-consultation claims etc. All of our solicitors are also experienced advocates so we can advise you, prepare your case and represent you at the hearing.
- Assess your defence and prepare the response form (ET3)
- Report to you and/or your insurers on your prospects of success (for legal expenses cover)
- Assist in collating relevant evidence to support your defence
- Prepare lists of documents and trial bundles
- Prepare your witness statements
- Attend and represent you at a Preliminary Hearing and the Final Hearing (trial)
- Make applications to the Tribunal for evidence, witnesses etc.
- Help to negotiate a settlement direct, or through ACAS (via a COT3 agreement)
- Prepare a Settlement Agreement to settle your claim (as applicable)
Changing Terms and Harmonisation
Most companies will need to make a change to the terms and conditions of employment for their staff during employment. Because the employment relationship is governed by a contract of employment (written or not), there is significant scope for any change to trigger a breach of contract if it is not handled appropriately. As a result, the Company must ensure that any changes that it makes are not in breach of contract. As a result, a clear understanding of what latitude there is in the contract to make the changes, whether lawfully, forcibly or by agreement is critical.
We can advise you on:
- The contractual and legal rights for making a change
- The legal ramifications for making a change
- Processes to follow to comply with your legal obligations
- How to gain lawful and binding consent from your employees
- Support with any sale agreements (asset purchase agreement, business purchase agreements and/or share purchase agreements)
- The impact and scope to make changes after a TUPE transfer
- The withdrawal or reduction of any of your employee benefits (such a final salary or medical benefits)
Insourcing, Outsourcing and TUPE
When you or your organisation sells or buys business assets; and when it insources or outsources business services, the rights and liabilities that relate to your employees will be significantly affected. Whether acting as a buyer or a seller, the regulations that cover the transfer of employment (known as TUPE), require you to follow a clear and specific process. They also significantly limit your scope to make any changes to your employees’ employment after transfer.
We and our complementary teams can:
- Advise you on managing the TUPE process correctly
- Assist you in dealing with employee representatives/unions as part of the consultation
- Guide you though any changes that you wish to make to terms and conditions
- Manage any redundancies and restructuring required pre or post transfer
- Redraft any company constitutions to ensure they are fit for purpose
- Advise on the legal rights to protect rights before and after sale/ transfer
- Advise of post-termination restrictions after the transfer
- Prepare you for consultation meetings
- Defend claims that you have failed to comply with your legal duties under legislation like the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE)