EMPLOYMENT & HR
Our complete HR and Employment Law service provides you with access to advice when you need it.
Everyday HR issues can become a drain on your time and resources.
We work with employers to reduce that burden and can assist with all aspects of HR. We frequently assist with the following:
- Disciplinary and grievance procedures
- Redundancy procedures
- Employment contracts
- Employee handbooks
- Staff appraisals and reviews
- Drafting letters and internal documents
- Management training in matters such as recruitment and discrimination
We understand that employers require financial certainty and we therefore developed the Employer Protection Service (EPS) whereby we provide ongoing support for your business on a low cost fixed monthly retainer.
If you receive notification from ACAS that an employee has started early conciliation, or a claim in the Employment Tribunal is issued against you, it is important to act promptly. The ACAS early conciliation process is designed to encourage the parties to an employment dispute to resolve matters before a claim is issued. If the matter cannot be resolved through ACAS and Tribunal proceedings are issued, a response must be filed within 28 days and by the date shown within the Tribunal documentation. We pride ourselves on our excellent track record of achieving the withdrawal or strike out of claims, succeeding at Tribunal hearings, or achieving very low settlements. We frequently represent employers faced with Tribunal hearings on agreed budgets and can assist with all aspects of the case, including representation at hearings.
A Settlement Agreement (formally known as a Compromise Agreement) is a legally binding agreement between an employer and an employee. Usually, an employee accepts a sum of money in return for agreeing not to bring certain legal claims against their employer. Settlement agreements are most frequently used by employers when a relationship with an employee breaks down, when employees are redundant and when the employer wishes to agree specific exit terms. The terms of the settlement agreement should be tailored to your business needs and usually cover matters such as:
- The protection of confidential information
- The return of company property
- Post-termination restrictions
- Prohibiting derogatory comments
We can draft bespoke agreements to ensure that your business is protected from future claims by the exiting employee.
Employment Contracts & Handbooks
All employees should have an up to date contract of employment, reflecting their current terms and conditions. We approach drafting contracts by looking at the needs of your business and the things that matter to you. We provide our clients with bespoke contracts which safeguard your business and frequently contain the following:
- Provisions to protect your confidential information and intellectual property.
- Post termination restrictions tailored to the employee’s position and responsibilities.
- Garden leave and notice provisions which allow you to restrict the activity of an exiting employee.
It is important that employee handbooks have core policies and procedures to protect your business. In particular, anti-bullying and equal opportunities policies can be important tools when defending discrimination claims. Increasingly employers require more detailed sickness and capability management procedures to address problem absence. We tailor policies to your requirements and can advise on your internal sickness management procedures.
Restrictive Covenants & Confidentiality
It is a common misconception that post termination restrictions are unlikely to be enforceable and can only act as a deterrent to employees. Whilst restrictions often act as a deterrent to employees who are leaving an organisation, for restrictions to be enforceable, they must be drafted to protect your legitimate business interests and tailored to the employee’s position and responsibilities. Restrictive covenants often act as a strong deterrent for employees to act in breach of the terms. If you consider that an employee has breached the terms of any restriction, it is important to act quickly and obtain advice to limit any potential damage to your business. We can assist with any required court action to enforce the restrictions and recover any loss you may have suffered.
In order to protect your business, you may require employees to be subject to restrictive covenants and enhanced confidentiality obligations. It is important that these are carefully drafted and considered to maximise their enforceability.
We can advise you on what may be necessary and draft these for you.
Redundancy & Workplace Reorganisation
We advise on small and large scale reorganisations and restructures. Where it is necessary to make redundancies, we can advise you through the entire process. We attend consultation meetings and draft all of the necessary documents from redundancy selection criteria to consultation and termination letters. It can be daunting if employees challenge the criteria used or their individual point score. We are on hand to advise and support you through these challenging issues. If you are seeking to make more than 20 employees redundant, special procedures apply and you must follow a fixed duration consultation process. It is important to consider your strategy before implementing any changes to your workforce. We like to become involved when you first consider that you need to make changes to help you put in place fair procedures and reduce the risk of aggrieved employees bringing claims relating to the process.
TUPE & Business Sales
If you are buying or selling a business you need to consider how the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (known as TUPE), may affect your sale or purchase. When a business changes owner, its employees may be protected by TUPE. When TUPE applies:
- The employees’ jobs usually transfer over to the new company
- Their employment terms and conditions transfer
- Continuity of employment is maintained
TUPE may also apply if you contract out a service or if you take over a contract for services from another supplier. If TUPE applies and you fail to warn and consult affected employees about the transfer, you may be liable to pay each of the affected employees a penalty award of up to 13 weeks gross pay. You may also end up being liable for other claims, such as unfair dismissal, or breach of contract. If you propose to buy or sell a business, or you take over from an outgoing contractor, it is important to seek advice at an early stage and before you agree terms.
Management and employee training can significantly reduce the risk of discrimination and bullying claims. We frequently provide in-house training which we can tailor to the needs of your business. We pride ourselves on making the training interactive and accessible to all employees regardless of their position within your organisation. Effective management training is essential to ensure that procedural and other errors are not made when dealing with difficult staffing issues. We can provide training to management on any employment related subject, including:
- Discrimination and equal opportunities
- Suspension, disciplinary and grievance procedures
- Harassment and bullying
- Sickness absence and capability procedures
Discrimination claims can arise in relation to:-
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
Claims of discrimination can be damaging for any business. Compensation is uncapped and claims can cause embarrassment and reputational damage. We understand the impact this type of claim can have and ensure that we take the burden of dealing with the Tribunal process away from your business. Seeking advice at the first sign of the problem can minimise its impact. If Tribunal proceedings are issued against you, we can ensure that you put forward the best defence to those claims from the outset.
Unfair & Wrongful Dismissal
Unfair dismissal claims normally arise when employees challenge the reason for their dismissal, or the procedure that the employer has followed. In the majority of cases, employees will need to have 2 years continuous service to bring an unfair dismissal claim, however there are some exceptions. Wrongful dismissal claims are normally pursued when an employee is dismissed without notice, but considers that the notice is due. We can help you through the ACAS early conciliation procedure. If the matter cannot be resolved through ACAS and Tribunal proceedings are issued, a response must be filed within 28 days and by the date shown within the Tribunal documentation. We pride ourselves on our excellent track record of achieving the withdrawal or strike out of claims, succeeding at Tribunal hearings, or achieving very low settlements. We frequently represent employers faced with Tribunal hearings on agreed budgets and can assist with all aspects of the case and provide representation at the final hearing.
Directors, Shareholders & Executives
Acting for Directors, Senior Employees and Board-Level recruitment can be complicated and challenging. We can help with complex employment issues and we’ll steer you through contracts, claims and disputes.
We specialise in advising on all contentious and non-contentious issues in this specialist area of the law. Often, employment contracts have to be read in conjunction with partnership or shareholder agreements, or Memorandum and Articles of Association and restrictive covenants and other obligations may also have to be interpreted in light of other formal documentation. We have specialists not only in our employment team but also in our corporate and commercial team and we’ll work together, to ensure that the preparation or dispute in relation to one form of agreement is also considered with other contractual remedies that could be available to you.
We can negotiate an exit package an employee which may also need to end any company-law or partnership liabilities that the business could have and we’ve got an entire team who will co-ordinate to enable you to get the best possible outcome.
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– Local Business, Canvey Island
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