Most people who consult an employment Solicitor do so as a reaction to events in the workplace. When most people join a job, the last thing they anticipate is legal problems with the employer down the road. Nevertheless, things can, at times, go wrong and there may be processes in place to deal with those issues. We offer advice from the initial stage, right through to the termination of employment. We can advise and negotiate on terms and conditions of employment, issues which arise during the course of employment and, of course, its termination.
Issues may arise for an employee, such as bullying and harassment, discrimination, issues with pay or transfer of employment to another body (‘TUPE’ transfer). We provide advise and assistance on these issues as they arise. We can prepare a grievance for submission to the employer if required. Alternatively, if you are being subject to a disciplinary process, we can review the charges against you, identify any evidence that would be useful to defend your position, and prepare a document which you can use to defend your position in the disciplinary hearing. The law only entitles an employee to bring in a trade union representative or work colleague, so Solicitors are not generally allowed to participate in the internal process, but we can assist you to prepare a robust defence to the charges as said.
We also identify and pursue claims on behalf of our employee clients, including claims for unfair dismissal, breach of contract, discrimination (be it race, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion or belief) and we can provide representation at the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and Higher Courts (Court of Appeal and Supreme Court). We have arrangements with experienced Barrister’s Chambers who have a proved record of success and can offer fixed fees for representation in most employment or County Court matters.
Those who occupy managerial positions in organisations face unique challenges. On the one hand, they are subject to pressures to deliver from those above, but may equally face challenges from those that they manage. Not all ‘middle managers’ feel supported by their employer and from time to time, may need professional advice. We have advised a number of middle managers when they are subjected to disciplinary processes from their employers, or alternatively, where they are the subject of a grievance from individuals that they are managing. We can provide advice tailored to the specific circumstances of the individual and if necessary, provide a written document to support a case being brought or to respond to a grievance allegation as required.
We often hear from our clients that they do not feel supported by their trade union representative. Union representatives have a demanding role, but at times, they may not be as supportive as they would wish. We are able to step in and fill any such gaps and provide the required support.
If you wish to discuss your employment matter in the strictest of confidence and with no obligation, please call us on 0208 858 5996.
- Unfair dismissal
- Constructive dismissal
- Discrimination (race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, religion and belief, age)
- Wages owing
- Restrictive covenants
We advise during employment such as in relation to disciplinary or grievance stages and can also assist in drafting grievances.
With a strong record of working in employment law in London, Brown and Co also represents professionals such as doctors, nurses, midwives and social workers before their regulatory bodies and we are able to combine knowledge of fitness to practice issues alongside our general employment law expertise. In some cases action may be required in a legal forum other than the employment tribunal e.g. an injunction before the High Court to halt unfair disciplinary proceedings against a doctor. We are able to bring proceedings in the most suitable legal forum.
Brown and Co has achieved a number of successful outcomes for clients in the employment sphere through mediation (be it judicial mediation or through the services of ACAS). This is a cost effective means to allowing the parties to discuss their issues and reach an agreed outcome. If you wish to explore mediation as a possible resolution of your dispute please give us a call.
As part of our employment law practice we have also developed particular expertise and significant outcomes for clients who have suffered sexual harassment in the work place. The law defines ‘harassment’ as unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for someone. Victims of sexual harassment often feel humiliated, embarrassed and powerless especially if the harassment is being perpetrated by a more senior colleague. That is where we come in. We will assess your case in a confidential no obligation setting and if you instruct is we will take your case forward. Awards for sexual harassment (as with discrimination generally) are uncapped although there are guidelines from the higher courts. In strong cases we would expect to obtain a significant award at tribunal or earlier settlement. In strong cases also the employer will be concerned at reputational damage and so more likely to settle early.
HR Policies and Procedures
Whether you are a small, medium or large scale employer you will probably benefit from having robust and legally compliant procedures for your business.
Some advantages of having good policies and procedures include the fact that they:
- Help ensure that you comply with the law
- Greatly increase your efficiency as a business as you do not have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ for each employment issue. You just have to follow your existing policy and procedure
- Help avoid expensive and time consuming by ‘getting it right’ from the start
- Empower and instil confidence in your HR department who have reliable tools to work with
What we offer:
We can provide you with a suite of HR policies and procedures tailor made to your business for a fixed fee. Alternatively you can purchase any number of discrete policies.
We also offer an annual review of your policies and procedures to ensure they remain compliant with the law. As a retained client we would alert you if there were any significant changes in employment law which impacted on your policies and procedures and amend accordingly if you so require. We provide an annual review of your policies and procedures.
We offer a retainer service to our business clients in which for a monthly fee an employment solicitor will be on hand to answer any queries which may arise.
If you have a specific project e.g. a large restructuring we can also assign an employment solicitor to advise at every step of the process.
Please call us if you wish to discuss our retainer service.
We provide training on the full range of employment related matters. Training is essential to help your HR staff get up to speed with the policies and procedures and legal context in which they are operating. But staff may also benefit from training. Typical examples include:
- Training managers to conduct disciplinary and grievance proceeding
- Training managers or other appointed staff how to conduct work place investigations
- Training staff on how to deal with bullying and harassment issues (NB:under the Equality Act 2010 it is a statutory defence for the employer to show that they took reasonable steps to avoid discrimination occurring. Our training session can be a useful way to demonstrate that reasonable steps have been taken)
We are happy to provide the training in house or at a neutral venue if you prefer.
Call us today if you wish to discuss your training requirements with an experienced employment solicitor in Greenwich, London.
020 8858 5996
In a recent settlement agreement matter our client and his employer agreed for him to leave upon terms. The employment contract contained a restrictive covenant which would prevent our client working for a competitor. We negotiated with the employer a variation to the restrictive
covenant clause allowing our client to act as a consultant or employee to a competitor of the employer. This is important as otherwise our client has no recent experience in any other industry.
Our client was a plumber for a large hotel chain
During a period of sickness absence the employer dismissed him without any warning or fair process. We claimed unfair dismissal and disability discrimination (as the underlying health issue amounted to a ‘disability’ under the Equality Act 2010 in our assessment). After a contested hearing we won and our client was awarded £17000. We also took steps to enforce payment and our client has been paid in full.
We recently won a case for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination for a female employee who was dismissed by the employer after 9 months on sickness absence due to uterine fibroids. The employer met with the employee to discuss options and then 2 days later dismissed her without any further discussion. This hasty action was also found to be disability discrimination
There was evidence that the manager did not speak to male workers in the same way. We had a number of former employees who could confirm our client’s case but they were so traumatised by their own experiences that many were unwilling to attend tribunal. We met a key witness at a local restaurant and took a detailed statement from her. We served this statement on the employer’s solicitors and it was instrumental along with other evidence in achieving a settlement of £30000 in a judicial mediation process.
Our clients were two female print workers who were bullied and harassed by their male manager
He was dismissed without notice on the stated basis that there was no work available. Other workers taken on after him were retained. We brought a claim for unfair dismissal arguing among other things that a fair procedure had not been followed. After taking account of his losses and new employment we recently settled for £11500.
Our client worked for a large UK company as a foreman
When she announced that she was pregnant she was dismissed without notice. We brought a claim for sex discrimination which we won. Our client was awarded £12000 but the employer refused to pay. We accordingly commenced enforcement action by obtaining judgment for the sum awarded and used bailiffs to recover the award which has now been paid in full.
Our client worked as a waitress in a restaurant