Employment law for employers

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Employment law for employers

Experience has taught us that the worst position for an employer to be in is to be unprepared. We prepare you. If your strategy is defined, you’re more likely to achieve better results. 

Reviewing employment documentation

Without a contract, employers are exposed. There is a presumption against employers in law. We draft the right type of employment agreement for the right level of employee from the most junior to board level director’s service agreements. We also handle other employment documentation such as work place policies.

Approach taken by the Employment Tribunal and courts

There is a general unwillingness of the courts to imply obligations on employees into an employment contract or a director service agreement above and beyond what is in the contract.  The reluctance is particularly strong where there was the opportunity for the employer to include suitable express provisions but the employer failed to do so.

Successful motivation of your staff

Our expertise extends to drafting employment documentation for the successful motivation of employees such as:

  • Bonus plans and commission arrangements – we draw on past experience to suggest bonus plans and commission arrangements that could work in your business. We deal with the hidden traps such as use of discretion, how leavers should be treated, how the payment should be calculated and fitted within your commercial metrics.
  • Share options and employee share schemes – this is a specialist area in which we have the experience to guide you on how to run the best type of arrangement for your business.

Protecting intellectual property

If you don’t place specially crafted restrictions on employees and directors, then they are free to divulge trade secrets and compete against your business. We deter employees and directors from trying to profit at your expense by the use of suitable clauses intended to warn off attempts by employees.

Confidential information

We include protective steps within the employment documentation such as delivery up provisions extending beyond termination of the employment or directorship.  Increasingly, confidential information protection needs to extend to Social media and appropriate policies need to form part of standard documentation. Confidential information can be so easily misused via social media the employer needs to capture this.

Resolving employee disputes

We ensure you follow best practices to resolve a dispute with an employee.  Supporting employers through a disciplinary procedure is an area we do frequently deal with.  We do deal with grey areas and provide a solid sounding board for employers often faced with conflicting evidence. The idea is you minimise employment litigation risks.  We tell you which employment claims have merit and how to mitigate the risk of an employment law claim.

Mediation

Sometimes, the dispute is best resolved using mediation.  Mediation is surprisingly successful in many cases. If an employee requests a mediation care is needed before rejecting the idea.  We use our skill in responding delicately.  If the matter proceeds to court, mediation will be part of the court process.

We support employers involved in mediation with employees or directors in a number of way such as:

  • Our accredited mediator John Deane can act as an independent mediator;
  • We will prepare the evidence and advise on the tactics;
  • We attend meetings to support employers.

Judicial mediation at an Employment Tribunal

Mediation is part of the Employment Tribunal process and used to keep cases out of court.  Our experience in managing mediation hearings covers preparing employers for judicial mediation at an Employment Tribunal.

Dealing with dismissals

Termination of employment by the employer is an area all businesses deal with from time to time. We handle the process for you usually where there are complications making the dismissal potentially more risky than the norm.  We deal with the process you must follow, the nature and extent of any investigation to be carried out, appeals made by the employees and termination requirements.

Running employment litigation

We have dealt with numerous redundancy exercises, re-structures and difficult employees.

We can run cases for you through any court and in particular the Employment Tribunal.  Very few of our cases reach a court or Tribunal as we find ways to resolve the issues.  The English legal system will penalise anyone who has not tried very hard to resolve disputes before applying to court.

It is the threat that an employer is serious and the precision with which we set matters up to prepare for court which encourages settlement in many cases.

Employment law aspects for a corporate transaction

In a corporate transaction involving the sale of a business the most likely areas where our employment law expertise will assist are:

Business transfers

When you transfer employees to another company or business unit, we ensure you comply with the legal requirements for TUPE transfers.  We also manage business re-structuring and the Redundancy process for employers.

Protecting confidential information

Usually, there is a fall out of staff as a result of a purchase or sale of a business. A common issue that arises in corporate transactions is whether the employer seller can require departing staff to return confidential company documents (“deliver up”) that they are likely to have in their possession. The purchaser may be uncomfortable if there is a risk that ex-employees will misuse confidential information.  Any such risk can jeopardise a sale or push the sale price down.

We often deal with cases where the Employment documentation does not adequately address the issues and find solutions for employers.

Reviewing any new contracts of employment offered by the purchaser

Our advice can cover earn outs and deferred bonus arrangements. Often there are changes needed to terms such as restrictive covenants and we will deal with appropriate changes.

Shares held by employees

If shares in the purchaser are offered as part of the corporate transaction we can deal with the issues arising.  If your employees hold shares or options in the business being sold we can deal with those aspects.

Dealing with implications under TUPE

Where the transaction is an asset sale agreement which includes staff we can deal with all aspects affecting the transfer under TUPE.

We deal with corporate transactions all the time and can share with you the experience of having dealt with this before.

Supporting HR

We work with busy managers who rely on us for the latest employment law and practice. Our product is an honest view of the situation and a solution.

Based on past experience we find HR often needs employment law support in the following areas which we will deal with:

  • Performance management;
  • HR strategy;
  • How to implement a redundancy exercise;
  • How to run a disciplinary or grievance hearing and gather effective evidence;
  • How to manage difficult employees;
  • Dealing with sickness and absence;
  • Review of the employment documentation in advance of a corporate transaction.

Some clients ask us to train their team on how to use employment law developments to their best advantage. We tailor our training to your HR strategy and requirements.

HR solutions for employers

We do deal with solutions rather than advice as that is what our clients need.

  • We deliver quality HR action plans at reasonable cost.
  • We grasp the wider issues, cut to the chase, and then deliver.
  • It’s not always just about employment law. Often, there are complex personal and corporate tax, intellectual property, and commercial law implications – we offer that expertise providing access to our specialist solicitors.
  • We aim to become your business partner and form a long term relationship.

Benefit of solicitors

Unlike unregulated businesses who offer HR opinions, you gain the benefits of a practice operating with solicitors within a highly regulated regime. We must deliver up to-date and appropriate guidance. We also know how to keep matters out of court and reduce the impact and disruption to your business.

Employer employment law track record

Our specialist employment solicitors provide all the advice an employer requires from engaging staff through to letting them go and redundancy.  Our depth of expertise includes not only employment law but also incentivising staff tax-efficiently, directors, and protecting your intellectual property and confidential information when employees depart.

We have the expertise to deal with employment law issues arising under a corporate transaction.  We can act for you when selling your business or when buying a business.

Clients tell us they are glad we provide bespoke and focused action plans. Some of our recent instructions include:

  • Re-negotiation of an employee’s employment contract – we assisted an employer who had unwittingly accepted a change to an employee’s employment contract through the employee’s own conduct. The employee was permitted to work from home one day a week but had gradually increased this to everyday. This continued for over a year. We assisted our client with the re-negotiation and execution of a new employment contract with limited working from home provisions.
  • Senior director’s grievance – we advised an employer throughout a grievance procedure brought by a senior director which was groundless. The parties avoided court proceedings and reached a reasonable settlement.
  • Disciplinary procedure – we regularly advise employers on disciplinary matters ranging from employee under performance to gross misconduct.
  • Employment documentation – we ensure that the employment documentation for a number of our clients are up-to-date, effective, and proportionate to the risks involved. Documents include employment contracts, director’s service agreements, disciplinary and grievance procedure manuals.

Employment law is fast changing and we provide the latest advice.  We support employers across a range of sectors, particularly owner managed businesses. We know how to handle difficult employees. Our style is directional: You do not need advice. You need an action plan, which is what we deliver.