Employment Law

Employment Law

Even in the best, most well run organisations, disputes with your employees and workers can occur. In these circumstances it is essential the organisation has the tools and frameworks in place to effectively manage the issue. 
 
At Hughes Paddison we can support your business by providing expert strategic advice on all aspects of the employee life cycle, as well as representing your business and guiding you through any disputes and subsequent litigation that may occur. 
 

Building your HR Framework

We can assist you in ensuring your business is best protected and operating efficiently by having the appropriate contracts, policies and procedures in place. Ones that are relevant and bespoke to the needs of your organisation and attuned to the changing commercial environment. We can assist with the provision of:

• Contracts of employment

• Director service agreements

• Secondment agreements

• Volunteer agreements

• Atypical worker contracts (Agency worker/Casual worker/seasonal worker)

• Bespoke handbooks to include all key employment policies we recommend are adopted by employers

• Collective agreements

• Template documentation for redundancies, changes to terms and conditions, disciplinary and grievance proceeding and managing sickness absence procedures.

• On-site HR audits

• Bespoke business training on a range of UK employment law issues, from performance management to mock tribunals. 

Managing Employee relations and Disputes

Where there are employees there will always be the risk of conflict and disputes. These can be hugely disruptive to the business, particularly where they are not swiftly and effectively managed. We are able to tailor our services to the needs of the business to find the most cost-effective and reasonable solution. 

We can assist with reviewing grievances or disciplinary processes, to assisting with drafting the communications. All with the added benefit of our advice being protected by legal privilege, which is only available where the advice is given by a qualified legal professional. 

Whilst we are not able to guarantee the employee will not bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal or Court, we can ensure you are in the best possible position to defend such an action. 

Should you find yourself faced with an Employment Tribunal or Court claim, we can prepare and submit a robust defence and guide you through the case management. We can also undertake the representation for you at any hearing or if more cost effective, we can recommend highly-skilled and reputable Counsel. 

Business reorganisations and redundancies

If you are considering reorganising or restructuring your business, we can assist right from the strategy and planning stage, through to implementation. We can ensure that your business objectives are met with as little legal risk as possible. Whether this is changes to terms and conditions, redundancies or TUPE issues from mergers or acquisitions. 

Discrimination, victimisation and harassment

Since the Equality Act 2010 was introduced and brought together all of the discrimination legislation, claims in this area have been on the increase. Whether founded or not, allegations pertaining of discrimination can bring significant adversity to your business and unwanted media attention. The business risks should not be underestimated. Understanding the sensitive nature of such complaints and the reputational damage they can cause, it is essential they are resolved quickly.  

We will provide timely, clear and commercial advice to help you make a decision that protects the business reputation, goodwill and the rest of your workforce. 

As well as resolving disputes, we can also assist with the provision of training on Equality and Diversity to the managers or wider workforce, support your compliance with gender (and soon to be ethnicity) pay reporting and provide day-to-day advice on matters such as handling flexible working requests.

Senior manager exits and settlement agreements

Agreements for senior appointments and managing exit packages can be difficult to navigate. You want to attract and retain the best talent for your business, as well restricting any senior employee taking the tactic knowledge, IP, business sensitive information or setting up in direct competition when they leave. We can help you in preparing and negotiate complex executive contracts ensuring that any restrictive convent is relevant and structured in a way that is more likely to be held enforceable should the need arise. 

We also understand the sensitive nature and the potential impact executive exits can have on a business. We are able to provide you with clear, quality driven and commercial advice. On executive exit strategies and settlement.

Transfers of undertakings (‘TUPE’)

The provisions of TUPE often raise complex legal issues for businesses and can result in expensive and damaging outcomes if not managed appropriately. We can advise on whether TUPE applies to your purchase, assist and help you manage your transfers effectively and as cost-efficiently as possible.  

We regularly provide advice on TUPE from the corporate due diligence required in the transaction process to the employment aspects of informing and consulting. 

Start ups

If you are a new business venture or business has grown to the point where you are now taking on employees, we can assist you with all aspects of setting up your company. We can ensure:

• Employment contracts are drafted to comply with the legal requirements and to best protect your business

• Detailed and comprehensive employee handbooks to include all key policies and procedures. 

• Ensuring you are GDPR compliant.

• Advising on the right workforce and contracts for your business from employees to agency workers or contractors

• Protecting your business interests and property, from restrictive covenants to protecting your intellectual property.

• Advising or drafting supplier and agent agreements, and assisting in any disputes. 

• Setting up a UK subsidiary company

• The acquisition of property

Commercial Settlements Agreement 

Sometimes it is necessary and cost efficient for a business to seek swift resolution of a dispute. We can assist you for a fixed agreed price with the drafting of settlement agreement. 

If you or your business has a need for expert, objective and commercially-centric Employment Law advice please contact our Employment Law Director, Kimberley Whalen-Blake on 01242 574244.
 

Prices

Employment Tribunals for Employers

To meet budgetary and financial forecasting requirements, we appreciate that cost-efficiency and transparency is very important to our clients. Employment law advice and support is very specific to the facts of each and every matter. It is difficult to give a generic estimate without knowing your particulars circumstances. Please do contact Kimberley Whalen-Blake who will be able to give you a free, no obligation quote tailored to your needs and budget.

A guide for our pricing of defending a more straightforward unfair or wrongful dismissal claims is below.

• Simple case (1 day hearing): £2,000 to £5,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)

• Medium complexity case (2 to 5 days): £5,000 to £20,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)

• High complexity case (5 days plus): £20,000 to £50,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)

Factors that could make a case more complex include:

• Claims that also involve allegations of discrimination or whistleblowing, or automatic unfair dismissal such as a TUPE or health and safety related dismissal. 

• Complex factual background, spanning several years.

• Number of documents or witnesses.

• Making or resisting a costs application.

• Attending to preliminary issues such as jurisdictional issues or time frames.

Disbursements are items such as barrister, expert or witness expenses. 

Key stages

The costs set out above cover all of the work involved in relation to the following key stages of a claim:

• Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on the strength of your case and likely compensation (this will be revisited throughout the matter)

• Entering into pre-claim conciliation, where this is mandatory, to explore whether a settlement can be reached

• Exploring and negotiating potential settlement throughout the process

• Preparing a response to the claim

• Considering a Schedule of Loss and drafting a Counter Schedule of Loss where appropriate

• Exchanging documents with the other side, reviewing documents and creating a bundle for the Tribunal

• Obtaining and drafting witness statements,

• Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements

• Agreeing a list of issues and chronology where necessary

• Dealing with any Telephone Preliminary Hearing

The charges cover each stage, however some of the stages may not be required and the costs would adjust to reflect the changes. Similarly costs could be reduced if you decided to take on some of the preparation yourself, for example obtaining the first drafts of the witness statements yourself.  If you have a specific budget to work with, please do contact us and we can advise you on how to make the budget more cost-effective, ensuring the budget is invested in the more crucial elements. 

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your case that are payable to third parties, such as expert fees, counsel costs or court fees. These are costs in addition to the sums set out above. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

If you decide to instruct a barrister to represent you and present your case at a Tribunal Hearing, it is likely you can expect a fee to range from £750 to £3,000 excluding VAT for a one day case. The cost will significantly vary depending on the level of experience you wish to instruct. If the hearing is more than 1 day, the barrister will charge what is called a refresher fee, these typically range from £250 to £1250 plus vat per additional day. 

Funding

You may have other funding options available, such as cover under an insurance policy and this should be checked by you as it could reduce your costs.

How long will my case take?

The time that it takes from your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which you case is resolved and the timetable determined by the employment tribunal handling your case. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take between 2 to 6 weeks from commencement of the pre-claim conciliation process. However, if your claim proceeds to a final hearing in the employment tribunal, your case is likely to take between 6 to 12 months from the date the claim is issued for a simple claim. The more complex claims could take a couple of years. We will of course advise you more accurately on time frames, having understood the specifics of your case.