Employment

Our Practice

  • “a real niche when it comes to the tricky financial services-specific issues” Chambers UK, 2016

  • “top-quality service and advice” Legal 500 UK, 2015

  • “The go-to because they provide a Rolls-Royce service.” Chambers Europe, 2015

  • “Especially strong in the UK with well-ranked teams in Italy, France, Germany and Spain.” Chambers Europe, 2015

  • “Excellent throughout Asia, with outstand offices in China and Hong Kong” Chambers Global, 2015

  • “Excellent - the quality of work across Europe is outstanding.” Chambers Global, 2014

  • “A very impressive, dedicated team with excellent strength and depth." Chambers Asia, 2014

  • “The pre-eminent adviser for complex, high–risk claims.” Chambers UK, 2014

  • “Second to none in the Greater China region” Legal 500 EMEA, 2014

  • “approachable, decisive and commercial team: highly recommended... on high-end litigation matters and strategic restructuring projects.” Chambers UK, 2013 

  • “home to one of the most long-standing and reputable employment practices in Hong Kong.” Chambers Asia, 2012

  • "This stellar employment team counts some of the world's leading investment banks and hedge funds among its clients" Chambers UK, 2012

  • "totally formidable opponents" Chambers UK, 2012

Our international employment practice operates from the firm’s offices in Amsterdam, Beijing, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo. The practice is a recognised leader in the global market place and advises a broad range of organisations, both in the public and private sectors.

We are one of the few firms who can offer a truly integrated employment practice. We are known for our strength-in-depth and ability to provide clients with a proactive approach to employment law matters. We have an unrivalled client base among institutions and global corporates in the firm’s key sectors - Financial Institutions, Asset Management and Investment Funds, Life Sciences and Telecommunications, Media and Technology - giving us what we believe to be an unparalleled level of experience in domestic and international employment law matters. We advise on all aspects of employment law delivering practical and effective employment solutions focused on the needs of the business.

Core Services

General advice

  • advising on all aspects of employment law. Providing up to the minute thinking on prospective and recent legal changes and how they impact on the working environment and human resources policies, enabling clients to manage their employment law exposure.

Employment documentation

  • drafting all employment documentation protecting the rights of both the employer and employee, including offer letters, employment contracts, handbooks, human resources policies and procedures, restraints, confidentiality clauses, restrictive covenants, IP protection, flexible working issues and bonus scheme/share incentive schemes and ongoing operation and compliance of pension and share incentive schemes.

Executive terminations

  • providing strategic advice and assistance in relation to the terminations of executives and employees.

Litigation

  • providing comprehensive coverage of all aspects of employment related litigation (in jurisdictions where relevant), including discrimination and whistleblowing claims, actions for breach of contract, board room disputes, enforcement of restraints and confidentiality protection, team moves and collective disputes.

Corporate support

  • advising on the employment aspects of corporate acquisitions and disposals.

Special projects

  • supporting clients through the process of restructuring and change management, including the planning and implementation of collective redundancies, changing terms and conditions and negotiation of collective agreements.

Multi-jurisdictional

  • co-ordinating the standardisation and harmonisation of employment documentation and working practices, global reorganisations, redundancy exercises and terminations
  • advising on the creation and operation of and negotiation with employee representative bodies
  • advising on the international mobility of workforces, including secondments, the interplay of legal rights from different jurisdictions, and the potential extraterritorial application of various employment laws.

Union work

  • advising in relation to applications for recognition, on-going relationships with unions including pay round and industrial action and negotiation of changes to terms with unions in the context of a transaction
    Management of ongoing internal process
  • we regularly assist our clients on responses to disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Data protection

  • advising on compliance with data protection legislation and data protection issues (including subject access requests, monitoring of e-mails and internet usage).

Outsourcings

  • advising on all of the practical as well as legal issues.

Experience

For reasons of confidentiality we are not able to name the majority of our clients. Examples of recent projects include:

Global ratings agency

  • advising on multiple multi-jurisdictional projects such as senior management contracts, bonus arrangements, social media, investigations, employee severance, compliance and conduct policies.

International investment banks 

  • providing cutting edge advice on strategic remuneration regulation (it being suggested that we occupy a "unique space", being employment lawyers who can understand issues in the FI / AM market)
  • advising on cross border alignment of remuneration structures to conform with changing regulatory requirements in the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific including the introduction of "clawback" arrangements
  • advising a top 10 investment bank on, and settling, a whistleblowing claim where the claimant was claiming £40m by way of compensation
  • advising a European Investment Bank on a highly sensitive and high profile multi-million £ race discrimination claim
  • defending a major global bank on a $14.5m claim involving both contractual and statutory claims.

Hedge funds and asset managers

  • advising one of the largest hedge funds on major contract and partnership disputes involving multi-million £ claims
  • advising a leading European asset manager on the restructuring of their European branches
  • successfully defending a leading hedge fund in a 10-day High Court trial in respect of a wrongful removal claim and successfully defending an appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Energy and infrastructure

  • advising a leading international energy group on the closure and liquidation of the German subsidiary and a leading worldwide petrochemicals company in relation to pan-European restructuring
  • advising an energy company on an internal investigation regarding the involvement of senior management in the establishment of illegal slush funds
  • advising a major infrastructure client on a case testing the scope of the provisions of the anti-union legislation relating to inducements to give up collective bargaining.

Telecommunications, media and technology

  • advising a major media organisation on a multi-jurisdictional review of standards of business conduct and conflicts of interest
  • advising an international technology supplier on several pan-European non contentious matters.

Life sciences

  • advising on the European employment aspects of the disposal of a global ophthalmic systems business, including coordinating international advice on the documentation and information and consultation obligations
  • drafting and advising on English and Chinese language documentation, drafting inventions, confidentiality agreements and CDAs. Assisting with the development of a strategy in relation to compensation for employee and student inventors and advising on a variety of other employment related issues for a global pharmaceutical company.

Online Services

Employment law reform in the UK - get ahead of the curve

To help you stay ahead, this microsite brings together the key developments of employment law.

Anne Sammon's Blog 

 Anne Sammon on parent's rights in the workplace.

Dawn_raids

International Employment Issues

IEI provides summaries of key employment law topics, from discrimination and harassment to transfers of business, across a range of jurisdictions. 

elexica Class Action

Senior managers regime for banks

A practical guide for HR to the new senior managers regime which came into force in the UK on 07 March 2016.

Whistleblowing

This microsite contains tools to help organisations deal with the increasing pressure in relation to whistleblowing.

Pricing

Cost estimate

The costs in defending a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal may range from in the region of £40,000 for a simple case to (potentially significantly) over £100,000 for a complex case including cases involving claims of automatic unfair dismissal, such as whistleblowing (excluding VAT and disbursements). This estimate is based on unfair or wrongful dismissal cases and does not account for cases where other claims are made. For example, it is very common for an unfair or wrongful dismissal claim to be brought in the context of other claims, such as discrimination, which may have a significant impact on cost. Costs will also vary significantly depending on complexity and the circumstances of each case.

Factors that could make a case more complex include:

  • if the claim is brought in the context of other claims, such as discrimination, harassment or whistleblowing
  • claims involving multiple respondents
  • parallel internal procedures (such as grievances or Data Subject Access Requests) and/or parallel regulatory complexities and/or investigation issues and/or parallel proceedings
  • complex preliminary issues to be determined, such as the employment status of the Claimant (if disputed), including where additional Preliminary Hearings are required
  • if it is necessary to make applications to amend claims or to provide further information about a claim, and/or to submit an amended ET3 response 
  • a high number of relevant documents to be disclosed, or if electronic disclosure is required, or if there are significant disputes or preliminary issues around disclosure
  • the number of witnesses and witness statements, and the approach to taking witness statements and familiarising witnesses with tribunal process
  • if expert evidence is required
  • the length of the hearing
  • defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • if it is necessary to enter into correspondence relating to the conduct of the Claimant in the proceedings, such as cost warning letters
  • making or defending a costs application.

The basis of our charges

Our fees are based principally on the time we spend on the matter. We charge by the hour based on agreed hourly rates. Our hourly rates range from £100 to £765 (excluding VAT and disbursements) depending on level of experience and location. Our charge out rates are reviewed annually.

From time to time, we offer alternative fee arrangements to our clients on a case by case basis.

Our team

Each case will have a dedicated core team who will be responsible for handling the case. Those members will be selected based on their level of experience, expertise and availability.

For further details regarding the experience and qualifications of our UK Employment team, please see People (search: Employment / United Kingdom).

Disbursements

We also charge for direct expenses (such as photocopying, faxes, courier and travel) and disbursements (plus VAT). Disbursements are costs related to the case that are payable to third parties, such as Counsel’s fees. We usually process the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Counsel’s fees will vary significantly depending on level of experience, chambers, the complexity of the matter and the length of the hearing. Examples of recent Counsel’s estimates for an unfair dismissal hearing (including preparation) range from £1,250 at a junior level to £20,000 (or even more) at senior level (excluding VAT) but as noted above this can vary widely from matter to matter. We would discuss with you estimates in your case.

Key stages

The costs estimated above are intended to cover work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:

  • taking initial instructions, reviewing the papers and initial merits assessment
  • entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached
  • preparing a response (ET3 and Grounds of Resistance)
  • detailed merits assessment
  • exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  • requesting further and better particulars of claim and/or responding to request for further and better particulars
  • preparing or considering a schedule of loss
  • preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
  • exchanging documents by way of disclosure and agreeing a bundle of documents
  • taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
  • preparing bundle of documents
  • reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements
  • agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
  • preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel

The stages set out above are an indication of process where the claim is simple and straightforward. If additional stages are required and/or in the case of complex factors listed above, fees may increase, and if some of the stages are not required, fees may decrease.

How long will it take?

The time that it takes from taking initial instructions to the final resolution of the matter depends largely on the stage at which the case is resolved.

If a settlement is reached during pre-claim ACAS Early Conciliation, for example, the case is likely to take between 4 to 6 weeks.

If the claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, the timeframe will largely depend upon the capacity and listing period of the Tribunal (eg when the Tribunal is able to list the Preliminary Hearing(s) and Final Hearing) and the directions ordered for case management (such as when documents should be disclosed and witness statements exchanged, and the duration of the hearing).

In our experience, it can take between 6 to 18 months for a claim to proceed to Final Hearing, but in some cases may take longer. We will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information on the case in question and as the matter progresses.