Employment Law Services
Our experienced employment lawyers can guide your employees through the maze of statutory and case law to skilfully support them with achieving your clients’ business objectives while managing risks in a way that suits them.
Our full employment service includes:
- Atypical workers
Self-employed contractors, fixed-term employees and agency temps form a significant and growing part of the HR mix in many businesses. Tailored working arrangements including part-time, flexi-time, compressed work week and job-sharing arrangements combined with full or part-time home-working are only set to proliferate.
Where flexibility for the employer is the driver, we ensure that the terms of engagement satisfy this requirement while fully complying with the law. Where atypical arrangements are driven by employee demands, we can advise on the relevant statutory procedures seeking a “win-win” solution wherever possible.
We have extensive experience, particularly, in the area of temporary agency workers, both from the perspective of the employment agency/employment business and the end user. With further rights granted to agency workers under the Agency Worker Regulations 2010, we are well-placed to help both employment agencies and end user organisations understand the implications and where necessary adjust their business models.
- Boardroom disputes
When relationships break down at the most senior levels of an organisation, we support professional services firms with minimise disruption to their clients’ businesses and achieve speedy resolutions.
We can: help you with exit package negotiations; advise on rights and termination under incentive arrangements; structure and advise on the tax-effective treatment of termination payment arrangements; as well as draft any necessary board or shareholder resolutions, settlement agreements and associated documentation.
- Business sales/transfers
Smooth handling of HR issues in the period leading up to and immediately after a sale or transfer can significantly impact the success of a deal. We advise on the entire process from employee due diligence and negotiation of warranties and indemnities, through to employee consultation under TUPE or, where applicable, individual or collective redundancy consultation.
Some sales or transfers will result in business reorganisations, including relocations, changes to terms and conditions or downsizing. We help professional services firms plan and implement processes that will minimise disruption and the risk of claims for their clients. We advise on individual and collective communication and consultation, ETO reasons for terminations in TUPE scenarios, redundancy selection processes, the management of grievances and appeals, redundancy compensation packages and compromise agreements. See also our complementary Managing Change services.
For transactions with a cross-border elements, Abbiss Cadres has working relationships with trusted employment lawyers around the world through our correspondent firms. We also have considerable experience in managing the process of obtaining and integrating advice from multiple jurisdictions to develop a clear timeline for the requirements of consultation and the implementation of transaction-related HR strategy.
- Collective consultation
Courts and tribunals have adopted a more stringent view of the employer’s obligations on collective consultation, particularly in relation to collective redundancy. The level of awards for non-compliance is also increasing and, when large numbers of employees are involved, errors in procedure can be very costly.
We deliver practical advice on managing collective consultation processes in the event of a TUPE transfer as well as redundancy (or where the two processes apply simultaneously). This includes organising elections for employee representatives, dealing with recognised trade unions and employee works councils, managing the consultation process as well as maintaining direct communication channels with the workforce.
Where there is a cross-border element to the consultation, we have well-established relationships with local employment law experts around the world through our correspondent firms and experience in integrating local advice to produce a single coherent consultation plan. Please also see European Works Councils.
For clients seeking to establish UK works councils or employee forums, we can expand your offering to include support with establishing appropriate terms of reference, determining the appropriate number of employee representatives and drafting constitutional documents.
- Contracts and procedures
Constant updates in the law and HR best practice demand regular reviews of employment contracts, service agreements, policies and procedures. Whether your client is starting from scratch in the UK or simply refreshing their existing documentation, we can develop documentation that reflects their business culture as well as current best practice. If you want us to, we will then keep you abreast of further developments and how they may impact your client’ standard documents and procedures.
For companies investing in the UK for the first time, getting to grips with mandatory employment law and also common and best practice can be daunting. As well as drafting first contracts, adapting the parent company’s for local use if required, we can provide guidance to you or your clients on local practice and a sense check on the terms new hires are representing as best practice.
- Day to day
The HR problems and issues that may come up in your clients’ day to day operations are as varied as the people who make up the workforce. We pride ourselves on giving speedy, practical advice to keep things running smoothly and minimise the risks of an unacceptable outcome where a disagreement is unavoidable.
A representative sample of the issues that we most commonly support with are:
- Disciplinary investigations and hearings
- Investigation of grievances
- Dealing with requests for flexible working
- Maternity rights
- Absence management and management of employees on long term sick leave
- Reasonable adjustments for disabled employees
- Accommodation of religious beliefs
How potentially contentious issues are handled in the early stages can create the space for your clients to avoid litigation altogether or, if litigation is inevitable, dramatically increase the chances of success. Our years of experience in managing employment related disputes enable us to put appropriate risk management strategies in place early in the process and work where possible to avoid serious conflict in the employer/employee relationship.
When disputes arise negotiating skills are key to achieving outcomes which exceed the relative bargaining positions of the parties. Largely, those skills are learnt from experience honing otherwise sound judgement. All our employment lawyers have that experience with years under their belts at the legal coalface settling high value disputes.
When litigation is necessary, we work to build a strong case and achieve the best possible outcomes in line with your clients’ commercial objectives, whilst proactively managing costs.
We are experienced in managing the full range of employment claims, including unfair and constructive dismissal, wrongful dismissal, bonus and commission claims, equal pay and discrimination claims of all types.
- European Works Councils
Abbiss Cadres has considerable experience advising and consulting on the establishment and operation of European Works Councils and related transnational information and consultation obligations.
We are able to help your clients by providing expert assistance the whole way through the EWC establishment process from receipt of employee requests to the negotiation of an appropriate EWC Agreement with the special negotiating body.
Our advice takes into account the lessons learnt from providing day to day advice on information and consultation issues as they arise, often in difficult circumstances. Whether on major transnational merger and acquisitions; significant transnational headcount reductions or the adaptation of an EWC where there is significant structural change within the transnational undertaking, we have the experience to help your clients through a potentially difficult process.
We have for example, advised on the specific issue of adaptation in circumstances where a Group with an existing EWC is acquired by another helping agree revised adaptation provisions to adequately represent the interests of employees at a time of major transnational change.
Working with our International colleagues across the European Economic Area we help your clients understand the key connected national labour law issues whether it be local election processes, or ensuring timely and appropriate coordination of the transnational and national information and consultation processes.
- Senior Executives
We can expand your service to include offering senior executives and directors (including non-executives) expert advice from experienced lawyers.
Whether your client is starting a new role or experiencing problems in their current position, the knowledge that they have expert legal advisers who can deal with any aspect of their employment relationship can be invaluable.
If your client is considering a new offer, we can help them negotiate the terms of their employment and the incentives and benefits package that goes with it to make sure their are paid commensurate with the market and in a tax effective way. We also regularly give guidance on the enforceability of restrictive covenants imposed by previous employers and how best to handle any possible sensitivities.
We can also advise those whose role involves corporate responsibilities in relation to their obligations and duties and the protections available.
If your client experiences difficulties in their employment relationship we can advise on their alternative courses of action taking into account their bargaining position, the impact on bonuses and incentives yet to be received and, of course, contractual and statutory rights. Together we can devise a strategy to obtain the best possible outcome for your clients in any given circumstances and we have the skills to negotiate and structure any settlement to maximise the amount actually delivered to them net of any taxes.
- Trade protection
Employees build up valuable knowledge and client connection which can seriously damage a business if taken to a competitor. The key to protecting this value for the employer is not only a detailed knowledge of the law but also a clear understanding of the business being protected.
Our experienced lawyers can work with your clients to specify the critical relationships and know-how and the measures required to protect them, then draft customised contractual protections for confidential information and effective post-termination restrictions.
When new hires make disclosure of their previous employer’s restrictive covenants, we advise on their enforceability and what activities may be undertaken without risking a claim for breach. If a dispute arises, whether your clients are seeking an injunction to enforce restrictions or defending a claim that their employee has broken contractual obligations, we offer fast, commercial advice on resolution.