Imagine that you have a senior employee who you have decided (for whatever reason) that you do not want anymore but you do not want to pay out his 12-month notice period. As an ingenious attempt to get around that, you instruct forensic investigators to carry out a ‘fishing expedition’ to try and find some dirt on him that will justify you summarily dismissing him, rather than paying out what he is owed under his contract. Imagine that your luck is in and you do indeed find some dirt but that the dirt you find is five year old dirt. Would you think that the High Court is going to accept this approach and agree that you don’t have to pay the notice period?
Nicola Whiteley, a partner in London, is a valued member of the Employment Group with more 17 years experience and is head of the London Employment Team. Nicola was recognised in Legal 500 in 2011 with clients praising her as a "great communicator". In 2013, Legal 500 again recognised Nicola describing her as "exceptionally capable" and awarding "the exceptional department" a Tier 8 ranking. Nicola's team was also listed in the 2013 edition of The International Who's Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers.
Nicola specialises in all aspects of employment law, both contentious and non-contentious, including "surgery-style" counselling, tribunal, employment appeal tribunal and High Court cases and the employment aspects of corporate and real estate transactions, including:
- Drafting and advising on employment, secondment, settlement and consultancy documentation, policies and procedures, and staff handbooks.
- Drafting, advising on, and enforcing confidentiality obligations and other restrictive covenants, including cross-border jurisdiction issues.
- Advising on the prevention of and defending wrongful and unfair dismissal and breach of contract claims, bonus, bonus disputes and share options.
- Advising on the application and implications of TUPE (The Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 in relation to the acquisition or disposal of a business, part of a business, transfer of a lease, contract tenders and outsourcing exercises, including harmonisation of terms and conditions, relocation, redundancies and unfair dismissal claims arising from the TUPE transfer.
- Advising on and executing executive and general recruitment, remuneration and termination.
- Advising on whistle-blowing procedures and defending claims.
- Advising on the prevention of and defending claims under discrimination and equal pay legislation and advising on maternity and other parental and family friendly rights.
- Advising on European and National works councils and other consultation issues.
- Advising on, coordinating and defending claims arising from local and transnational restructuring exercises and redundancies (collective and individual), plant closures and relocations.
- Advising on data privacy and protection requirements and issues.
- Advising on trade secrets and restrictive covenant protection and team moves.
- Advising on disciplinary and grievance procedures and performance or absence management.
Nicola regularly publishes newsletters, presents seminars and provides tailored training sessions on a range of employment-related topics, a few of which include TUPE, contracts, unfair dismissal, working time, enforcement of cross-border restrictive covenants and trade secrets, financial services renumeration practices, employment status, team moves, mock tribunals, redundancy practice and procedures, works councils and other consultation issues, discrimination and data protection.
According to research cited by the British Association of Dermatologists, one in five Britons now has a tattoo. Amongst US 30 somethings, the estimate rises to about two in five, with facial piercings being almost as common in both countries. As a result, this is becoming an issue that more and more employers have to grapple with.
Employers may wish to promote a certain image through their employees which they believe reflects the ethos of their organization and tattoos and piercings may well not fit with that image. So how should this be handled and are there any pitfalls of imposing rules of this nature on employees?
In July last year, fees were introduced for employees to bring claims and the Ministry of Justice has just published Tribunal statistics for October to December 2013 (the first full quarter since the introduction of the fees) which show that in that time, employment tribunals received 79% fewer claims than the same quarter in 2012 and 75% fewer than in the previous quarter. Read More
July 29, 2013 was a big day for employment law in the UK.
Firstly compromise agreements were renamed ‘settlement agreements’. This is largely a rebranding exercise but one that is welcome as we now have a title which more accurately describes what the agreement is designed to achieve.
On this same date, changes around ‘pre-termination discussions’ came into effect. These changes are contained in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act and talk about ‘confidentiality of negotiations before termination of employment’. The theory behind this new law is that employers should be able to discuss with their employees the option of the employee leaving with a settlement agreement without the risk that that discussion itself will be used against them in a future claim. Read More
TODAY is a big day for employment law. Even though many of you will be thinking about your holidays, or may have even jetted off to sunny shores, take care to remember that certain changes are taking place which will affect your standard document and how you handle any exiting employees. Read more.
A recent case in the UK Employment Appeals Tribunal Woodhouse v. West North West Homes Leeds Limited UK EAT/0007(12) has looked at whether it is possible to fairly dismiss an employee who has raised repeated grievances, on the basis that the relationship with the employer has irretrievably broken down. Read More
After twice rejecting the Government’s proposals, the House of Lords has just finally voted to accept the much argued Clause 27 of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, thereby paving the way for new legislation that will create a third type of UK employment status—Employee Shareholder. Read More
In the recent case of Onyango v. Berkeley Solicitors, the UK Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that an employee was allowed to bring a ‘whistleblowing’ claim relating to a protected disclosure that was made after the termination of his employment.
Under UK law, workers are protected from receiving detrimental treatment as a result of raising a concern about certain types of wrongdoing occurring in the workplace. In Onyango, the Claimant (Mr. Onyango) brought a claim in the Employment Tribunal alleging that as a result of making a protected disclosure, he was accused of forgery and dishonesty which ultimately led to him being investigated by the regulatory body for solicitors in the UK, the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. The Employment Tribunal held that it did not have jurisdiction to hear Mr. Onyango’s claim because he had made the protected disclosure after the termination of his employment and that it could only hear the case where such disclosure was made during the course of his employment. Mr Onyango appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Read More
In the recent case of Geys v. Société Générale, Mr. Geys, who was employed as managing director was given a letter in November 2007 by Société Générale stating: “I am writing to notify you that Société Générale, London has decided to terminate your employment with immediate effect”. Mr. Geys was then escorted from the building and never returned to it. Despite this, the Supreme Court has ruled that his contract of employment was not terminated. Read More
In the recent UK case of Smith v. Trafford, the Claimant was awarded just £98 (approx. $150) by the English High Court for a successful breach of contract claim against his housing trust employer (the “Trust”). The Claimant, Mr. Smith, had posted two comments on his Facebook wall expressing his views on gay marriage. One comment stated “equality too far” and the other comment elaborated on his reasons for opposing gay marriage. In the Trust’s view, Mr. Smith’s comments amounted to a serious breach of its Code of Conduct and Equal Opportunities Policy. He had a significant number of colleagues as his Facebook friends and the Trust was concerned that his personal views would be interpreted as its own. Consequently, the Trust found Mr. Smith guilty of gross misconduct but rather than dismissing him, demoted Mr. Smith to a non-managerial position with a resulting 40 percent reduction in his pay. Read More