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Employment Law Solicitors for Employers

Employment law can be challenging for employers, with rapidly changing legislation and complex rules and procedures to follow. Having an expert legal team on your side is essential if you want to keep your business running smoothly and reduce the risk of disputes.

At Thornton Jones, our employment team provide employment law advice and representation for small and medium-sized businesses across a wide range of sectors. We can work with you to put a sound legal framework in place to manage your employees in keeping with your approach, from light touch documentation to all-inclusive, robust employment contracts, employee handbooks and disciplinary procedures.

Our business employment solicitors advise employers on all aspects of employment law, from taking on staff to termination and dispute resolution, and whether they are employees, workers or self-employed contractors.

Consultant solicitor Marie Horner has an exceptional level of experience in representing employers. She is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association and the Industrial Law Society as well as an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development with an Advanced Level Certificate in HR Management. She is a regular speaker at employment events and conferences and an experienced in-house trainer for management workshops.

Speak to our UK employment law solicitors in Garforth, Mapplewell, Ossett, Sherburn in Elmet and Wakefield today

For advice on employment law for employers in Yorkshire, please contact our local offices in Garforth, Mapplewell, Ossett, Sherburn in Elmet or Wakefield.

Have a quick question or want to request a call back? Use our online enquiry form.

Our expertise with employment law for employers

We offer a full range of UK employment law services, including:

  • Recruitment processes
  • Settlement agreements
  • Disciplinary processes
  • Discrimination
  • Employment law issues in a business restructure
  • TUPE obligations
  • Redundancy
  • Executive & director terminations
  • Data protection
  • Defending employment tribunal claims
  • Whistleblowing
  • Performance management
  • Handling absenteeism

Settlement agreements

If you wish to offer a settlement agreement to an employee, we can draft the document, ensuring that you are protected as far as possible from future claims.

Having the right terms and conditions in place will also offer protection in respect of other issues, for example, confidentiality clauses will prevent your employee from speaking about your business and the terms of the agreement, while non-derogatory clauses will stop them from making negative statements, and restrictive covenants could prevent them from poaching your staff or your customers.

Where necessary, we can negotiate on your behalf to secure an agreement that is in your best interests.

Disciplinary processes

We can work with you to create a disciplinary procedure for your business that complies with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s (Acas) Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Failure to follow the correct process can result in an increase in compensation if your employee should bring a successful claim against you. For this reason, it is important to understand the procedure to be followed and to ensure that you are acting within your rights. We provide guidance and representation in dealing with disciplinary issues and advice on compliance with the Code of Practice and the risks of non-compliance.

Discrimination

We can provide guidance on avoiding discrimination, for example, during hiring and redundancy processes, as well as representation if you are facing a discrimination claim.

Understanding discrimination and ensuring you do not fall foul of the law is not always straightforward. We can help with issues including:

  • Allegations of direct discrimination, where someone is treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic, namely on the basis of:
    • Age
    • Disability
    • Gender reassignment
    • Marriage or civil partnership
    • Pregnancy or maternity
    • Race
    • Religion or belief
    • Sex
    • Sexual orientation
  • Allegations of indirect discrimination, for example, imposing a policy which disadvantages those with a protected characteristic, and which cannot be justified
  • Allegations of harassment of someone because they have a protected characteristic
  • Allegations of victimisation of someone because they have complained about discrimination, either on their own behalf or because they have supported someone else in a complaint

Advice on employment law in business restructuring

If you are considering restructuring your business, we can provide guidance on the employment law implications. By taking legal advice at the start of the process, you can ensure that employee rights are observed and reduce the risk of both misunderstandings and claims.

Explaining the process clearly to employees will help them adapt to the new situation. We can discuss the information that needs to be made available to employees and how uncertainty can be reduced while still giving you the control you need.

We advise on all employment issues related to business restructuring, including:

  • TUPE regulations
  • Changing employment contracts
  • Managing the redundancy process
  • Dealing with grievances

TUPE obligations

If all or part of your business is changing hands, understanding your obligations under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) is crucial. The regulations set out how both the outgoing and incoming business owners need to protect employee rights during the change of ownership.

We can advise you as to whether TUPE will apply and if it does, the steps that need to be taken to comply and the risks of non-compliance. This includes the correct process of advising the employees or their representative and consulting on any proposed changes, ensuring sufficient time is allowed for consideration of the changes.

If you are buying a business, we can advise you on the liabilities you will be taking on, which will include all of the rights, powers, duties and liabilities in respect of the existing employees and their employment contracts. This means that you will take on the potential to have claims made against you by existing employees for issues such as unpaid holiday pay, unfair dismissal, unpaid wages, failure to comply with auto-enrolment, discrimination and redundancy.

We can carry out due diligence work on your behalf, going through the employment records, contracts and other information in respect of employees you will be taking on, and asking the right questions on your behalf to identify any potential issues.

Redundancy

The redundancy process is strict and it is crucial to ensure every step is fairly conducted to avoid the risk of a claim for unfair dismissal or discrimination. This includes going through the following steps:

  • Examining whether there are any alternatives to redundancy
  • Deciding whether you wish to offer voluntary redundancy
  • Making a redundancy plan
  • Advising employees or their representatives of the situation
  • Consulting with those at risk of redundancy – this will be a collective consultation if you need to make 20 or more redundancies
  • Identify the roles that you no longer need
  • Establishing selection criteria for identifying who will be made redundant
  • Putting together one or more selection pools of candidates for redundancy
  • Applying the criteria to establish who will be made redundant
  • Advising staff of the outcomes
  • Calculating redundancy and other pay
  • Giving notice of redundancy, to include results of the selection, leaving date, how much pay they will receive and how they can appeal
  • Dealing with appeals where necessary

We can work with you throughout the redundancy process to ensure that it is fair, transparent and that the correct procedure is followed throughout.

Executive terminations

If you need to end an executive’s contract, it is important to handle the matter correctly, particularly if they are also a statutory director. We can advise you on getting the right initial contract in place from the outset to ensure that an executive termination exposes you to minimal liability and gives you a robust process to follow in the event that you need them to leave.

We can provide guidance on terminating an executive and requiring them to leave without serving out their notice period along with related issues such as payment in lieu of notice (PILON), garden leave and removal from office as a director.

Data protection

Employees have a range of rights in respect of their personal data. We can provide guidance to ensure that your systems are compliant and that your employees are provided with the information they have a right to receive at the start of their employment and at any other time through a data subject access request.

Defending employment tribunal claims

We provide robust representation in the event that you are taken to an employment tribunal, including in respect of:

  • Discrimination claims
  • Unfair dismissal claims
  • Wrongful dismissal claims
  • Equal pay claims

We can also work on your behalf prior to a tribunal hearing to try to resolve matters out of court. We are often able to deal with matters in this way, which is generally a faster and more cost-effective method of resolving claims.

If the case does proceed to a tribunal, we will ensure that you present your strongest possible case and have representation by an expert employment advocate.

Whistleblowing

If an employee has made a disclosure about your business that is in the public interest, they have the right to certain protections. This includes disclosures relating to:

  • Criminal offences
  • Breach of the law
  • Miscarriages of justice
  • Breach of health and safety legislation
  • Environmental damage
  • Covering up wrongdoing

Whistleblowers are protected from:

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Detrimental treatment, such as bullying, harassment or a reduction in their hours

We can advise you on how to treat whistleblowers to ensure that you do not breach their rights and represent you in the event that you have had a claim made against you.

Performance management

If you feel that an employee’s performance is not adequate, you will want to address this. We can advise you of your options, help you to identify possibly underlying causes and ensure that the process is dealt with in a fair and reasonable way, hopefully to secure an improvement in their performance or by ending their employment with the minimum risk to you of an unfair dismissal claim.

We will discuss with you potentially fair reasons for dismissal, including poor performance, scenarios where a dismissal for poor performance may be unfair, and ensure that you have the necessary evidence to support a dismissal.

Handling absenteeism

We can ensure that you have a sound absence policy in place and advise you on the best way to handle problem absenteeism, including persistent lateness, frequent or long-term sickness absence, and absence without explanation or otherwise in breach of your policies.

We can advise you of employees’ rights in respect of justified absences, for example, for bereavement or relating to needs of dependants, as well as how to deal with employee discussions regarding absence and whether you need to make reasonable adjustments.

If you need to take disciplinary action or consider dismissal, we can advise you of the process to be followed and represent you throughout, ensuring that the right notifications and timescales are used.

For more information about our services for individuals, see our employment law for employees page.

Our employment law fees

Our fees are competitive and we will always make sure that you have a clear estimate of the likely costs from the start.

Our employment law firm hourly rates

Our employment law solicitors charge between £190 and £250 per hour, plus VAT, depending on the level of complexity of the work. We will make sure that you have a lawyer with the right level of expertise for your needs.

Our legal assistants’ fees are between £100 and £145 per hour plus VAT, while the charge for our trainee solicitors and paralegals is between £150 and £190 per hour plus VAT.

We bill in regular instalments and, if necessary, we can discuss putting a monthly payment plan in place. Interest is charged on outstanding balances at the rate of 8%.

All fees are subject to VAT.

For more information, see our fees and funding page.

Speak to our employment law solicitors in Garforth, Mapplewell, Ossett, Sherburn in Elmet and Wakefield today

For advice on employment law in Yorkshire, please contact one of our solicitors for employment law at our local offices in Garforth, Mapplewell, Ossett, Sherburn in Elmet or Wakefield.

Have a quick question or want to request a call back? Use our online enquiry form.