Employment

Introduction

Specialist employment lawyers Charles Worthington and Julia Cooper lead the Employment Team at Lansbury Worthington.
Our Employment Team acts for both employers and employees and can assist you with any area of employment law, including:
·         Unfair dismissal
·         Redundancy
·         Negotiation of severance packages
·         Settlement agreements
·         Discrimination and equal pay
·         Maternity and other family friendly rights
·         Contractual disputes
·         Disciplinary matters
·         Contract and other types of drafting
 
We offer practical solutions in plain English to complex employment problems.
 

For Employees

If you are involved in a dispute with your employer and are not sure of your rights, call us on 020 8563 9797 or e-mail us at info@lansbury-worthington.co.uk.
 

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Redundancy

If your employer has dismissed you by reason of redundancy, it will need to show there was a genuine redundancy situation, either because there is a closure of the business or workplace, or a diminishing need for you to do available work. An employer must also follow the correct procedures for making redundancies. If a genuine redundancy situation can be shown, you may be entitled to a statutory or contractual redundancy payment.
 
Negotiation of Severance Packages
Your employer may offer you a severance package.
We can help negotiate these for you.
 
Settlement Agreements
A settlement agreement is a legally binding contract made between you and your employer, which provides for a severance payment to be made to you in return for giving up your right to make a claim against your employer in a Court or Employment Tribunal.
It is important that you understand what you are agreeing to before you sign a compromise agreement, because of its legally binding nature.
We can advise on the terms and effect of a compromise agreement and negotiate the terms on your behalf.
Employers usually pay the legal fees for this service.
 
Discrimination
Discrimination can occur if you have been treated unfairly because of your disability, age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief, maternity, trade union membership or hours worked. 
If you believe you have been discriminated against, or have an equal pay claim, we can provide you with advice and representation in your dispute.
 
Maternity and other Family Friendly Rights
Pregnant women have special rights that are afforded to them. In particular, they have the right to time-off and not to be dismissed in connection with taking maternity leave. Certain employees may be entitled to parental leave, or to time-off to care for a dependant.
We can advise you on your rights in relation to maternity and parental leave, and with regard to time-off to care for a dependant, as well as any entitlement you may have in relation to pay.
 
Contractual Disputes
There are different situations where there may be a breach of your contract of employment.
An example is where you may have been dismissed and not given your contractual notice period, or where you have a fixed-term contract and your employer has terminated the contract before its expiry date. 
If you believe there has been a breach of your contract, we can advise you on any potential claim you may have.
 
Disciplinary and Grievance Matters
If you are involved in a dispute with your employer, we can advise you on the disciplinary and grievance procedures you may face, and how to respond to these.

 

For Employers

We advise and represent employers in all types of contentious and non-contentious employment matters, from complex discrimination claims to the drafting of employment contracts.

 
Unfair dismissal
As an employer, you must be able to show that you had a good reason to dismiss. There are six potentially fair reasons to dismiss. These reasons include: for conduct, capability (qualifications/ill health), redundancy, retirement, statutory illegality, or some other substantial reason.
You will also have to show you acted fairly. For example, in the way you handled the dismissal.
We can provide advice and representation in the event an employee has issued an Employment Tribunal claim against you for unfair dismissal.
 
Redundancy
In carrying out a fair redundancy dismissal an employer must act reasonably and warn and consult employees affected or their representatives, use a fair basis on which to select for redundancy – i.e. by using objective criteria and applying those criteria fairly – and take such steps as may be reasonable to avoid or minimise redundancy by redeployment within its organisation. 
If you are contemplating making redundancies, we can advise you through this process.
 
Negotiation of Severance Packages, and Drafting of Settlement Agreements
A settlement agreement is a legally binding contract made between you and your employee, which provides for a severance payment to be made to the employee in return for the employee giving up his or her right to make a claim against you in a Court or Employment Tribunal.
It is important that this agreement is drafted correctly.
We advise upon the negotiating of severance packages, and upon the wording of Settlement Agreements.
 
Discrimination
Discrimination can occur if an employer treats an employee unfairly because of his/her disability, age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief, maternity, trade union membership or hours worked.
We can provide advice and representation in the event an employee has issued an Employment Tribunal claim against in a claim for discrimination or for equal pay.
 
Maternity and other Family Friendly Rights
Pregnant women have special rights that are afforded to them. In particular, they have the right to time-off and not to be dismissed in connection with taking maternity leave. Certain employees may be entitled to parental leave, or to time-off to care for a dependant.
We can advise you on employees’ rights in relation to maternity and parental leave, and with regard to time-off to care for a dependant, as well as any entitlement they may have in relation to pay.
We also assist in drafting employers’ policies in relation to this area.
 
Contractual Disputes
If an employer has arguably failed to abide by the terms of an employment contract (eg, an unlawful deduction of wages dispute that is outside the time limit for an Employment Tribunal claim), an employee may bring a claim in the Court for breach of contract.
We advise and represent employers in all types of breach of contract disputes.
 
Disciplinary Matters
If you are involved in a dispute with an employee, we can advise and guide you through disciplinary and grievance procedures.
 
Contract and other types of drafting
We have experience in drafting different types of contracts, and in particular contracts of employment. We are able to tailor a contract to whatever specific needs you may have. 
We also draft company handbooks, company policies (eg, IT, data protection, and privacy policies), and all types of legally-based literature used by employers.
   

Funding 

Pursuing a claim at law can be an expensive process. Accordingly we will provide you with detailed information about our costs and the way in which they are calculated.

Obviously, our first concern will be to establish whether there are sufficient grounds to justify bringing a claim on your behalf. The next step is to consider what is the most suitable method of funding the claim.
Lansbury Worthington currently offers the following alternative ways of funding your claim:
 
Damages Based Agreements
This the most common way of funding an employment claim. Under a damages based agreement, Lansbury Worthington will not charge you for its services if you do not win your case. This is similar to “no win–no fee” scheme.
 
The traditional private client retainer
Under this type of agreement you agree to pay Lansbury Worthington for its professional services for the time spent on your case at an agreed hourly rate.
Traditionally the hourly rate has two components: the hourly expense rate (which represents this firm’s overheads), and the uplift, (which represents the profit element of our fees), which is based upon a percentage of the hourly expense rate.
Lansbury Worthington’s current hourly charging rates are calculated to include both the expense rate and the uplift, in order to simplify the process. The charging rate varies depending upon the seniority and experience of the lawyer handling your claim.
In this type of funding the client is responsible for paying our costs even if the case is lost, although it may still be possible to obtain insurance to pay the other side’s costs in that event.
 
Legal aid
This is no longer generally available for employment claims.
 
Legal expenses insurance cover
This is becoming an increasingly popular means of providing for legal costs. Many clients are unaware that they have the benefit of legal expenses insurance. It is important that you should check whether you already have legal expenses insurance cover; either provided by a dedicated policy or legal expenses cover incorporated in one or more other insurance policies, for example: household or home and contents insurance, motor insurance, even some credit cards provide some legal expenses
Lansbury Worthington acts for a number of clients who are funded by legal expenses insurance. If you have legal expenses insurance you have a right to the solicitor of your choice once proceedings have commenced and many Insurance Companies are now prepared to allow you to choose your solicitor in any event.
 
Trade union funding
Some clients have the benefit of free advice and representation funded by their Trade Union. Trade Unions, like many legal expenses insurers tend limit the number of solicitors authorised to act on their members’ behalf to a limited panel of approved solicitors.
 
 
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Charles Worthington
Director, VHCC & Civil Dept Supervisor
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