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Paul Grindley

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Paul Grindley is our business employment law expert

Clear, helpful and really good to work with. Prompt responses at all times.

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Business employment law

Employment Law and its impact upon businesses is a fast changing and complex area of law and Covid-19 has created an even bigger minefield through which employers must navigate in order to avoid problems and resolve disputes.  We recognise the importance of providing clear and practical commercial advice at all times.

We can advise on all aspects of employment law which may affect your business and we act for many employers across a wide range of sectors.  Paul is well known and regarded for giving on the spot, focused advice and how to implement steps to ensure that you and your business are protected.  We can advise in all of the following areas and we have particular expertise in dealing with senior executive terminations, restructuring and redundancies, handling disciplinary matters and representation in the employment tribunal.

  • Contracts of employment/policies
  • Discrimination
  • Settlement agreements
  • Redundancy and restructuring
  • Unfair dismissal
  • Representation in the employment tribunal including advocacy
  • Coronavirus and furlough issues
  • Restrictive covenants/post termination restrictions
  • Management of sickness absence and performance issues
  • Employment issues affecting the buying and selling of businesses (TUPE)

Call us on 0113 218 5459 to find out more

Facing Claims in the Employment Tribunal

We have particular experience in defending companies in the employment tribunal and Paul Grindley has been appearing as an advocate for almost 30 years.  He will handle your case from start to finish and represent you in the tribunal if necessary.  Employment tribunals are a time consuming and potentially costly affair.  In many cases, it may be more cost effective to settle disputes before they escalate and we have a wealth of experience in dealing with such matters.  We will handle each step of the way and advise you accordingly.

Responding to a Claim

Very strict time limits apply in the employment tribunal and once a claim has been issued against the business, it is essential that you act immediately and provide us with instructions so that a defence may be filed and documents collected and evidence gathered.  Proceedings can be more complex if discrimination is alleged and especially if the claimant (your employee or former employee) is also making allegations against particular individuals who are also cited as parties to the proceedings.

Costs budgeting

It is a feature of employment tribunal litigation that normally, costs are not awarded and it is in fact exceptional to be awarded costs.  This means that it is important to consider at an early stage whether the case is worth defending or whether a settlement option should be explored.

We can provide full representation up to the hearing itself and would agree with you a costs structure whether this is on an hourly rate basis or fixed fee for each particular tranche of work.

Disclosure/ Documents

A large part of litigation involves dealing with and disclosing various documents which will then need to be assembled into a bundle ready for trial.  This process can be very time consuming and we can discuss with you how this is best achieved.  We will deal with the other side to agree document bundles and ensure that the case is ready for trial.

Witness statements

In the employment tribunal, witnesses no longer read out their witness statements but it is essential that all of the evidence which you and other managers wish to give is captured in a full witness statements which is then put before the tribunal.  Tribunal judges are insistent that if evidence is not contained within the witness statement, the witness may not be allowed to deal with it.  Witnesses then face cross examination on the content of their witness statement.  It is therefore important to identify witnesses at an early stage and we have considerable experience in taking and drafting witness statements and presenting these in a format which gives you the best possible chance of successfully defending claims.

Instructing a barrister

In some cases, we may consider instructing a barrister to present your case but this would be exceptional as we have experience of representing clients at the tribunal and would only instruct a barrister if the case was particularly complex or long or you had a particular preference.  We would discuss this with you at all stages and likely cost involved.  Examples of cases where a barrister might be instructed would include complex discrimination claims involving many parties, a particularly long case lasting more than 3 days or a case involving equal pay or equal value.

Pre-trial checklists

Sometimes the tribunal will issue a checklist or case management agenda to ensure that all steps have been carried out and completed and that the parties are ready for trial.  This is important to ensure that costs are not wasted and delays and postponements are avoided.

The Trial/Hearing

If the matter does not settle, then the hearing will take place at the employment tribunal and this may be in person or by video platform.  We will ensure that the trial bundles and witness statements are prepared and that witnesses have all been briefed and are ready to proceed and give evidence.

We will also consider any offers to settle prior to the trial and indeed during the trial itself.

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The concept of a protected conversation was introduced in 2013 enabling an employer to enter into discussions (“out of the blue”) with an employee with a view to terminating their employment under a settlement agreement, without the parties being able to rely on the details of the conversation as evidence in an unfair dismissal claim. The purpose of the legislation is to enable employers to facilitate the exit of underperforming staff without the necessity of going through a lengthy formal performance management process which can be stressful for both parties.

Unfortunately, the interaction between annual leave and furlough leave is not currently clear and there are several potential issues with allowing or requiring workers to take annual leave during furlough. Employers may be concerned with the effect of employees taking annual leave on their ability to obtain reimbursement from HMRC. Furlough leave needs to be taken in blocks of 3 weeks so arguably cannot be interrupted by annual leave. However , under the Working Time Regulations , an employer can require an employee to take annual leave by giving notice of twice the length of leave to be taken . So an employer could in theory require that every third week of furlough leave is to be taken as annual leave !

No. However withholding 20% of salary would amount to a breach of contract and unlawful deductions of wages unless the employee gives their consent. It is expected that the majority of employees will consent since furlough leave is a much better alternative than unpaid leave, lay off or redundancy.

The scheme states that employees must be furloughed for a minimum of 3 weeks. What is not clear is how long the employee may return to work after a period of furlough leave before being placed on furlough leave again.

An employee can request this but the employer does not have to agree. It is the employer’s decision which employees to place on furlough leave. It is unclear whether refusing to place employees on furlough leave and making them redundant instead could amount to unfair dismissal.