Employment issues are some of the most important and complex areas for managers to deal with and many clients find that gaining early access to pragmatic legal advice can make for more positive outcomes.
Our highly respected employment team are used to advising not only on the relevant procedures and policies which should be put in place, but on ensuring that managers are supported throughout the process up to and including representation at the employment tribunal.
There are several advantages to instructing a barrister via direct access; it is cost effective, time-efficient and you are in control of how much is handled by a legal expert, and consequently how much you pay in legal fees. You can seek advice as you deem appropriate and will be informed in advance of work being carried out as to what it will cost to obtain such advice.
Our team can offer advice on:
The law relating to whistleblowing is complex and can often seem to be a trap for the unwary. The reputational risks for a business that gets it wrong can be quite severe and this is where consultation with an expert can prove invaluable. Many employers are keen to discuss the issues raised by their staff to improve safety or customer service, but can be uncertain as to how best to approach a complaint made and the legal implications.
The team at 7BR has years of experience in dealing with allegations of this kind and can advise on the best course of action to address any concerns raised, with a view to avoiding litigation where possible. There are, of course, situations where litigation will be unavoidable and in such cases the preparation of the case will be of the utmost importance. Frequently managers will be concerned over issues of disclosure of documents which may contain sensitive personal information in relation to third parties and be unsure as to what is required for a court hearing. Being able to discuss this with a seasoned legal representative will reduce the uncertainty and ensure your case is thoroughly prepared with all possible problems anticipated and resolved before you reach court.
Expert barristers will explain the stringent legal tests required and the essential evidence to properly defend a claim.
Many employers are understandably nervous when they receive a complaint of discrimination against them. Such allegations can be personally difficult for managers and staff to deal with and organisations fear the impact that such claims could have on their reputation.
It is important that businesses lay suitable groundwork aimed at reducing such complaints by ensuring that their policies, from recruitment through sickness management, discipline and dismissal are transparent and even handed. Managers should receive training on all protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 from maternity and pregnancy rights to disability, race and age discrimination. Where grievances are raised internally managers need to be able to handle these allegations promptly and sensitively and the assistance of a direct access barrister can be invaluable in insuring that matters can be handled appropriately at an early stage. Nipping such problems in the bud may be the key to avoiding protracted and costly litigation later on.
Discrimination claims are invariably difficult with lengthy hearings and instructing a direct access barrister can mean that relevant evidence is gathered and presented to best advantage in the tribunal. Doing so at an early stage is frequently more effective than instructing a representative days before the final hearing.
Businesses are witnessing the growing importance of social media in promoting their products and services and improving brand awareness. The likes of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are all powerful tools in the marketing mix. With such power however comes great risk, and social media marketing mistakes or oversights have the potential to do irreversible damage to a company. Just 140 characters on Twitter, for example, leaves minimal margin for error, and misinterpreted or poorly timed messages have the potential to be viewed by millions of users, resulting in reputational damage in the eyes of both existing and prospective clients and customers.
A clear social media policy is imperative to any organisation intending to engage in social activity on behalf of the brand. The policy should be in place from the outset and provided to all employees involved in operating the corporate accounts. It should also include recommendations and guidance about how employees discuss your business, its corporate affairs and clients in their personal social media accounts.
Getting the balance right, ensuring compliance with data protection laws and being able to quickly enforce the law in this area can mean getting essential advice on policy, practice and procedure from an early stage. Barristers at 7BR can help draft policies and provide training to mitigate the risks, and put you in a better position should any issues arise. However, should litigation become necessary, our barristers are experienced in handling these cases with confidence to ensure the best outcome is secured for your business.
Getting an employment contract right from the start is crucial: is the individual a worker, employee, self-employed independent contractor, agency worker, person on a fixed term contract? In the event of an issue the courts and tribunals will look at the actual working relationship irrespective of the label that you wish to attach to it to ensure that justice is done between the parties. Generally speaking the court will expect employers to know more about these matters than the individual workers, which can be daunting without the assistance of a legal expert.
Barristers have the in depth knowledge to provide up to date, timely and accurate advice when new contracts are drafted and to make sure existing contracts are appropriate for your business and employees. Consulting a barrister on a direct access basis can be a quick, easy and cost-effective way of obtaining advice on an individual case, or for more general contracts across the organisation. They can assist in the reviewing process as well as drafting new contracts where required.
These services can prove invaluable if you are later faced with complicated situations such as acquiring, selling, or merging parts of your business, negotiating a TUPE transfer or facing litigation.
Recent decisions from the EAT and the ECJ have made businesses anxious about their liabilities under holiday pay legislation. Calculating holiday pay can become complicated when you are unsure whether you need to include commission, overtime, bonuses, and seasonal fluctuations based on the nature of your business which may lead to higher rates of pay at busier times for certain sectors.
Specialist employment barristers at 7BR handle a high volume of such claims and can advise you sensibly on how the tribunals are likely to approach a particular payment. They can meet with you, discuss your business and advise on the status of certain types of payments and whether you need to amend your contracts of employment to reflect case law. Barristers can advise on individual cases as well as more general queries for specific departments or business wide.
Managing staff is a time consuming but integral part of running a business and having robust procedures in place which allow you to deal with the myriad of issues which may arise is essential. Issues such as the termination of employment, whether on the grounds of conduct, health or capability, or redundancy for example, can be daunting and stressful for managers whether they’ve dealt with them before or not. They can be time-consuming and distract from work, particularly if your actions are to be defended before an employment tribunal.
A member of the team at 7BR can review your procedures and policies and provide expert advice to reduce your exposure and consequential chances of reputational damage. They can also provide advice on the conduct of disciplinary or other hearings and represent you at a tribunal hearing if that becomes necessary.
If you would like to know more please call our clerks on +44 (0) 20 7242 3555 or complete the form below: