Claire Merritt

Partner - Employment & Education

Claire Merritt

Partner - Employment & Education


Claire Merritt ranked in chambers 2022 logo    Legal 500 2022 Recommended Lawyer      Legal 500 Top Tier 2022

 

I am a specialist in employment law and have over 12 years of experience dealing with all aspects of employment law.

In particular I deal with some of the following issues:

  • Employment contracts
  • Tribunal claims
  • Discipline/poor performance issues
  • Redundancies and restructuring
  • TUPE regulations
  • Settlement Agreements
  • Discrimination
  • Policies and procedures
  • Drafting handbooks
  • Agency worker regulations
  • Working time regulations
  • Employee related data protection queries

Day to day advice

Whether acting for companies or individuals, I draft clear, concise contracts and other documentation and provide practical advice on a wide range of employment law issues. I provide prompt responses and look to find effective solutions to any problem.

I also advise on restrictive covenant breaches and agency worker regulation.

I have a particular focus on advising in the education sector including sixth form colleges, further education colleges and independent schools. However, I have a wide client base in various sectors including manufacturing, transport and logistics and health and social care.

Tribunals

I have a depth of experience when acting in a range of tribunal claims with issues of unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal, various discrimination, whistle blowing, TUPE and collective consultation rights. I also appear regularly in the Employment Tribunal, both in person, on the telephone and virtually. I undertake my own advocacy.

Training

I have significant experience running bespoke training sessions for employers and HR professionals on many different aspects of employment law.  

I co-ordinate the Paris Smith Line and HR Manager training sessions. Courses can be tailored to your needs to include case studies, practical examples and open floor forums.

I have experience in advising on education law matters. Given my client base in education, I also have an interest in pure education law as well as employment law.

I have been successful in representing parents in the admission of their children to schools and academies and advising parents in relation to special educational needs. I also work alongside schools and academies, advising as to their legal duties and obligations with a variety of complex procedures surrounding admissions, exclusions and special educational needs.

I aim to help parents through the difficult process of EHC needs assessments and the making of an EHC Plan. I also help parents navigate through the appeal process.

I enjoy working with my clients and want to form lasting relationships. I have great communication skills and really feel that this enables my clients to understand their situation and feel supported, whatever advice is necessary.

I look to provide commercial solutions and practical ways of solving problems. I therefore take business and personal issues into mind when advising on the law.

I understand that most employment issues involve complex facts, law and emotions. I like advising in challenging circumstances and bringing all of these elements together.

I am:

  • a member of the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA);
  • a governor of a local sixth form college;and
  • a trained mental health first aider.

mental health first aider

 

Claire Merritt and Tabytha Cunningham | 30th November 2021

Recruitment & Retention Part 2: Long Term Employee Retention

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Claire Merritt and Tabytha Cunningham | 30th November 2021

Recruitment & Retention Part 2: Long Term Employee Retention

Many organisations are struggling with retaining talent, with some offering high salaries in order to attract and retain key people. But does this keep good staff in the long term? Employment experts Tabytha Cunningham and Claire Merritt explore the key factors that affect employee retention, and how you can keep existing staff happy and productive.

00:50 Claire talks through the importance of good and frequent communication in your business at all levels.

01:57 Training and development is key. Businesses change all the time and people are looking for their next challenge.

03:17 Managing staff after the pandemic and new skills. How can we effectively manage remote teams and keep them engaged?

05:43 Managing wellbeing and making employees feel valued. What tools are available?

06:55 Flexible working, work life balance and making sure your employees don't feel overwhelmed.

09:12 How do you advertise your roles and do you mention remote working?

09:50 Managing mental health at work. Do you have training in place to ensure managers can help people properly? This can be key in employee retention.

12:09 The importance of recognition. What motivates people is different for each individual but it is always important to show employees they are valued.

13:44 How should you reward employees?

16:19 Career progression and ensuring employees feel they are heading in the right direction.

LISTEN

Claire Merritt and Tabytha Cunningham | 30th November 2021

Recruitment & Retention Part 1: Recruitment Best Practice

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Claire Merritt and Tabytha Cunningham | 30th November 2021

Recruitment & Retention Part 1: Recruitment Best Practice

Welcome to the first of our two-part employee recruitment and retention podcast. Lots of business are struggling to recruit and retain the right people for their organisation. Employment law experts Claire Merritt and Tabytha Cunningham explain how getting your processes right can really help.

01:41 What does best practice look like? Claire examines how contracts of employment can be used as a key recruitment tool.

03:51 Going back to basics and focussing on the requirements of the role.

04:30 Your job adverts - be mindful of discrimination claims be careful with language

05:20 Ensuing you have an objective selection and interview process.

06:40 Risks of getting it wrong - the pressure on wage inflation, the gender pay gap.

09:03 A move towards openness - disclosing salaries and meeting candidate expectations.

10:22 Best practice for candidate onboarding and offering the best support.

12:00 Probationary periods and using these correctly.

LISTEN

Top tips: how to get the most from your employment lawyer

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Wellbeing, mental health & employment law: top tips for managers

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Employment Law : key takeaways for employers and managers

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Claire Merritt has a real eye for detail, she also has excellent client care skills.

Legal 500 - 2022 Edition

Clients say "Claire Merritt is a rising star in the Hampshire region. She has good commercial sense and is very hard working."

Legal 500 2020-2021

Claire was recommended to me by another legal professional and dealt with my case quickly, clearly and effectively. I would not hesitate to contact Claire again if another situation arises requiring legal assistance.

London-based commodities trading sector

Claire Merritt is St Vincent College's point of contact at Paris Smith. She has provided us with excellent support with some significant staffing issues and has helped us to negotiate compromise agreements with some members of staff. She is always extremely helpful, giving initial advice over the phone and following up by email when appropriate. Claire has also delivered training at the College to the whole team of managers which was very well received. College HR staff, senior managers and several governors have also attended training delivered by Claire at other venues in the region and the feedback has been very good, with those attending commenting on the relevance of the sessions to their roles at the College.

Di Lloyd, Principal - St Vincent College

I am extremely happy with Claire's advice and response rates. She advises many other colleges and therefore provides advice that is tailored to our organisation's specific needs and standards. Claire helps us navigate the minefield of employment law and we appreciate the service she provides.

Gordon Dodds, Deputy Principal - The Sixth Form College, Farnborough

At a very difficult time, when our son wasn't offered a place at his catchment Junior school, despite attending the feeder Infant school, we needed swift, accurate, excellent legal advice. We were only too pleased with the help given to us by solicitor Claire Merritt. Claire kindly saw us within days of calling her. Claire was very professional, had a strong understanding of what it was we needed to do and advised us accordingly. As a result, we were successful in winning our school place appeal having challenged the Education Department at County Council our son was immediately given his place. Our legal success is attributable to the excellence of Claire Merritt.

Parent of a school child

I instructed Claire on an complex exit from a professional practice. She was clear and concise in her advice. She helped me decide on the best and most appropriate solution in my circumstances. She talked through the options and gave me a really clear view on the likely outcomes of each option. I wouldn't hesitate to contact Claire in the future and recommend her to anybody in a similar circumstances. Due to protracted negotiations with my former employer, this ran into a period of annual leave for Claire. She arranged that one of her colleagues Sarah Hayes to assist me in her absence and there was a smooth handover. I would recommend Paris Smith.

Professional - Architecture Services

Claire's advice and support has been invaluable. In particular what's been so important is that her guidance is not just confined to the technical legalities but really goes to the practical realities of the situation.

Senior Employee - NHS/Health Care Sector

 I have used Claire's employment law services now on a couple of occasions and every time, she has made herself available at short notice to speak to me and finalise documentation. With the added extra pressures of lockdown this year, I was concerned that the level of engagement and service would not be as good as in the past but yet again Claire delivered with the use of technology. Claire easily and quickly identifies any issues and always recommends useful and beneficial changes. Her friendly and personable manner make her a pleasure to deal with and I have no hesitation in recommending her services.

Senior Employee - IT Services Sector

I just wanted to write to thank you for your brilliant employment law session at our managers event yesterday. Your session was really excellent. It was pitched perfectly and extremely informative. By incorporating the real life examples this helped delegates to put into thought how this could happen with their own staff. I have received nothing but glowing feedback from all those who attended. You were engaging and friendly and the delegates expressed how much they enjoyed the session and how much they got out of attending.

Senior Employee - Public Sector
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