Employment Law

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Employment law is constantly changing but our team of expert lawyers is here to help your business to proactively manage your employment issues. We provide commercially orientated practical advice and pragmatic solutions which are tailored to the needs and circumstances of your business.

Key employment law services

Our team of employment lawyers can advise you on all employment law related issues including:

  • employment contracts, director service agreements and consultancy agreements;
  • policies and staff handbooks;
  • performance management;
  • disciplinary issues and dismissals;
  • absence management and ill-health capability issues;
  • handling grievances;
  • advice on family friendly rights;
  • discrimination advice;
  • redundancies and restructuring;
  • employment issues related to mergers, acquisitions and disposals;
  • TUPE regulations;
  • protected conversations and settlement agreements, including director exits and shareholder issues;
  • whistleblowing;
  • managing mental ill health in the workplace;
  • employee GDPR (data protection) advice and documentation;
  • employment status issues including IR35;
  • post-termination restrictive covenants and breach of confidentiality issues, including injunction proceedings in the High Court; and
  • Employment Tribunal claims, including advocacy and representation at hearings.

Flexible fees

We understand that employers can perceive the cost of instructing a solicitor to be daunting, particularly if faced with the cost of defending an Employment Tribunal claim. To assist our clients, we have developed flexible fee arrangements to give our clients access to instant legal advice whilst offering financial peace of mind regarding their legal spend. We can provide:

  • retainer arrangements with or without insurance backing;
  • capped fee Tribunal representation; and
  • fixed fees for drafting and reviewing documents.

Employment law work examples in 2020:

  •  Advising on the furlough scheme and the changing rules relating to this scheme.
  •  Advising on numerous redundancy situations including collective redundancies.
  •  Advising employees in mass-settlement agreement exercises.
  • Representing clients in respect of a number of substantial Employment Tribunal cases, including:
    • TUPE claim for an employer where 15 employees brought an action concerning the application of the TUPE Regulations;
    •  Whistleblowing claims in the Employment Tribunal for employers and employees; and
    • Discrimination claims;
  • Obtaining injunctions and undertakings in restrictive covenant and confidentiality cases.
  •  Advising on director exits where the issues involved are often complex and high value, involving both employment and shareholder issues.
  • Representing a client on a national minimum wage case before the Court of Appeal.
  • Advising on insolvency situations for employers.

How we’ve helped our clients

“Paris Smith always provide us with excellent service, we use them for their employment law expertise and they have guided us through some complex situations with various employee issues as well as some major restructures. ”

HR Manager

Formaplex Ltd

“ Paris Smith provides outstanding service. Our experience is continually a high positive one with concise, relevant advice given with patience and clarity. From assistance and training in updating policies and procedures to advising a college on their obligations both in relation to individuals and more widely, in regards to the Public Sector Equality Duty, we have found Paris Smith to be always diligent, thorough and very supportive.”

Totton College

Chambers and Partners Legal Directory 2022

Respected employment team, noted for its strong reputation in the local market, which acts for both employees and employers and has significant experience in acting on both sides of senior-level exits. Represents clients in employment tribunals and restrictive covenant actions as well as aiding companies with employment training programmes. Regularly advises clients from the education and transport sectors.

They are very professional and responsive,” according to a client, who goes on to say: “We get a very good service from them.

Notable Practitioners :

Claire Merritt is sought out by clients for her ability to advise on both contentious and non-contentious matters. She regularly works with clients on defence strategies in the Employment Tribunal, GDPR issues and ongoing training.

Clive Dobbin leads the firm’s employment practice. He regularly advises on senior-level exits, contractual issues and TUPE matters.

David Roath is an experienced employment lawyer and mediator who acts for corporate clients as well as senior employees.


Legal 500 Directory 2022

Paris Smith LLP’s employment practice is regularly instructed by a range of clients in the Hampshire region. The team is particularly adept at handling restrictive covenant actions and senior level exits, most notably on behalf of local authorities, transportation companies, and sixth form colleges and private schools. Practice head Clive Dobbin is a seasoned Employment Tribunal advocate, who has experience of complex discrimination and whistleblowing cases, and TUPE matters. Claire Merritt is the lead for the firm’s education-sector offering, and has recently been engaged on various Covid-19 response mandates. David Roath is recommended for his experience with protective awards regarding collective redundancies, and shareholder exits. All named lawyers are based in Southampton.

Clients say:

  • Very professional, easy to contact, responsive, always provides advice in a timely manner”
  • “Knowledgeable, adaptable to business needs, professional, transparent, responsive, willing to help, take accountability”
  • “This is a strong team with a good breadth of experience and expertise. They have a strong focus on client care and have been quick to embrace the new technologies that the pandemic has required us to face. They are really good at working as part of a team and also have a good breadth of expertise more widely in the firm to deal with niche issues”
  • “Paris Smith are excellent employment solicitors. They provide advice that is accurate, helpful and easy to understand. They respond quickly to requests and have access to specialist advisers when needed”

Introducing your key contacts

Clive Dobbin
Partner and Head of Employment, Southampton

Contact

David Roath
Partner – Employment Team, Winchester

Contact

KEY CONTACTS
3
Nov

Employment Law Conference – Webinar

11:00 – 12:30 GMT
Wed 3rd Nov 2021

Online

Free

24
Nov

Absence Management | Line Manager Training

14:00 – 16:00 GMT
Wed 24th Nov 2021

Online

From £75.00 + VAT

Clive Dobbin, David Roath and Tabytha Cunningham | 9th September 2021

The Employment Tribunal: What happens on the day – Part 2

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Clive Dobbin, David Roath and Tabytha Cunningham | 9th September 2021

The Employment Tribunal: What happens on the day – Part 2

Welcome to part two of our two-part series on Employment Tribunals. In this podcast Employment experts Clive Dobbin, David Roath and Tabytha Cunningham answer your key questions about what happens on the day of a Tribunal. They chat through everything from how to give a witness statement to what to wear.

For more information on how our team can help you: https://parissmith.co.uk/your-business/employment-law/tribunal-representation/

Show notes
00:50
What is the set up for a typical Employment hearing?
David talks about how processes been pushed forward by the pandemic and what are the options for a virtual hearing. Do you get a choice which option you can have?

02:50
What should you know before the hearing to prepare? Tabytha explains what technology you should test if you are remote and some tips for making this process seamless.
If you have an in-person hearing, what happens when you arrive and who will be there? Be prepared for lots of waiting around.

04:25
What preliminary matters will there be on the day? Tabytha talks through how this works and what is common.

05:10
Who decides the outcome of a case? This depends totally on the claim. Simple cases like unfair dismissal will be heard by one Judge In more complex cases like discrimination, there will be a panel of three people. Our experts explain how to they work together to decide and who has the final say.

07:35
Giving evidence – how is this done and how should you address the Judge?
Our experts also explain how are different people are addressed and the common terms you might hear such as ‘claimant’, what you should wear, what to bring with you, where to stand when giving evidence and what swearing an oath means in practice.

09:45
What happens at cross examination? This is when the other side will ask questions about your witness statement. Our experts give some tips about what to expect and how to answer.

11:40
Our Employment team give top tips for preparing to be a witness and discuss the importance of the witness statements.
The key is that you should remind yourself what is said in the statement before the hearing as they often written a long time before the hearing.

13:40
Submitting additional documents – what is the process when you want to submit extra information?

15:35
Cross examination can be nerve-wracking. Our team give tips for giving evidence and cross examination, and cover the importance of preparation and overcoming nerves

20:35
Coming to a decision – what is the process and how long does this take?

21:50
What happens if you are unhappy with the decision and what are the grounds for appeal?

LISTEN

13th July 2021

The Employment Tribunal process – What you need to know – Part 1

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13th July 2021

The Employment Tribunal process – What you need to know – Part 1

Welcome to the first episode of our two-part series on employment tribunals. In this podcast Employment experts Clive Dobbin, Claire Merritt and Andrew Willshire cover the key steps in presenting a tribunal claim, and what employers should do in response to a claim.

Show notes
01:10
What is ACAS early consiliation and what do you need to do? We chat through how this process can help you address issues early and how ACAS can mediate.
More information: www.acas.org.uk/early-conciliation
03:50
What is our advice for employers about ACAS early consiliation? Should you engage and what are the benefits?
05:25
Are ACAS overburdened and what are the implications?
06:30
We cover how an employee presents a claim to the tribunal and what documents are required.
Access an ET1 form: www.gov.uk/government/publicat…t-tribunal-form-et1
07:55
We discuss what makes a claim acceptable
08:30
How much detail should an employee include in the claim? They must be concise and clear.
09:10
Should you attach documents in your initial claim submission?
09:50
What happens when you receive a claim as an employer? There are strict deadlines in this process, so explain the importance of this.
11:05
Our experts guide you through submitting an ET3 form, verifying the information that the employee has submitted, and when you have your opportunity to submit your version of numbers, dates etc.
11:50
When should you be instructing a solicitor and information gathering and submitting your response?

13:10
So the claim and response have been submitted – what happens now? We also discuss when a preliminary hearing is necessary.
14:22
Who attends a preliminary hearing?
15:00
What evidence do you need to defend a claim? We also discuss the process of ‘disclosure’ – what is this and how long does it take?
17:50
Our experts talk through the role of witness evidence
18:40
What should you do if you feel there are documents missing in the disclosure?
19:55
Employment tribunal costs – can you reclaim costs if you are successful in defending your claim?
22:00
Reaching a settlement – our lawyers answer key questions such as what options are there for settlement once a claim has been presented? Are settlements always done through ACAS?
25:05
The role of mediation – how does it work through the employment tribunal process, and how successful is judicial mediation?
25:45
How has COVID-19 affected the employment tribunal process? We know the employment tribunal is struggling to cope at the moment, so how does this affect when a final hearing can happen?

LISTEN

21st May 2021

Performance management process: getting it right in your business

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21st May 2021

Performance management process: getting it right in your business

In our latest employment law podcast, where employment law experts Claire Merritt and Tabytha Cunningham dive into the complex topic of performance management. They explore and advise on how to manage poor performance, why its so important, the key components of a good performance management process and how to address concerns.

Show notes:

00:45
Why is performance management important? Good performance management leads to better productivity, open communication and allows managers to identify, and more importantly resolve issues.

02:20
How has performance management been affected by the pandemic? Good performance management is difficult at the best of times, and the pandemic had led many businesses to be in survival mode which means performance management slips off the radar.

05:05
What are the key components of performance management processes? The important things to remember are to be continuous, and have structure.

09:00
Claire and Tabytha discuss the importance of tailoring targets and performance criteria for individuals.

10:50
How do you set up a performance management process? Its not plain sailing! There is no ‘one size fits all’ but employers should focus on making it realistic, and investing in managers is key.

14:10
Claire and Tabytha discuss how important it is to set goals and targets that are appropriate.

15:15
How to use your system to manage those poorly performing – remember the aim is always improvement, not dismissal.

17:00
How to identify the reasons for poor performance. This could be anything from training requirements to personal issues. Managing this is an important part of good performance management.

18:30
Claire and Tabytha discuss how formal and informal performance management processes can be used together, and how they can serve different purposes.

19:00
What happens when an employee’s performance does not improve, despite a robust procedure?

23:35
Claire and Tabytha tackle a common question: how long do you set targets for?

LISTEN

9th April 2021

Managing Mental Health at Work

LISTEN DETAILS

9th April 2021

Managing Mental Health at Work

Employment experts Tabytha Cunningham and Claire Merritt answer the common questions managers have managing mental health at work. The pandemic has made it even more difficult to spot the signs of poor mental health, so how can we make sure we are being proactive as employers?

01:55 What do we mean by managing mental ill health at work?

03:56 When are employers liable for work related stress? What are the risk factors and where do employers stand?

07:00 What proactive steps can managers take to improve mental health of staff?

11:03 What does it mean to be a mental health first aider?

12:05 When is poor mental health classed as a disability?

16:26 If someone is disabled, what adjustments should you make?

18:42 What should potential triggers or warning signs should managers look out for?

24:08 What should a manager do when an employee discloses a mental health problem?

26:20 How best to manage poor performance related to mental ill health

Resources
Managing and supporting mental health at work with Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-your-staff/useful-resources/

LISTEN

30th August 2019

A Guide To Settlement Agreements

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30th August 2019

A Guide To Settlement Agreements

Employment Solicitor Sarah Hayes takes us through a guide to settlement agreements. Why are they beneficial? What should you need to know and what are the practical steps that need to be taken for them to be legally binding?

Show notes
00:28 What is a settlement agreement? Sarah defines what it means
00:48 What is the purpose of a settlement agreement and what will include
01:15 There are various benefits of having a settlement agreement – Sarah talks through what these are
02:00 How long does it take to agree the terms of a settlement agreement?
02:40 It is important to see a solicitor if you are issued with a settlement agreement – Sarah talks about how this works in practice
04:06 What happens if you want to negotiate the terms of your agreement and do you have to sign the agreement? Sarah explains in detail and what the implications are for you.
04:45 How do you know if you’re getting a fair deal?
05:30 What is the typical time frame for payments being made?

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