Employment Law

 

Employment law is a complex area and ever changing. Specialist employment advice for businesses is a necessity from time to time. We act for individuals and large and small companies on a wide range of employment issues including redundancy situations, carrying out audits of their existing employment contracts and policies and advising on settlement agreements and unfair dismissal situations. We advise on the following:

  • Preparation of employment contracts for both junior and senior employees either on a full time or part time basis;
  • Preparation of consultancy agreements and commission schedules;
  • Preparation of staff handbook and disciplinary and grievance procedures;
  • Advising on the termination of employment including grievance and disciplinary hearings;
  • Providing assistance and documentation of TUPE transfers on asset sales;
  • Advising on redundancy situations whether on an individual or wider scale basis;
  • Preparation and negotiation of settlement agreements.

Claims by or against employees are particularly demanding for businesses in terms of cost, time and energy. Litigation of any sort is best avoided and preparation is often the key to achieve this.

At Fortune Law,  we regularly advise on employment tribunal claims and breaches by employees of restrictive covenants in their employment contracts.  We are acutely aware of the types of problems that lead to excessive costs being unnecessarily spent by both parties on such matters. To prevent tribunal claims for unfair or wrongful
dismissal, discrimination or another of a raft of other potential claims, it is important to  ensure your employment contracts and staff handbooks are up to date and protect your interests and concerns, which may of course have changed since you last updated your precedents.  Taking legal advice at an early stage is also essential.


One key area which is often litigated or negotiated can arise on the exit of a senior employee where the employment contract contains post-termination restrictions. You will want to ensure that your business is protected as far as
possible and at whatever cost.  The case of Safetynet Security Ltd v Coppage and another [2012] EWHC B11 (Mercantile) (click here to view our case report) shows how careful consideration of your interests and precise
drafting of restrictive covenants at the time of entering into the contract can achieve this for you.

Settlement Agreements

 

When terminating an employment relationship primarily in contentious circumstances, employers are well advised to put into place a settlement agreeemnt.

A settlement agreement is a contract between an employer and an employee which records certain terms of the emplyee's departure including in particular any payments made to the employee which are likely to be in excess of what they are contractually due in return for a waiver by the employee of any applicable statutory employment law claims.

For a settlement agreement to be valid, certain conditions (which are set out in section 203(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996), with corresponding provisions in other statutes) must be met. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

· the agreement must be made in writing; and

· the employee must receive advice on the effect of the agreement including their ability to pursue their legal rights.

The agreement, once signed, is binding on both parties.

Our Experience

Whether you are an employer that is looking to negotiate the exit of an employee who is not performaing or an employee facing the situation of being made redundant, we at Fortune Law can provide assistance in the process of drafting, negotiating and executing a settlement agreement.

We have extensive experience in acting for both employers and employees, from junior team members to those holding senior executive or board positions.

Our Fees

Our fees for a settlement agreement range depending on the party we are acting for.

When representing an employer, we will draft the settlement agreement, negotiate with the employee or his/her legal adviser, liaise with ACAS if the matter has already gone to Tribunal and finalise the necessary documentation. For initial stages we try to give fixed fees followed by estimated or fixed fees for each subsequent stage in the process.

When representing an employee, the employer in almost all cases makes a contribution to legal fees which can be negotiated the more senior the employee is. We always strive to ensure in every case that our fees are covered by the employer as far as possible to minimise financial exposure for the employee.