Settlement of Claims and Exit Packages – a practical guide for HR and Employment Practitioners

Settlement of Claims and Exit Packages – a practical guide for HR and Employment Practitioners

Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 17:00 – 19:00 @ Clyde & Co, Manchester  Register here

Join us at this evening session for a practical and interactive seminar where strategies and the legal framework will be discussed relating to all things ‘settlement’.

We will look at how the ‘without prejudice’ rule and the ‘protected conversations’ regime are applied in respect of settling employment disputes either before or after a tribunal claim has been started. We shall consider how not to fall foul of these rules and what behaviour might indeed risk such a situation arising.

An examination of the differences between and the benefits and drawbacks of both ‘settlement agreements’ and ‘COT3 Agreements’ will be made along with typical issues that might arise in respect of certain types of clauses in such agreements – such as confidentiality restrictions.

Finally an opportunity for everyone to share their ‘top tips’ on approaches to and techniques to apply in discussing and negotiating settlements and exits will finish off this interactive talk.

Speaker

Tom Perry – No5 Barristers’ Chambers

Tom is an experienced lawyer who regularly appears for both claimants and respondents in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal.

He has extensive experience of all aspects of employment litigation including interim relief hearings, preliminary hearings, full merits hearings, remedy hearings and appeals. Tom regularly conducts complex, multi-day unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing cases.”.

Register here

Parental and Family Rights in an Increasingly Conscious World

Thursday 26th September 2019, 17:00 – 19:00 @ Pannone Corporate, Manchester  Register here

Join us at this evening session for a roundup of case law and legislative framework developments in this interesting area. We will look at the rights of parents, including maternity leave, adoption, shared parental leave, and part-time and flexible working. We will also consider the future, with parental bereavement leave coming in 2020 and the government’s plans to extend redundancy protection for those returning to work after maternity leave.

Speaker

Caroline Jennings – No5 Barristers’ Chambers

Caroline is ranked for employment law in both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500. One entry describes her as “Very sensible and very approachable. She does not overcomplicate issues and makes my life as a solicitor easier” another notes that she is “Tough, bold, charming and up for a challenge”.

Register here

 

Employment and Regulatory Cross-Over Seminar and Social

Come along to learn more about when the regulatory and employment worlds combine and overlap, with particular regard to the two spheres of the health sector and the education sector.  This seminar will provide an interactive and informative overview of these two areas, hosted by a No5 Regulatory specialist in health and education.

The seminar will be followed by summer food and drinks from 19:00 onwards.

Date: Wednesday 26th June 2019
Venue: Slater and Gordon, Manchester
Time: Registration – 17:00; Seminar 17:30- 19:30
Cost: Free of Charge
Learning Hours: 1.5 hours

Speakers

Chris Hopkins, No5 Barristers’ Chambers
Chris is a specialist regulatory and misconduct barrister who regularly defends professionals both in the criminal courts and in disciplinary proceedings before their regulator. He has been instructed on behalf of police, legal, medical and teaching professionals and most recently successfully defended a pharmacist at trial in the Crown Court charged with unlawfully administering a noxious substance to a work colleague.

Register here

Workplace Investigations

If you have ever had to deal with a workplace complaint, you will know the problems and pitfalls with conducting internal investigations.

Join us at our investigation’s seminar for advice on the three main forms of investigations: grievances, disciplinaries and whistleblowing.  Our investigations expert will give you their top ten tips for conducting successful investigations.

Breakfast and refreshments will be provided before the seminar.

Date: Thursday 14th March 2019
Venue: Slater and Gordon, Manchester
Time: 08:00 – 10:00
Cost: Free of Charge
CPD: 1 hour

Speaker

Mugni Islam-Choudhury
Mugni is an experienced employment law specialist who has conducted employment-related hearings in the ET, EAT and civil courts for 20 years. He is a specialist in complex employment litigation and has particular interest and expertise in dealing with high value claims, particularly in the field of discrimination, whistleblowing and/or where there is a High Court connection. Recently, Mugni has been appointed as investigator in a number of whistleblowing complaints and grievances.

Register here

Redundancy Seminar and Curry Night!

Redundancy and curry night – an unusual but satisfying combination!

NWELG are looking to combine a practical learning experience, with an opportunity to meet, relax and chat with fellow employment law enthusiasts over some wonderful food at Akbars curry house.

Redundancy is an area that often comes up in practice and can be more complicated than it first appears.  Join us for an evening of insight, fun and connections.

Redundancy Seminar

Date: Tuesday 30th October
Venue: DWF, Manchester
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Cost: Free of Charge
CPD: 1 hour

Curry Night

Date: Tuesday 30th October
Venue: Akbars, Manchester
Time: 18:45 onwards
Cost: £20 + VAT pp

Register here

*During registration you will have the choice to register to attend the seminar, the curry evening, or both.

All bookings are bound by our terms and conditions.

 

Disability Discrimination Seminar – A Practical Guide

Disability discrimination can be an often misunderstood area. NWELG are hosting an event to unravel some of the myths and pitfalls of handling disability discrimination complaints. The session will be a practical and interactive one lead by experts in the field.

Wednesday 26th September @ Kelloggs, Manchester

Location: Kelloggs, Orange Tower, Media City UK, Manchester, M50 2HF

Register here

Programme

08:45 – 09:15 Registration

09:15 – 09:45 Top tips on handling disability discrimination complaints, presented by Alexander Mellis

09:45 – 11:00 Workshop: An opportunity to discuss, explore and apply the principles behind disability discrimination in practice, presented by Helen Barney

Speakers

Helen Barney – Helen is a modern, approachable barrister who is renowned for her excellent client-care skills and working in partnership with those that instruct her. She is well adept at explaining complex legal arguments in simple plain language and brings to every claim sound case management and tactical awareness.

Alexander Mellis – Alex has a mixed practice in employment and personal injury law. He can be found in court or tribunal on a near daily basis undertaking both interim and final hearings as well as having a busy paperwork practice.

Register here

Thanks to all who joined for Sexual Harassment seminar!

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Sexual Harassment seminar last week at HRC Law LLP in Manchester.  It was great to meet everyone and we hope you found Tom Perry and Jack Feeny’s (from No5 Barristers’ Chambers) update on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace informative; and also found their workshop useful.

See you at the next event!  If you’d like to join the NWELG committee to help shape future events, email hello@nwelg.co.uk

Procedure: Interim Relief

When considering the postponement of an interim relief hearing, can counsel’s availability amount to “special circumstances”?

Yes, held the EAT in Lunn v Aston Derby.

Interim relief is obscure. It’s a special remedy that employment tribunals can grant if an ET1 is presented within seven days of dismissal, and the Claimant can prove (at a very swiftly arranged hearing, usually within days) that s/he will probably establish that the dismissal was on grounds of whistleblowing or trade union activities at a full hearing. When interim relief is granted, a ‘continuation of employment’ order is made, meaning they are guaranteed their salary up until the final hearing – even if they ultimately lose.

Mr and Mrs Lunn pursued whistleblowing claims and included applications for interim relief in their ET1s.

The interim relief applications were listed for hearing on a date the Claimants’ direct access barrister could not attend due to prior court commitments. Their barrister requested that the hearing be relisted and provided dates of availability as soon as five days later.

Pursuant to s128(5) Employment Rights Act 1996, the tribunal should not postpone such hearings “except where it is satisfied that special circumstances exist which justify it in doing so”. The tribunal refused the Claimants’ application for postponement on the basis that counsel’s convenience did not amount to special circumstances.

The EAT disagreed and held that, although not usually considered as such, counsel’s availability was a special circumstance in this case as the Claimants were faced with a real difficulty of finding alternative representation at such short notice. The special circumstances did not have to be ‘exceptional’.

The EAT found that the tribunal had fettered its discretion. It went further and found perversity on the basis that there was a lack of prejudice to the Respondents, a very short delay and the interests of justice so overwhelmingly fell in favour of granting the application.

Case Summary by Caroline Jennings.

Caroline is part of the Employment Group at No5 Barristers’ Chambers. 

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Seminar

Following the recent Harvey Weinstein allegations and the #MeToo campaign, sexual harassment is clearly a problem in the workplace.  In the current heightened climate of sexual harassment cases being brought to the fore, come and receive an update as to the legal employment position in this area. Two specialist employment barristers will provide their perspectives in this area with a combination of lectures and workshops, where attendees will be able to apply their acquired knowledge.

Thursday 14 June @ HRC Law, Manchester

Location: HRC Law LLP, Acresfield, 8-10 Exchange Street, Manchester, M2 7 HA  – how to find us

Register here

Programme

08:45 Registration

09:15 – 10:15 Update on Sexual Harassment

Overview of the law in an employment context – Presented by Jack Feeny
Practical considerations for employers – Presented by Tom Perry

10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30– 11:45 Sexual Harassment Workshop

An engaging and entertaining workshop to develop your acquired knowledge on harassment.
Presented by Jack Feeny & Tom Perry

11:45 Coffee & networking

Speakers


Jack Feeny has been ranked as a leader in the field of employment law by Chambers & Partners since 2016. The directory this year conveys “His strength is his technical ability in difficult situations”.


Tom Perry is an experienced lawyer who acts on behalf of both claimants and respondents in the employment tribunal at both preliminary and final hearings. Before joining the Bar, Tom worked as an employment solicitor for 7 years at Withers, Paul Hastings and Allen & Overy.

Register here

Equal pay: As the BBC, Deloitte and other employers face criticism over their gender pay gap figures, how does the law protect equality of employment terms?

The full-time gender-pay gap has been decreasing since 1975, however there is still at 16% difference between men and women’s pay according to the Equal Pay Code of Practice.

This April sees the first deadline by which employers with over 250 employees must publish figures annually, showing the gender pay gap in their workplace.  This requirement is hoped to encourage an ethos of transparency within the work place, and a focus on corporate values regarding equality.

As a result of these reporting duties, employers and employees are more aware than ever of issues around pay.  This article sets out a brief summary of how to seek remedy for unequal pay in the Employment Tribunals: reference is made to a female claimant for ease of reference, however the legislation protects both men and women.

Types of claims

All employees have a right to equal pay.  There are however three routes by which a claim can be brought under the Equality Act 2010 (“EqA”).  A difference in pay will potentially be discriminatory unless the employer can make out a valid defence:

  1. A “Like Work” claim (s65(1)(a), (2), (3) EqA)– where a woman does the same or broadly similar job as a male colleague but is paid less.
  2. A “Rated as Equivalent” claim (s65(1)(b), (4) EqA) – where a woman doing a different job to her male comparator is doing work “rated as equivalent” by a job evaluation study. For example, if a new pay grade system was brought in at work, and two jobs that had previously attracted different salaries now were regraded as equivalent, the past disparity could be discriminatory.
  3. An “Equal Value” claim (s65(1)(c), (6) EqA) – where a woman and man are doing different jobs, but a tribunal finds that the employer values their work equally by looking at factors such as effort, skill and decision-making. This generally requires a detailed consideration of all aspects of the jobs of the male and female workers in question.

Employees are also protected by the existence of the “sex equality clause”.  This clause is implied automatically into all contracts of employment and has the effect of guaranteeing that female employees’ contractual terms are no less favourable than those for male colleagues (s69 EqA).

Discrimination or breach of contract?

The type of claim an employee would seek to bring depends on the benefit that they are seeking to have equalised.

For example, take a contractual provision for a bonus awarded “at the discretion of the board”.  If a female colleague is awarded less than a male comparator, this would not be a breach of an express contractual term.  However, it may be discriminatory if the Board has exercised its discretion in a discriminatory manner.

So, where the benefit is non-contractual, an employee will generally claim discrimination rather than breach of contract.

Time Limits

A claim for equal pay (in other words, the claim form ET1) must be lodged with the tribunal within six months of the date of the end of a woman’s employment.  That means, if the woman is still employed, the clock has not started to tick.

Defences

An employer may rely on one or more defences to pay claims, as follows:

  1. Pay is not equal because of a “material factor” (for example, geography or individual performance). This defence is set out at s69 EqA, which states that the material factor must not in itself be discriminatory;
  2. The comparator that a female worker relies upon is not suitable and not a real comparator;
  3. The employee and her male comparator do not do like work;
  4. The work of the two employees is not rated as equal by a job evaluation scheme;

If you would like any further or specific guidance in relation to equal pay, please do get in touch with our Employment Team.

Written by Naomi Owen & Mugni Islam-Choudhury