Background

Employment

Employment law is a complex and fast-changing area, and it’s important that employers and employees keep up to date with their rights and responsibilities. At Coodes, our approach is to promote good HR practice, whilst providing pragmatic and proactive advice to resolve any workplace issues, helping our clients develop and implement practical and workable solutions.

We offer a range of services, products and pricing options to enable you to get the right advice at the right time and keep control of your costs. VAT will be added to our fees and disbursements, with the current rate being 20%.

HR for small businesses:

One of our experienced employment solicitors will discuss your business’ specific requirements and advise on the best courses of action.

Getting the documents right:

Having up to date policies, documents and processes that reflect your business’ approach is important. It will help to protect your business from claims and disputes and also provide your staff with a clear set of guidelines within which to work, making the operation of the regulatory regime much more straightforward and consistent. We can provide:

  • All contractual documentation.
  • Staff handbooks covering all necessary policies processes, from recruitment to termination.
  • A review of current documentation and policies and provide recommendations for improvement.
  • Specific policies, such as:
    • Disciplinary and grievances.
    • Social media.
    • Zero-hours contracts.
    • Flexible working.
    • Equality and diversity.

We have a range of fixed prices for these services.

Day-to-day advice:

The application of complex and changing employment legislation and regulation can be challenging. We can help you to navigate that complexity by providing advice on the different circumstances that arise in your business, either on a one-off basis or through our retained advice service. We also offer a fixed-price initial consultation service so that you can control costs. We can speak to you in person or remotely, by phone or video conference to save you time and travel.

Performance management, disciplinary and dismissals:

You will want to get the best from your staff to make your business the most successful. Sometimes, however, staff do not work at their optimum. We can assist you to formally deal with under-performance, from giving you processes to help them improve and, dealing with disciplinary processes to negotiating terminations and managing employment tribunal claims. Having good standard processes in place from the outset as part of your HR documentation will be invaluable in making employment law work for you and protecting you from unwanted and expensive claims. If disciplinary action does result in dismissal, there may also be issues of restrictive covenants clauses to manage, which we can support you with.

We can:

  • Provide advice on performance improvement plans.
  • Ensure that you have appropriate procedures in place to deal with disciplinary issues.
  • Negotiate terminations.
  • Prepare and advise on settlement agreements.
  • Advise on disciplinary actions that are needed.
  • Deal with various claims made by employees.
  • Advise on protecting your business when staff leave, for whatever reason.

Redundancies:

In a changing economic environment, it is sometimes necessary to downsize your workforce or change your terms of employment. Employment legislation governs the way this can be done and getting the redundancy process right is critical: if it is not handled correctly, employers can end up facing claims for unfair dismissal or discrimination, which can be expensive and damaging. This involves consulting with appropriate staff, selecting the correct set of employees who might be vulnerable to redundancy, help you when looking at offering voluntary redundancy, setting the correct criteria for selecting the redundant employees and ensuring a fair and open process for communicating and applying the redundancy criteria.

We can:

  • Ensure that you have a standard procedure to use if redundancies are necessary.
  • Assist you in setting up an individual redundancy process for your business’ specific needs.

Business transfers and restructures:

There are employment considerations in any change of ownership of a business or organisation. The starting point is that the contracts of employment, with all their current terms, transfer automatically to the new owner under the TUPE regulations. Everyone involved in the transaction needs to understand this fact and its implications, though the effects of this transfer can be mitigated with careful planning. Whatever happens, buyers need to fully understand the employment terms of the staff that they are taking on and how they impact existing arrangements.

We can:

  • Complete an audit of the sellers’ terms of employment.
  • Advise on the implications that TUPE has when taking over current staff members.
  • Advise on any adjustments that need to be made before or after the transfer.
  • Deal with post-transfer issues that arise.

Protecting your business:

Employees, particularly key members of staff, often have access to a large amount of information about their employer’s business, including sensitive information relating to its finances, customers, plans, intellectual property and processes. Businesses also have a reputation that you will want to preserve, and that can be damaged by what disgruntled or ex-employees say about it in public. As an employer, you have a legitimate and enforceable interest that needs to be protected through careful drafting of contracts and clearly written policies. While businesses have a right to protect themselves, employees themselves also have rights, including not being prevented by employers from following and developing their careers. This is an area of law where courts have intervened to decide what is acceptable and what is not, so considerable care is needed in drafting these sorts of documents.

We can:

  • Draft contracts and staff policies to reflect your business requirements.
  • Provide social media policies to protect business reputation.
  • Advise you how to implement and enforce these with individual staff.
  • Deal with staff leaving and enforcement of contracts including court action where needed.

Discrimination:

Good employment practice is that employers aim to get the best staff to do the job, irrespective of who they are, where they come from and what they believe. That is the background to the extensive, and sometimes complex, anti-discrimination legislation. The legislation applies to “Protected Characteristics” and prevents and compensates discrimination on the basis of an individual’s age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. Employers are required to follow this anti-discrimination legislation in all aspects of staff relations from recruitment to termination of employment. Employers can also be responsible for the actions of their staff members, so it is essential that you have and communicate processes that explain what is expected of staff and that you then make sure that staff comply. Ultimately, compensation for discrimination claims can be both expensive and reputationally damaging, so it is important that employers take this issue seriously and develop an appropriate approach.

We can:

  • Review your HR processes to make sure that they are compliant.
  • Provide training to your HR staff to ensure that they apply the processes correctly and understand how to deal with any complaints.
  • Give advice to deal with any specific complaints/allegations of discrimination.
  • Defend any tribunal proceedings that employees take against the business and represent you at any tribunal hearings.

Representation:

Employee complaints that are unresolved ultimately result in applications to the Employment Tribunal or the County/High Court. Legal representation when facing potentially expensive claims is advisable. Claims also take up management time that might be better spent in the business. We have extensive experience in dealing with employment disputes at all levels and regularly represent clients in the tribunals or courts.

We can:

  • Represent you throughout any tribunal or court proceedings.
  • If you elect to defend yourself, for agreed prices we can advise on specific stages.

Pricing options:

We offer clients a number of options to cover our fees and to enable you to keep control of your legal expenses:

  • Fixed fee – fixed and agreed for a specific job.
  • Hourly rate – for complex or difficult claims and challenges.
  • CoodesHR Retainer – Employment law and HR advice provided by specialist employment lawyers for a monthly fixed fee.

Employment claims:

The provision of advice and representation to employers in relation to the defending of claims before the Employment Tribunal against an employer for unfair or wrongful dismissal.

  • On average, we charge £5,000 – £9,000 plus VAT (£6,000 – £10,800 inclusive of VAT) for this work where you are paying your legal costs on an hourly basis to defend a claim that proceeds to include a final hearing. This estimate is just an average price based on recent instructions; the actual cost to you will depend on a number of factors, which we will discuss with you if you decide to instruct us.
  • The charge is based on an average of our usual hourly charging-rates of between £220 – £300 plus VAT (£264 – £360 inclusive of VAT) per hour.
  • You may have the benefit of being able to claim under a legal expenses policy that would cover your legal fees.
  • Potential additional costs – There are sometimes additional costs you may have to pay to include for example counsel’s fees and medical expert fees. Depending on the length and complexity of a final hearing, counsel’s fees would likely be between £750 – £2,000 plus VAT (£900 – £2,400 inclusive of VAT). The instruction of counsel may reduce the fee you would pay to us. Medical expert fees will vary from case to case, but the range of £200 – £2,000 (£240 -£2,400 inclusive of VAT) can be expected depending on the expert used and what they are being asked to assess. In some cases, the Tribunal will order that a joint expert be instructed and the cost of that will be split between the employee bringing the claim and yourselves. We will discuss these additional costs with you before incurring them.
  • In most Employment Tribunal cases, legal costs are not recoverable from the other party irrespective of the outcome.
  • Our fees are calculated only for wrongful and unfair dismissal claims and should the claim you are responding to include other heads of claim (for example discrimination), we reserve the right to charge you additional sums depending on the circumstances..

Whilst the costs incurred up to and including a Hearing will vary depending on the facts, circumstances and complexities of the case, we estimate the following costs could be incurred, including Barrister fees:

Length of HearingOur Estimated CostsEstimated Barrister CostsEstimated Total Costs
One Day Hearing£5,000 – £9,000 plus VAT

(£6,000 – £10,800 including VAT)

£3,500 plus VAT

(£4,200 including VAT)

£8,500 – £12,500 plus VAT

(£10,200 – £15,000 including VAT)

Two Day Hearing£7,000 – £11,000 plus VAT

(£8,400 – £13,200 including VAT)

£5,000 plus VAT

(£6,000 including VAT)

£12,000 – £16,000 plus VAT

(£14,400 – £19,200 including VAT)

Three Day Hearing£9,000 – £12,000 plus VAT

(£10,800 – £14,400 including VAT)

£6,500 plus VAT

(£7,800 including VAT)

£15,500 – £18,500 plus VAT

(£18,600 – £22,200 including VAT)

Four Day Hearing£10,000 – £14,000 plus VAT

(£12,000- £16,800 including VAT)

£9,000 plus VAT

(£10,800 including VAT)

£19,000- £23,000 plus VAT

(£22,800 – £27,600 including VAT)

Five Day Hearing£11,000 – £16,500 plus VAT

(£13,200 – £19,800 including VAT)

£10,500 plus VAT

(£12,600 including VAT)

£21,500 – £27,000 plus VAT

(£25,800 – £32,400 including VAT)

We understand the stress and urgency involved in dealing with employment matters. Below are examples of the likely different stages:

  • Initial advice and assessment.
  • Issuing an ET3 response (the response form when a claim has been made against you) to the proceedings.
  • Advising on the potential value of the claim including considering the claimant’s schedule of loss.
  • Witness statements.
  • Advocacy at a final hearing or the instruction of counsel where necessary.
  • Disclosure and bundle preparation.
  • Negotiating settlement.
  • Pre-action work to include pre-claim conciliation.

If you wish to find out more about the process and likely timescales, please look at our “Employment Tribunal” pdf.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss this further.

Team

Steph Marsh

Head of Employment

Ivelina White

Paralegal

News & Events

Read more

Key contact

Steph Marsh

Head of Employment

Get in touch

Call us on 0800 328 3282, or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Portfolio Builder

Select the legal expertise that you would like to download or add to the portfolio

    Download    Add to portfolio   
    Portfolio
    TitleTypeCVEmail

    Remove All

    Download


    Click here to share this shortlist.
    (It will expire after 30 days.)