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  1. Employment: employee/union firms
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Who Represents Who

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Slater and Gordon is a ‘leading firm for claimant work’ and its team ‘knows everything there is to know about claims against the police’. Clients single out Sarah Evans for her ‘impeccable judgement; she is a fierce negotiator who is determined to always get the best for her clients’. Also recommended are Jennifer Ainscough, who ‘really knows her stuff’ on federation and union matters in particular, and Jim Lister, whose advice is ‘second to none’. The team regularly represents members of trade unions and staff associations in high-profile claims against their employers, often involving complex allegations of unlawful discrimination, race discrimination, whistleblowing and collective labour issues. In addition the team is often instructed by directors of NHS trusts and local authorities. Recent work includes representing a client in a race discrimination spanning a number of years against Cleveland Police, and acting for a police inspector in a whistleblowing claim against South Yorkshire Police. Martin Price joined Knights Professional Services Limited.

Berg’s clients highlight the practice’s ‘atmosphere of integrity and professionalism’, as well as its ‘clear advice’. Michelle Gray ‘rigorously pursues matters on her clients’ behalf in an open and honest way’ and is known for negotiating exits for senior executives. The ‘exceptional’ Alison Loveday advises on the full range of employment matters, from negotiating severance pay for senior executives to advising on complex bonus/incentive pay matters. In a potentially landmark case the team is representing a teacher who was assaulted by a pupil at a school and was off sick for a considerable period of time; the case, which will be heard before the Court of Appeal, could have far-reaching consequences on determining how long to wait before dismissing an employee on long-term sickness absence.

Gorvins Solicitors is singled out for its ‘pioneering work in disability discrimination, maternity/sex discrimination and whistleblowing’. David Walton leads the team and ‘goes above and beyond to provide a high-quality service, as well as measured advice, often in very stressful circumstances’. He is supported by ‘up-and-coming’ associate Danielle Ayres who is praised for her ‘warm, caring and supportive matter, which helps during a difficult litigation process; she always seems totally up to speed on each claim’. Highlights included acting on behalf of a large number of employees in a company restructuring, which resulted in a bulk settlement agreement.

Key figures at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP include the ‘outstandingSally Bird, who provides ‘sensible advice that balances the law with the clients’ commercial needs’; and the ‘professional and personableKevin McKenna, in whom clients have ‘the utmost confidence’. Associate Lorna Rigby is also recommended. The team is skilled at handling executive terminations, advising on fiduciary duties and, and acting in high-value litigation involving claims for contractual redundancy pay, loss of bonus and share options. Recent work includes representing a client against the Ministry of Justice in a case concerning part-time worker discrimination when his application to work beyond the age of 70 was refused unlike his full-time comparator (a Circuit Judge), whose appointment continued. The London Central Employment Tribunal held that its client had been discriminated against on the grounds of his part-time status.

Linder Myers has a developing niche claimant practice that is ‘going from strength to strength’. Alan Lewis is a ‘leading light’ who can ‘analytically assess the most difficult cases and always remain focused on the big picture’. Lewis has an excellent reputation for working for directors, senior executives and individual solicitors in employment disputes with their employers. He also assists numerous firms of solicitors with their employment law issues.

KBL Solicitors LLP regularly acts for employees advising on restrictive covenants, confidentiality and other associated contractual breaches and fiduciary duties. It has also experienced increased instructions from employees pursuing claims against employers for alleged breaches of the Equality Act 2010. Christine Hart is now the key contact following John Hassells’ move to Bramhalls Solicitors.

London-based Chris Benson heads a ‘very responsive’ team at Leigh Day that includes associate solicitor Mike Cain, who is ‘outstandingly creative; if one approach doesn’t work, he will try really hard to find another one that does’. The team handles the full range of employment matters for claimants and trade unions, including issues concerning equal pay, working time rights and the national minimum wage. The GMB Union is a client. The team is representing up to 20,000 individuals in equal pay claims in addition to a significant number of senior executives on matters such as favourable exit terms.

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Legal Developments in North West for Employment: employee/union firms

  • Companies should plan now to minimise their pension protection levy

    The amount that pension schemes have to pay to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for the year 2006/07 may have increased by as much as five times the previous year's levy. Employers who ultimately bear the cost of many pension schemes will need to make plans now to ensure the levy payable for the year 2008/09 is kept to a minimum.
    - Stephenson Harwood

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