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  1. Employment: Essex
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Who Represents Who

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Birkett Long LLP’s employment practice has special expertise in advising senior employees on settlement agreements as well as entitlement to bonuses, share options and directorships, with an emphasis on tribunal proceedings. The team has a growing reputation in the education sector, where it represents schools and other institutions. Martin Hopkins in Basildon and Tim Ogle in Chelmsford are the key partners, with Hopkins defending a former employee of Pinnacle Housing against unfair dismissal and discrimination. They are supported by associate solicitor Reggie Lloyd, who also leads on discrimination cases. Hopkins is the main adviser for long-term client e2v Technologies. Other clients include Hills Prospect, TLC Inns and Trade Gateway. The Basildon office hired solicitor Jo McKenna in September 2016.

Birketts LLP fields a team of ‘relationship-oriented’ employment lawyers that attracts praise for its ‘excellent advice’ and ‘extremely good response times’. The ‘highly experienced and commercially savvyKevin Palmer, who also serves as a tribunal judge, handles TUPE, restructurings, director and senior executive exits and High Court proceedings across a variety of industries. The team was strengthened with the arrival of senior associate Beth Baird from Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP in September 2016. Laura Jackson is also recommended. Palmer and Basra defended Kesgrave Hall against a discrimination claim by a former employee who had been dismissed for gross misconduct. Together with associate Clare Barlow, Palmer advised W E Deane on TUPE and redundancy issues stemming from Marks & Spencer’s change of supply structure. Other clients include The Guardian correspondent Mike Selvy as well as Essex Auto Group, Aspire Media, Poundfield Products and Milsom Hotels.

Thompson Smith and Puxon’s ‘excellent’ employment practice advises both businesses and private clients on contractual, procedural and organisational matters as well as acting in disputes arising from TUPE, employee rights, whistleblowing, employers’ liability, unfair dismissal, redundancy and discrimination. Colchester-based Richard Portergrasps the details of a situation very quickly and provides prompt guidance’. He is supported by solicitor Sam Welham, who handles tribunals and litigation related to accidents and stress at work as well as employment issues arising from business transfers.

Pinney Talfourd LLP fields a ‘very practical, forward-thinking, responsive and reliable’ employment practice that is noted for its ‘professionalism in all areas’. Stephen Eccles’s team, based in Upminster, Hornchurch and Brentwood, is active in the professional, financial, healthcare and charity sectors and regularly handles litigation regarding unfair dismissal, discrimination, breach of restrictive covenants and TUPE matters. The lawyers are also experienced in handling team moves and other strategic matters. Senior associate Bushra Elzubeir handles breaches of contract and franchise-related employment matters, respectively. ‘Efficient, knowledgeable and communicative’ associate Alexander Pearce represented a residential care home against a notice of underpayment concerning the national minimum wage. Pearce also handled a disciplinary investigation for a media equipment hiring company whose employee diverted assignments away to competitors and arranged discounts without authority. Eccles supervised on both matters. Abbey Developments, Brook Street Food Service, Motorvations Projects and Purified Air are also clients. Amy Leite joined Aquabridge Law.

Palmersis a solid and reliable provider of employment law advice’ and provides ‘an excellent level of service’. Associate solicitor Lara Murray in Basildon ‘is very committed to her clients; hardworking and calm under pressure’. She represents both private and business clients regarding discrimination and unfair dismissal claims (for example in tribunals), and is experienced in handling TUPE issues and redundancies. Other areas of expertise includes handling annual employment reviews. Recent highlights include acting for the claimant in disability discrimination and unfair dismissal claims against a hotel business and assisting an international manufacturing company with the review of its UK business, collective redundancies and the election of employee representatives. Murray also handled whistleblowing and unfair dismissal claims for a haulage company and represented a claimant in an unfair dismissal claim arising from a TUPE transfer and pregnancy discrimination.

The employment practice at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP in Southend-on-Sea is led by Polly Plant, who provides end-to-end employment advice, handles TUPE transactions as well as appeals against dismissal and tribunals. Associate solicitor Hayley Dear joined in July 2016 from Blake Morgan LLP and has experience in negotiating and drafting employment agreements and termination packages, as well as advising on disciplinary and grievance procedures. Recent matters include the representation of a claimant in a constructive dismissal claim arising from disability discrimination due to the client’s leukaemia. The team also provides day-to-day consultation and documentation to a local healthcare instruments company, as well as advising several residential care homes on TUPE and Care Quality Commission matters.

Tees Law’s employment team impresses by its ‘knowledgeable, realistic and pragmatic approach’. It has a particularly strong reputation in the agricultural, educational and professional sectors, where it acts for healthcare practices and accountancy firms. Further niche experience includes handling fitness-to-practice matters and civil aviation suspension cases. The ‘meticulous, robust and practicalRobert Whitaker advises on TUPE matters and restructurings; in a recent highlight, Whitaker advised on employment issues arising from the merger of his client, the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, with the Institute of Fundraising. Associate Katherine Jameson, who ‘fights very hard in her client’s best interests’ and ‘dispenses advice in a down-to-earth way’, advised three dentists on restrictive covenants contained in their previous employment contracts and breach of data protection claims from the previous employer. ‘Patient and good-humoured’ associate Jonathan Insley focuses on litigation and whistleblowing disputes, having defended a company against constructive unfair dismissal and breach of contract claims worth £450,000 from a former employee in a tribunal.

The employment practice at Wortley Byers LLP in Brentwood primarily advises on disciplinary, grievance and redundancy procedures. Partner Wendy Beach and associate Sarah Stanyer have additional experience in obtaining injunctive relief and defending claims regarding breaches of post-termination restrictions and data misuse. The practice also handles issues stemming from the Working Time Regulations and Agency Worker Regulations. Together with managing partner and contract lawyer Lucy Folley, Stanyer advised the CIO of Brentwood School on contentious performance and sickness management issues as well as pre-termination negotiations and settlement agreements. Clients include Chigwell London, Athona, Surrey Downs Gold Club, Shadworth Pharmaceutical and Moody Homes.

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Legal Developments in South East for Employment: Essex

  • TRANSFER OF UNDERTAKINGS (PROTECTION OF EMPLOYMENT) AND AGE DISCRIMINATION

    I have been asked to cover the topic of Employment law within my half an hour speaking slot today. I have narrowed my subject down to Transfer of Undertakings and Discrimination, with the focus on providing an update on the recent spate of cases on service provision change and on the important developments in the law of age discrimination. Needless to say, in my presentation I shall not be able to cover the level of detail which is contained in my written paper, which I will leave you to read.
    - 11KBW

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