Employment in Guernsey

Carey Olsen

At Carey Olsen, clients appreciate the ‘whole-team approach and support provided through the administration and management‘ of their employment matters. The group has a strength in advising on the employment aspects of corporate acquisitions, but it is most noted for representing claimants and defendants in employment-related disputes, where practice head Elaine Gray  ‘s experience comes to the fore; while Mark Dunster  handles employment issues that cross over with regulatory and criminal law. Other names to note are counsel Natasha Newell , who focuses on commercial employment law and regulatory issues, and associate Lois Madden, whose additional expertise includes data protection.

Practice head(s):

Elaine Gray

Other key lawyers:

Mark Dunster; Natasha Newell; Lois Madden

Testimonials

‘Strong local knowledge, fees very reasonable in terms of ROI, I felt like I was being advised in such a way as to deliver the best possible value for money.’

‘I found the associate who dealt with my case extremely knowledgeable and personable, with good local knowledge, which was vital in my case. I also received good advice on the most likely outcomes of my case and the best possible resolution from my perspective.’

‘Excellent communications and obvious intent to keep the client informed and up-to-date. A clear and transparent practice to ensure I was aware of cost and spend attributed to my case throughout the process. Key documentation electronically available efficiently in pace with case developments and timeline.’

‘I welcomed the whole team approach and support provided through the administration and management of my personal case. My assigned lawyer Advocate Elaine Grey was outstanding dedicated and fully committed, which left me with a huge amount of confidence at a very vulnerable time for me.’

‘I was referred to the Carey Olsen Employment practice on the basis that they are one of the best on the island.’

‘Lois Madden was my primary contact. She was understanding and empathetic during a difficult period. Knowledgeable of the applicable areas of law and legislation and experienced in the possible outcomes when discussing differing approaches and scenarios. Lois was easy to work with and responsive on email and calls.’

‘Carey Olsen has a long established presence in the area of Guernsey employment advice. As such they have built up considerable experience across a broad range of of employment scenarios. As such they add considerable value and support in “one-off” employee situations which a business may only face infrequently.’

‘Elaine Gray is a leader in her field. One of the most respected employment lawyers on the island.’

Walkers

The Walkers team works on a pan-Channel Island basis, handling the spectrum of contentious and non-contentious issues facing employers. The group, under the able leadership of Sarah Ash ('proactive and exceptional at identifying solutions and resolutions'), is knowledgeable in new developments in Guernsey's discrimination and equalities laws. Senior counsel Victoria Pratt specialises in data protection, executive exits, team moves and employment matters associated with regulated financial services businesses. In October 2021, Jenny Brunton joined from Law at Work, bringing with her substantial experience in tribunal claims.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Ash

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Pratt; Jenny Brunton

Testimonials

Exceptional sector knowledge, supported by a diverse team to ensure full cover and perspective is available. Really proactive, meaning that issues can be identified early on and managed effectively.’

Sarah Ash has been my key contact and she stands out as a partner rather than a service provider. Sarah regularly steers me through potentially tricky areas and helps me to ensure that my company is on the right track. She is proactive and exceptional at identifying solutions and resolutions.

Accessible and friendly team. Always there to pick up the phone to advise and always confidently provides reliable advice when we need it the most. Also hugely grateful for their regular employment law coffee clubs and webinars which are on trend, relatable and easy to understand. Head and shoulders above competitors.’

The Walkers team combine their undoubted technical knowledge of the employment sector in Guernsey but in a way that recognises that ultimately we are dealing with real people. This comes through in their application of the law to the particular matter at hand. In our business we always want to do right by our employees no matter what the particular issue may be.’

We deal with Sarah Ash and Victoria Pratt. They are both very responsive and helpful and often act as a sounding board on a no cost basis where they can point us in the right direction or simply affirm a position we have taken. They are both highly personable and empathetic we sets the right tone for how we deal with our employees. No question is ever “stupid” and they take the time to put their advice into context.’

The team has helped us on a few issues in last few years. significant experience in the Guernsey employment sector. Engaging and collaborative approach, able to pivot and prioritize resource where time sensitive and deliver positive outcomes that are cost effective.’

Victoria Pratt and Sara Ash will always pick up the phone when you need their help and are always able to advise on any new issue and guide us as the employer through the process to adopt.’

Appleby

Appleby fields a crown dependencies-wide employment team led from Guernsey by Richard Sheldon, which services clients across jurisdictions providing advice on corporate, regulatory and data protection issues. The team is noted for high-profile executive severance matters, in addition to immigration and business licensing, contract drafting, policies and procedures. Niall MacDonald, who joined from Walkers in September 2021, has experience in unfair dismissal claims, as well as assisting with the spectrum of non-contentious employment mandates.

Practice head(s):

Richard Sheldon

Other key lawyers:

Niall MacDonald

Testimonials

‘For me it is the no-nonsense pragmatism and a very collaborative approach. Working with Appleby means that it feels like an extension of our in-house team.’

‘Will always make themselves available, often at short notice. I have worked with other lawyers who are so risk-averse that they end up being unwilling to advise. I am given the options and advised of the pros and cons which then helps me to form a decision.’

‘Highly responsive, straight talking and well prepared.’

‘Richard Sheldon – dynamic, responsive and highly supportive.’

‘We have worked closely with Richard Sheldon on a variety of issues which required guidance. Richard is down to earth, taking the time to ensure we understand the guidance provides the pros and cons and uses examples to further embed the guidance. His manner and timely attention to a guidance request is exemplary.’

Key clients

Aurigny

Canaccord Genuity Wealth

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang

Eversheds Sutherland

HSBC Group

International Energy Group Limited

PraxisIFM

Sanne Group

Suntera Global

Work highlights

  • Advised Suntera Global on the acquisition of Nedgroup Trust, a fiduciary services provider in Jersey and Guernsey from Nedbank Private Wealth. As part of the wider transaction the employment team advised on the deal, which included undertaking due diligence of the target group across Guernsey and Jersey, as well, negotiation and finalisation of the transaction documentation with the Seller.
  • Advised PraxisIFM on the sale of their Fund Administration division to Sanne Group Plc. As part of the wider transaction the employment team advised on the deal, which included assisting with responses to due diligence enquiries relating to both Guernsey and Jersey, negotiation and finalisation of the transaction documentation with the Buyer as well as the consultation process with staff.  
  • Appointed, following a competitive tender process, to draft the official Statutory Guidance on behalf of the States of Guernsey to accompany new Discrimination Law.

Mourant

Mourant's team is characterised by the 'gravitas' of team leader counsel Rachel Guthrie and senior associate Hana Plsek, whose practice spans proceedings relating to unfair dismissal, sex discrimination and harassment, litigation outside the employment tribunal and senior exits, as well as issues related to employee benefits, pensions and share plans, redundancies and maternity support issues.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Guthrie

Other key lawyers:

Hana Plsek

Testimonials

‘Always helpful, friendly, approachable and professional.’

Rachel Guthrie and Hana Plsek provide first class training and knowledge seminars that are invaluable to HR practitioners.’

Rachel Guthrie was supportive but at the same time sensible and obviously very knowledgeable. She was concerned to ensure that the client’s interests were foremost and recognised. She did not need to ‘score points’ nor waste time showing off her obvious experience and expertise.’

What I like about this employment team is that they take the time to get to know you and understand your knowledge and experience, to in turn work out how best to serve you. This is most obvious when you need something quickly and they provide you everything you need without over doing it – it makes for a great team approach when it matters. I trust them implicitly and have found them a great sounding board, providing practical and pragmatic advice and guidance.’

Rachel Guthrie and Hana Plsek are different to the norm as there are no airs and graces with them ever, just solid employment law advice. They are very easy to talk to and I trust them implicitly.’

Rachel Guthrie and Hana Plsek, the team has two people who would be partners in any other firm and who are able to deal with the full range of problems at the speed required and without any bottlenecks.’

Both Rachel Guthrie and Hana Plsek are calm, authoritative and commercial in their approach to any problem. Nothing fazes them as they have seen it all. In the high octane world of employment disputes, such gravitas is a god-send and missing from other Guernsey firms. ‘

Hana Plsek has a very commercial approach and will “say it as it is” when needed. She does not take the easy route of acquiescence when a more robust response is appropriate. Hana also goes the extra mile to make me think of alternative approaches so that the outcome is improved. Her communication is direct and forthright which is rarely seen in the legal advice market.’

Key clients

Saffery Champness

Work highlights

  • Advised Saffery Champness on the employment aspects of the sale of its fund administration arm to MJ Hudson.

Ogier

Ogier‘s team works on a pan-island basis, bringing together lawyers in Jersey and Guernsey to advise on contentious and non-contentious employment issues relating to employee benefit trusts, pensions and family offices, as well as tribunal claims and matters arising from M&A activity. Rachel DeSanges heads the Guernsey team, and as well as significant expertise in employment law, brings to bear knowledge in data protection. DeSanges is supported by Sandie Lyne, who draws on her experience as a former public official in Guernsey tribunal proceedings to handle complex employment dispute issues. Head of the dispute resolution department Mathew Newman  takes the lead in employment issues pertaining to insolvency and restructurings. Joining the team from Carey Olsen in March 2021, senior associate Fay Warrilow  is an employment and regulatory law expert.

Practice head(s):

Rachel DeSanges

Other key lawyers:

Sandie Lyne; Mathew Newman; Fay Warrilow

Testimonials

‘Fay Warrilow was attentive and and understanding of the situation. Her practical advice on ancillary areas and local housing matters was also useful.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for an international hotel chain in relation to their first and landmark hotel at a major development in St Peter Port, Guernsey.
  • Advised a pan-island energy provider acting against another large energy provider in relation to the resignation of a senior executive moving employment to the client’s company.
  • Acting for a public official who undertakes a dual role as a regulator appointed pursuant to a statutory appointment (in both Guernsey and Jersey) and who also acts as an employee of the States of Guernsey.

AFR Advocates

AFR Advocates‘ group is led by veteran employment lawyer Paul Richardson, who regularly represents individuals in high-value directors’ disqualification actions and senior executive exits. Promoted to partner in January 2022, Robin Cowling is another lawyer to call on for contentious employment matters.

Practice head(s):

Paul Richardson; Robin Cowling