Employment: employee/union firms in North West

Gorvins Solicitors

Gorvins Solicitors’ team has recently seen an increase in work relating to mass redundancy exercises, bulk compromise agreements, and settlement agreements for both senior executives and lower-level employees. Led by David Walton, the department also assists employees with their Employment Tribunal claims. A niche area of expertise for the firm is advising employees and their families affected by cancer. The firm is also particularly active on maternity and pregnancy discrimination matters, of which Danielle Ayres - who was promoted to partner in 2019 - is considered a go-to lawyer.

Practice head(s):

David Walton

Other key lawyers:

Danielle Ayres

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP

Headed by Kevin McKenna, the team at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP handles a variety of employee-related matters but has particular expertise in complex Employment Tribunal litigation involving whistleblowing and discrimination, senior executive terminations, and matters relating to confidential information and restrictive covenants. In 2019, it undertook a number of High Court injunction matters, responding to claims involving post-termination restrictive covenants.

Practice head(s):

Kevin McKenna

Other key lawyers:

Sally Bird; Mark McKeating

Testimonials

‘Competent, professional and reliable. I would recommend to friends and family.’ 

‘I had a great experience and positive outcome with Kevin McKenna regarding an employment tribunal case.’ 

 

Leigh Day

Headed by Chris Benson, the employment team at Leigh Day has considerable expertise in advising union members in claims for equal pay against both public and private sector employers, occasionally supporting union causes in high-stakes litigation. The team also acts for non-union clients, including senior executives and high-level employees, who approach the firm on an individual basis. The 'formidable' pairing of Lauren Lougheed and Linda Wong, who have been spearheading the team’s high-profile equal pay claims against Asda and Sainsbury’s, were both promoted to partner in April 2020. Associate solicitors Mike Cain and Ryan Bradshaw are also highly regarded.

Practice head(s):

Chris Benson

Testimonials

‘The employment team is groundbreaking in its pursuit of gig worker claims and also in respect of holiday pay claims. It acts for groups of claimants and for trade unions pushing the scope of the law.’ 

‘Ryan Bradshaw who shows fantastic judgement, a commercial approach and marshalls large cases with devastating attention to detail.’ 

‘The northern office is the powerhouse behind the supermarket litigation. It combines an excellent knowledge of the key legal issues with an unrivalled ability to manage the logistics of huge pieces of litigation. They are far and away the standout claimant firm in the country.’ 

‘Lauren Lougheed is a terrific and dedicated lawyer who is able to drive a team forward whilst juggling a vast number of competing requirements. Linda Wong is a marvellous and committed lawyer who is absolutely unrelenting on behalf of her clients. As a pair, they are formidable.’ 

‘Leigh Day are incredibly knowledgeable in this area of law having conducted some notable cases which focus on equal pay and police pensions, to name a couple. Their thirst for justice is what makes Leigh Day stand out.’ 

‘Mike Cain is incredibly knowledgeable and has a passion for employment law that is very refreshing and reassuring to see. This is what, to us, makes Leigh Day stand out from other firms. Their passion means that cases are dealt with promptly and with precision.’ 

‘The team have a very good knowledge of my issues and keep me informed of any progress in my case. They treat me like an individual and not just another case to work on. With other companies we have had dealings with, we felt that once the phone had gone down, they forgot about us.’ 

‘Ryan Bradshaw is by far the best solicitor we have had. He will even phone me on his days off just to keep me in the loop.’ 

‘I have found their dedication to clients outstanding. First-class technical expertise coupled with always being willing to go the extra mile made me glad to have chosen them.’ 

Key clients

Asda Equal Group Pay Claim

Sainsbury’s Group Equal Pay Claim

Insurer: Group Holiday Pay Claims

GMB: Group Holiday Pay Claims

Kwasi Afrifa

GMB: Union recognition

National Aids Trust

Work highlights

  • Representing over 40,000 individuals in their claim for sex discrimination against ASDA in one of the first private sector equal pay claims.
  • Representing approximately 3,000 individuals in their claim for sex discrimination against Sainsbury’s in one of the first private sector equal pay claims.
  • Advising and representing over 500 GMB members on claims for unpaid holiday pay from their employer, Amey Services Limited.

Linder Myers

The Sale-based employment team at Linder Myers is headed by Alan Lewis, who is adept at representing directors, senior executives and individual employees in employment disputes, including Employment Tribunal claims and High Court disputes. Race and disability discrimination, unfair dismissals, restrictive covenants, confidentiality breaches, redundancy, and TUPE issues are other key areas of strength. The department has also seen an increase in employee group actions, including claims for protective awards and enhanced redundancy payments.

Practice head(s):

Alan Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Alvey

Testimonials

‘Very capable, technical lawyers who thoroughly research the necessary law to ensure that the advice is up to date and accurate.’ 

‘Alan Lewis and Joanne Alvey are very committed individuals.’ 

 

Slater and Gordon

Splitting its time between union work and private clients, Slater and Gordon's employment team is well-versed in negotiating employment contracts, restrictive covenants, severance agreements, as well as dealing with employment disputes. Whistleblowing and negotiated exits are other key areas of strength. Private client specialist Sadiq Vohra heads the team, which includes associate Jackie Morris, who has stepped up to the plate and led on a number of matters. Clients include senior executives, university professors, doctors, teachers and other professionals, as well as trade unions and their individual members.

Practice head(s):

Sadiq Vohra

Other key lawyers:

Sharon Wardale; Jackie Morris

Work highlights

  • Represented a lead claimant police officer for failure to pay an allowance related to police dog handling that resulted from the austerity cuts.
  • Concluded a claim for positive discrimination for Matthew Furlong in Spring 2019, in a case which attracted national media attention.
  • Represented a 94-year-old D-day landing veteran who, following retirement from police service lost his wife to a brain tumour and remarried. The claimant’s current wife will be denied a widow’s pension on his death because the Police (Pensions) Regulations prevent payment to a post retirement spouse.

Thompsons Solicitors LLP

Representing some of the largest and most influential trade unions in the UK, Thompsons Solicitors LLP  has a particularly strong track record of work on employment tribunal claims, including unfair dismissal, disability discrimination, and gender pay claims. Bernie Wentworth, the employment and trade union law unit manager, leads the Liverpool and Manchester offices, the latter of which also includes supervisor and senior employment rights solicitor Matthew Pull.

Practice head(s):

Bernie Wentworth

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Pull

Key clients

Unite the union

UNISON

RMT

PCS

FBU

NUJ

RCM

POA

ASLEF

UCU

Work highlights

  • Acted for a member of Managers’ in Partnership in a successful employment tribunal claim of unfair dismissal and discrimination arising out of disability under section 15 Equality Act 2010.
  • Acted for a claimant who succeeded in bringing an employment tribunal claim for contractual redundancy pay against an NHS Trust. The Trust refused to pay her contractual redundancy entitlement because, it said, she had rejected an offer of suitable alternative employment. The tribunal disagreed and the claimant was awarded £25,000.
  • Acted for a UNISON member in a successful claim for discrimination arising from disability contrary to Section 15 of the Equality Act 2010.

KBL Solicitors LLP

KBL Solicitors LLP’s employment practice is headed by Sarah Collier, who specialises in complex discrimination and disability cases, as well as cancer in the workplace issues. She has extensive experience acting for Employment tribunal claimants on a range of matters, including unfair dismissal, wrongful and constructive dismissal, unlawful deductions from wages, equal pay, and whistleblowing.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Collier

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Taylor

Testimonials

‘Very friendly, knowledgeable staff. They are approachable and nothing is a silly question.’

‘Their approach is friendly and puts you at ease. They explains everything clearly and not in ‘legal’ speak, so it’s easy to understand.’ 

People Legal

Founded in 2019 by former Analysis Legal LLP and Addleshaw Goddard employment specialist Chris McAvoy-Newns, People Legal has got off to a strong start in its inaugural year, advising both businesses and private individuals on contentious and non-contentious employment matters. Since its inception, the practice has been instructed on TUPE transfers, dismissals, redundancies, Employment Tribunal claims, and general HR issues.

Practice head(s):

Chris McAvoy-Newns

Testimonials

‘Chris McAvoy-Newns’ level of understanding and precision of legal knowledge was exemplary, and coupled with a client-friendly approach made him, in my view, an exceptionally effective professional.’ 

‘Chris McAvoy-Newns is approachable and breaks down what is required into workable and comprehensible terminology.’ 

‘Extremely knowledgeable firm. Excellent pedigree at a fraction of the cost of city centre practices.’ 

‘Chris McAvoy-Newns is at all times extremely professional but able to put you at ease with his friendly manner. He is an experienced lawyer and always readily available to help. He is very responsible and ensures you are kept fully up to speed with cases.’ 

‘Chris McAvoy-Newns was very understanding, supportive and charitable in his time. The response to my queries was timely and always clear. Chris’ legal counsel was on point and honest, managing my expectations very well.’ 

‘I was looking for someone who could understand my serious problems at work. People Legal Limited broke down every problem, understood it and gave me appropriate advice. They are experts in what they do and my trust in their service increased in every conversation.’ 

‘People Legal, and in particular Chris McAvoy-Newns, find the perfect balance of legal astuteness and humanity to manage through the often complex and distressing nature of employee litigation.’ 

‘From the initial meeting what is clear is that the team are experienced, informed and approachable – setting things out in a straightforward manner. They are responsive, tenacious and extremely capable.’ 

‘People Legal offer pragmatic, practical employment law advice quickly and efficiently to small businesses, delivered with a personal and approachable touch.’ 

Work highlights

  • Secured six-figure settlement for senior London banker after claim of automatic unfair dismissal and protected disclosures; ordinary unfair dismissal; unlawful detriment; discrimination based on nationality and religion; direct age discrimination; indirect age discrimination and sex discrimination.
  • Advising senior university employee on claim of sex discrimination; disability discrimination; pregnancy/maternity discrimination; whistleblowing; unfair dismissal and automatic unfair dismissal.
  • Advising senior London banker on claim of constructive unfair dismissal, detrimental treatment due to protected disclosures; direct race discrimination; direct sexdiscrimination; racial harassment; victimisation and breach of the implied term of trust and confidence.