Employment Law Solutions. Expert advice... more personal

Overview

Collingwood Legal regularly deals with sensitive and high value issues involving employment law. We predominantly act for employers but also regularly advise senior executives regarding termination arrangements and business competition issues. As the work that we do is sensitive and commercially confidential we have anonymised the examples of recent work.

Case study – Defending claims for disability discrimination

Client situation and Collingwood Legal Input

We advised a Sheffield based company with regard to the dismissal of an employee and subsequently represented the client in defence of a claim by that employee at Employment Tribunal for disability discrimination and victimisation, which attract unlimited compensation. The defence involved close analysis of the legislation and we raised legal arguments as to whether the claimant was ‘disabled’ at the time of the alleged treatment.

Outcome and benefit to the client

Following our challenges to the legal basis of the claim it was withdrawn by the Claimant with no compensation being paid to her and saving our client significant costs by avoiding a Tribunal hearing.

Case study - Advising on a large scale restructuring and redundancy exercise

Client situation and Collingwood Legal Input

A Further Education College, which employed over 1400 staff, wished to embark on a large scale restructuring and redundancy process and issue of revised terms of employment. We supported the College at the early stages of the proposal, provided advice and prepared all documentation in order to comply with the section 188 TULR(C)A 1992 process and advised on collective consultation with recognised Trade Unions.

Outcome and benefit to the client

Following extensive collective consultation the Unions' agreement to the changes was secured. The exercise concluded with all changes being implemented and no claims being lodged against the College.

Case study – Defending a whistle blowing claim

Client situation and Collingwood Legal Input

We advised a North East based limited company in respect of a claim brought by an employee who worked for them for only 8 weeks who claimed to have been dismissed as a result of whistleblowing and claimed compensation of over £200,000. We defended the claim robustly and represented the client at numerous hearings which included six preliminary hearings prior to a full hearing lasting eight days in May 2015. This was a contentious and difficult claim to manage particularly as the Claimant was acting in person. The case involved preparing witness statements for around 15 individuals and lasted for 18 months.

Outcome and benefit to the client

We secured the best possible outcome for the client in the circumstances - all claims were dismissed by the Tribunal and subsequently a costs award was made in favour of our client.

Case Study – TUPE advice

Client situation and Collingwood Legal Input

Collingwood Legal advised a national training and employment skills provider operating a wide range of skills and employability programmes, including government programmes, in relation to their obligations under TUPE. We supported this company in the second generation outsourcing of a government contract for services, affecting approximately 180 individuals. We provided advice in connection with the risks and liabilities under TUPE in relation to the client’s employees and subcontractors and prepared correspondence for the client to issue to the Department for Work and Pensions. In addition we advised our client as regards the scope of employees to transfer to the new provider.

Outcome and benefit to the client

Our guidance enabled the client to assess risks and prepare appropriately to ensure a smooth transfer with no resulting claims.

Case Study – Business protection issues

Client situation and Collingwood Legal Input

Collingwood Legal acted for an accountancy practice based in the North West of England in defending claims brought by the previous employer of two partners in this business for breach of restrictive covenants following the move of numerous members of staff from their previous practice to join them at their new practice. The stakes in respect of this issue were extremely significant for our client and could, if the issues had progressed and succeeded, have been fatal for the continuation of this business. The client faced aggressive tactics from its previous employer through their solicitors.

Outcome and benefit to the client

Through our advice, and negotiation, we were able to warn off the previous employer against the injunctive proceedings and litigation threatened without any payment of compensation. Our client is now able to continue its business without threat of such legal action being taken in future.

Case Study - Contracts and policy updates

Client situation and Collingwood Legal Input

Our client, the UK based operation of a global metal company, required a review and substantial redraft of its contracts of employment and policies to ensure they were fit for purpose commercially and legally. As we have worked with the company for many years we understood the organisation, its structures and the roles fulfilled by employees. We worked hand in hand with the project lead to develop a suite of documents which are legally compliant and afforded the company the flexibility and protection it needed. We also supported the client in securing the workforce’s agreement to the new terms.

Outcome and benefit to the client

Working in partnership with our client, in an efficient and effective manner, we created contracts and polices which better protect its business in a bid to pre-empt and prevent problems rather than react to them.

Case Study - Senior executive termination

Client situation and Collingwood Legal Input

Collingwood Legal regularly advises senior executives regarding terms of departure from organisations. All such matters have to be dealt with sensitively, particularly as in such circumstances there may be significant confrontation and dispute between the parties as it is in neither parties interests, from a reputation point of view, for such a dispute to become public. One such matter we dealt with in the last year involved an extremely high profile and award winning chief executive of a large organisation who fell into dispute with his board.

Outcome and benefit to the client

We were able to deal with matters sensitively and promptly to reach an agreed outcome under the terms of a negotiated settlement agreement securing him a significant six figure sum.

Case Study - Training

Client situation and Collingwood Legal Input

We were delighted to secure the opportunity to deliver training for HR professionals at North Yorkshire County Council. The brief was wide – from holiday pay, alternative employment in redundancy to agile working and everything in between. We reviewed their policies, analysed the law and prepared an interactive training session for over 60 delegates delivered across two half day sessions.

Outcome and benefit to the client

According to the HR Director at North Yorkshire County Council:

"The half day training session that Collingwood Legal created for us and delivered was everything that I had hoped for, a professional yet practical session providing some really useful food for thought and delivered in an engaging style"