Employment

Key Contact

Claire Knowles, Employment law Partner at Acuity Law
Managing Partner
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Overview
Work
Testimonials
Meet The Team
Pricing

Managing the commercial pressures of running a business and getting the people part right can be a delicate balance. Employers are confronted daily with a range of human resource issues. For those with cross-border operations, these issues can be even more complex.

Our Employment team strives to become an efficient extension of our clients’ businesses, providing strategic, timely and commercial advice.

We help senior teams and HR professionals at every stage of the employment lifecycle, whether it’s immediate operational support as individual problems arise, strategic advice on organisational development or implementing preventative measures and solutions.

We also work closely with clients on workforce and performance issues, such as HR audits, in-house training and executive coaching programmes on all aspects of employment law, HR practices and effective management and leadership techniques.

We pride ourselves on our knowledge of our clients’ business, culture and commercial goals to deliver the best possible outcome.

Working with FTSE-listed companies, SMEs, public bodies and not-for-profit organisations, our clients rely on our technical expertise and pragmatic, straight-talking advice that offers our opinion and not just options. We also advise individuals on executive service agreements and settlement agreements.

We cover all aspects of employment law and people management:

  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Employee relations management
  • Business transfers, outsourcing and TUPE
  • Restructures and redundancies
  • Employment tribunal claims
  • Strategic workforce and succession planning
  • Share scheme and option arrangements
  • Employee status and atypical working
  • Recruitment and selection
  • Pay, reward and benefits
  • Mediation and dispute resolution
  • Contractual arrangements and policy documents
  • Advising Lux Group in defending Employment Tribunal proceedings, managing an internal whistleblowing review and supporting a restructure and redundancy processes, as well as ad-hoc employment and governance matters
  • Advising renewable energy company Dulas Limited with ad-hoc employment matters, including dismissals, capability procedures, and disciplinaries, as well as preparing and drafting agreements, including but not limited to, apprenticeship, secondment and consultancy agreements
  • Advising technology company Vista Retail Support Limited in dealing with an employee with serious mental health complications by mitigating risks, as well as on the exit of an employee on long-term sickness absence, facilitated via a settlement agreement
  • Providing employment-focused corporate support to Premier Forest Products in securing three high-profile acquisitions, including specialised panel processing business Decor Panel; PWIDF, distinguished for its bespoke fire doors; and North-East Sheets & Panels Ltd (NESP), a County Durham-based manufacturer of made-to-measure doors, panels, cabinets and worktops
  • Advising Alamo Group Europe Limited in connection with the management of internal grievances, policy drafting and review, holiday pay queries, employee terms and conditions, advising on trade union-related issues, and ad hoc employment matters
  • Providing employment support for the HR needs of Sinclair Garages Limited, Bluestone Resorts Wales Limited, Tri-Wall UK Limited, Student Cribs, Rituals Cosmetics UK Limited, Cadwyn Housing Association and Portman Healthcare Limited
  • Supporting Cardiff International Airport on a range of Employment and HR issues, including a large suite of training sessions
  • Defending RTI Group Services Limited against a former director and a former employee who claimed that they had been dismissed for having blown the whistle. Both parties also claimed unfair dismissal
  • Advising Brickability Group PLC in connection with the employment due diligence aspects of the acquisitions of Beacon Roofing Limited, Modular Clay Products Limited, and the combined acquisition of E.T. Clay Products Limited and Heritage Clay Tiles Limited
  • Providing ongoing support to Bright Network in navigating regulatory requirements and commercial negotiations for the supply of its Bright Network Technology Academy graduates to businesses across the UK
  • Acting as an extension to Portman Healthcare Limited, providing the company with full support on all matters relating to its people. This has included:
    • Drafting and advising on template contracts of employment and associate agreements for self-employed clinicians
    • Strategy for managing IR35 and the engagement of self-employed clinicians
    • Immigration support on bringing international clinicians into the UK
    • General advice on disciplinaries, grievances, capability management and sickness absence management procedures. Day-to-day advice on a variety of HR queries
    • TUPE advice following the acquisition of various practices
    • Redundancy and restructures
    • Bonus schemes for senior executives
  • Advising a local authority on a complex, multiple claim employment tribunal dispute, involving allegations of unfair dismissal, whistleblowing detriment and sex discrimination against 11 named individuals
  • Supporting the senior management team of Vista Retail Limited in a dual employment legal counsel and HR business partnering function, work which has included various inward and outward TUPEs
  • Advising a global engineering group on various contractual issues, policies and procedures, working time regulations, restrictive covenants, industrial action and employment tribunal claims
  • Advising a manufacturing company on employment status issues as part of its global operations
  • Advising a leading fintech company on settlement agreements and negotiations following a restructure
  • Advising a private European investment firm on strategic people management issues within its group companies, including exit arrangements for a number of directors and shareholders
  • Advising a premium shower manufacturer on its employee relations, including pregnancy and maternity rights, disciplinary and grievances and a breach of contract
  • Advising a global shipping and maritime company on sickness absence management, TUPE, employment status and performance management
  • Advising international businesses in the creative industries on sexual harassment allegations, other grievances and an employment tribunal claim for constructive unfair dismissal
  • Advising a leading high-tech manufacturer on sickness absence management, dismissal processes and an employment tribunal claim
  • Advising a sports business on a restructuring process, TUPE and a disciplinary investigation
  • Advising a company in the health and social care sector on staffing issues and complex disciplinary action
  • Advising various employers on GDPR-compliant policies and procedures
  • Advising a local authority on employment tribunal claims over allegations of constructive unfair dismissal, disability discrimination, whistleblowing, victimisation and harassment

Accolades

  • The Employment team is ranked Band 2 by Chambers and Partners
  • The Employment team is ranked Tier 2 in The Legal 500

Testimonials

“I think they represent good value for money.”

“The team is responsive, proactive and supportive.”

“The team has a good balance of experience and developing lawyers.”

“With Acuity Law they always help me do the right thing and always help me minimise the risk to the company. Over the past 12 months we have achieved significant change for the business with no negative repercussions.”

“The team has the mix of professional expertise, reliability, availability and outcome that means I go back to them repeatedly. They are completely service minded which makes being a client an armchair of an experience, but at no loss to the clarity or the honesty of their advice.”

“When I work with the Acuity Employment team it feels like I am working with any other section of my in-house legal team. They integrate seamlessly, orient to the issue and present solutions on behalf of the organisation, rather than just a lawyer advising a client.”

“They have a good understanding of our business and the challenges we face within the industry. I really appreciate the pragmatism that Acuity offers us as a business.”

“The service is always well communicated and a time frame clearly laid out. They go the extra mile to make sure we are well looked after.”

“I have always found them to be very up to date with employment and legislation changes and they give us practical advice on implementation.”

“The team is very knowledgeable and responsive.”

“It provides a very high quality and personable service.”

“I fundamentally trust the team is because they are moulded in the image of their exceptional leader. Claire has that magical combination of a law library in her head, availability that suggests she has more hours in the day than other people, and a success rate to be envied.”

Claire Knowles, Employment Partner at Acuity Law

Claire Knowles

Managing Partner

Chris Aldridge

Partner

Juliette Franklin

Legal Director

Ruth Dawson-Jones

HR Consultant

Adam McGlynn

Associate

Swyn Llyr

Solicitor
sam-evans

Sam Evans

Trainee Solicitor

Employment Tribunals

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal will generally be as follows: 
  • Simple case: £7,000 –10,000 (excluding VAT) 
  • Medium complexity case: £10,000 – £20,000 (excluding VAT)
  • High complexity case: £20,000+ (excluding VAT) 
We will tell you at the outset whether we initially consider your case to be simple or more complex. However, it is important that you understand that this is subject to change until we have had the opportunity to review all of the relevant papers and potentially meet with your key witnesses. Factors that could make a case more complex include: 
 
  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim 
  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person 
  • Making or defending a costs application 
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties) 
  • The number of witnesses and documents If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer 
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal 
  • Claims that include a discrimination allegation under the Equality Act 2010 
There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of £1000 – 2000 per day (depending on the seniority of the lawyer accompanying you, excluding VAT). Generally, we would allow 1-3 days for simple cases, 2-6 days for medium complex cases and 3+days for complex cases. 
 
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees or expert witnesses. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. 
 
Counsel’s fees will depend on the experience of the advocate and the complexity of the case.  
 
Our fees set out above (excluding disbursements and counsel’s fees) cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim: 
  • Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change) 
  • Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached 
  • Preparing claim or response 
  • Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party 
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process 
  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss 
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing 
  • Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents 
  • Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses 
  • Preparing bundle of documents 
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements 
  • Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list 
  • Preparation for Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel 
The stages set out above are an indication and if some of stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. In the event of an unexpected complexity, there is always the risk that your fee will increase – however we will always discuss this with you in advance if we consider that this may occur. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged on your individual needs.  
 
The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take approximately 12 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, the duration of your matter will depend on when the case is listed by the Tribunal, which could take between 6 months and 1 year. We will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses. 
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