It Pays To Get Expert Employment Law Advice In The Current Economic Climate

16 August 2010

Legal developments can present a number of potential pitfalls for employers.

Expert employment law advice is a cost-effective way for companies to minimise their financial exposure as it helps to anticipate and deal with employment related issues that may arise.

A recent example is that disciplinary hearings ­ and the policies and procedures that surround them ­ need to be treated more cautiously than may previously have been the case.

Changes have arisen following the replacement of the statutory disciplinary and grievance procedures with the Acas Code of Practice in April 2009 and have been highlighted in recent cases.
Relatively innocent breaches in a contractual disciplinary procedure can have far-reaching implications and result in substantial costs for an employer.

Director and Partner at Kervin & Barnes Solicitors, Gareth Kervin, says: “Unfortunately, employers often come to us after a disciplinary process has concluded or even following receipt of a tribunal claim. Although a claim can be dealt with, early employment law advice can often help a company avoid claims arising. At Kervin & Barnes Solicitors, we aim to be proactive rather than reactive advisors, and always seek to give early employment law guidance to prevent potential claims against our clients.”

He added “However, we recognise that this cannot always be the case and both employers and employees alike come to us to help them resolve their employment disputes.”

Director and Partner at Kervin & Barnes Solicitors, Gareth Kervin said: “My best advice would be to seek employment legal advice as soon as a dispute arises. That way, it can be dealt with in a controlled manner that brings minimal stress to both the employer and the employee.”

Kervin & Barnes Solicitors continue to help companies avoid reputational damage, the loss of costly management time and assist with the smooth running of daily operations.

As a result Kervin & Barnes Solicitors have many high profile clients including Elizabeth Arden, Danone and P&O Ferrymasters.

P&O Ferrymasters’ Group Human Resources Manager, Matthew Went, said: “P&O Ferrymasters have been using the services of Kervin & Barnes for some considerable time. The added value comes from the insightful and pragmatic advice that has been given to the contentious matters that have arisen. The responsiveness and ability to offer practical solutions to mitigate risk and/or achieve organisational aims separates Kervin & Barnes from the competition.”

One aspect of an employment solicitor’s role is to advise companies on drafting employee contracts, handbooks and individual policies.

Tailored employment law advice from a specialist firm such as Kervin & Barnes Solicitors will guide employers through the disciplinary procedures and options available.

Furthermore employers can be advised on the best way to manage the employee’s expectations, which can help dissuade the employee from bringing a claim against the employer.

Fairness may require an employer to allow representation by a lawyer at disciplinary hearings and an employment solicitor can offer guidance as to whether this will be necessary.

Understandably, some employers are reluctant to allow lawyers to participate in disciplinary issues, fearing that the whole process will become more formal and legalistic.

However, it allows the employer to hear the points that might later be made by the employee in a Tribunal.

If you require employment law advice or wish to find out more about Kervin & Barnes Solicitors, please contact our specialist London team today.