MacRoberts Employment Law Group has considerable experience in advising clients from a range
of sectors including major national utilities, education, local authorities, construction companies, charities, financial institutions and professional bodies, on a wide range of employment issues. We have extensive experience of advising in relation to contracts and policies, discipline & grievance, equality & discrimination, employment & industrial relations; whistleblowing, recruitment & selection, equal pay, severance & dismissal and TUPE and deliver training to clients on a range of topics, as well as design bespoke training, tailored to clients' specific requirements.
As with almost all legal matters, early recourse to MacRoberts’ Employment Law Group offers the best opportunity to mitigate a potentially awkward employment situation before it becomes a major concern. Our resourcefulness enables us to draw upon a range of developed solutions to a variety of problems and we deliver sensible legal advice with a business focus - we don’t deliver indigestible chunks of pure law.
In today’s increasingly litigious environment, it is fundamental to the interests of every business, large or small, that it should conduct its affairs in line with the requirements both of the Employment Rights Act and discrimination laws. Properly drafted discrimination and harassment policies, matched with appropriate systems of training and monitoring are often an employers’ only line of defence against employee allegations. Team members regularly appear before the Employment Tribunal throughout Scotland and England and represent clients in the Employment Appeal Tribunal in both Edinburgh and London. We are rarely unsuccessful at Tribunal and this is achieved by sound and robust advice in advance of any Tribunal hearing and detailed preparation and presentation.
Our Employment Law Group is quoted:
In Chambers UK 2012 as:
"This team enjoys a superb reputation for defending equal pay claims on behalf of local authority clients - 'They have always been very prompt, practical and appropriate with their advice'...'They have a pragmatic approach which assists with tough business decisions'.”
and Legal 500 2010 notes:
"...the team at MacRoberts LLP is praised for its partner-led advocacy. The group deals with all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law, and has a strong reputation for equal pay matters. The firm ‘gives positive and practical advice, couched in a sound appreciation of our business context’."
and in Chambers & Partners 2010 as follows:
"This team receives praise from both peers and clients for its excellent service. It is a strong force in employment, particularly discrimination law."
while Chambers UK 2008 notes:
"The Team garners admiration for its "speed of response and availability"
and in Legal 500 2007 as follows:
" The Team has a practical, hands-on approach and acts for several major companies"
Contracts & Policies
We have an extensive knowledge and experience of issues associated with both standard and
a-typical employees and workers, for example, fixed term, secondment, part-time and casual workers. We regularly review and advise on contractual documentation and policies for a diverse range of clients and draft and advise on various employment correspondence and specific contractual provisions such as restrictive covenants. We have a large bank of standard styles which we readily and speedily tailor for individual employers. We also offer a standard package at a low fixed-fee, which includes a template statement of employment particulars and a number of key employment policies, as well as offering individual policies for sale at a fixed cost, which can be tailored to an individual client's business.
Discipline & Grievance
We draft and review disciplinary and grievance policies and procedures and provide training and advice generally, to many clients, on the use and application of those policies and procedures. We have extensive experience in assisting employers in the application of the statutory dispute resolution procedures and the handling of dismissals, in many cases helping our clients avoid unfair dismissal claims, and are helping clients get to grips with the implications of the new ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline & Grievance which has come into effect with the statutory procedures being repealed on 6 April 2009, together with the transitional provisions which apply. These mean that the statutory procedures will be with us for some time to come.
Employment & Industrial Relations
We advise clients on the management of change, changing terms and conditions and on redundancy situations that range from total business closures, re-organisations, through collective consultation to smaller scale redundancies. In this regard, we have significant experience in guiding clients through the entire redundancy process, providing template letters and scripts, as required. We are also considered experts in the termination and re-engagement process.
We also advise a range of employers on issues arising from collective bargaining and work closely with MacRoberts’ Pensions & Employee Benefits Group, which provides advice on a range of non-retirement benefit and incentive schemes for employees, including HM Revenue & Customs tax advantaged arrangements and arrangements attracting no special tax reliefs. We also advise on industrial action and the associated notification and ballots.
Equality & Discrimination
Our employment group is consulted regularly on matters relating to the various discrimination statutes and have extensive experience in relation to tribunal claims involving claims of discrimination.
Public Interest Disclosure ("whistleblowing")
We have drafted and advised on policies and procedures for various clients so as to enable the communication by staff of matters of concern to the appropriate persons, internally and externally, under the heading of “public interest disclosure”. We are also experienced in dealing with tribunal claims involving a "whistleblowing" claim.
Public Sector & Education
The team is renowned for its public sector expertise. As well as our equal pay work, we advise on issues concerning, for example, exclusions and student disciplinaries.
Our Education practice is quoted in Legal 500 2011, noting:
"MacRoberts LLP's Education Group 'offers the reassurance of strength through depth - it is an effective and informed team'.
Recruitment & Selection
We draft and advise clients on the use of letters of engagement, job advertisements and recruitment materials to ensure compliance with legislation and, in particular, discrimination legislation. We have experience of responding to discrimination questionnaires lodged by unsuccessful applicants and often succeed in avoiding potential claims as a result.
We regularly review recruitment policies and procedures to ensure their compliance with the law and relevant Codes of Practice.
We have the largest public sector employment practice in Scotland and currently act for 21 of the 32 Scottish Authorities in the defence of multiple equal pay claims and the introduction of non-discriminatory pay and grading systems. Our advisory work also involves analysis and commentary on the compliance by Public Authorities with the various obligations under the sex, race and disability equality duties.
Legal 500 2011 quoted:
[Local Government] "MacRoberts LLP advises on the full range of local government matters, and has particular expertise in Employment Law."
Severance & Dismissal
We regularly advise and manage severance and dismissal cases on behalf of employer clients
including the preparation of “scripts” and guidance materials for managers. We also advise on exit packages for senior executives, draft Compromise Agreements and have experience in successfully pursuing interdicts, damages for breach of post-termination restrictions and dawn raids.
Our team regularly advise on the implications and application of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (“TUPE” Regulations). We acted in the Hynd v Morrison Bishop case which has established new law from the Inner House of the Court of Session on the question of whether a transferor can dismiss fairly for the ETO reason of the transferee (it cannot).
We also work closely with our colleagues in the Pensions & Employee Benefits, Projects and
Corporate Groups on TUPE issues arising in transaction work.
MacRoberts has led the way in employment law training, looking at innovative ways to engage the manager and encourage responsibility for making the employment relationship work well. Training frontline managers is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of employment tribunal claims against an employer and our Employment team are heavily involved in preparing and delivering training programmes that combine management skills with employment law.
We design training for clients with the objective of equipping team leaders with the knowledge and skills to deal with the challenges of people management. This led us to establish Potential Management Training. We recognise that many factors present themselves again and again as being the reason behind the breakdown of employment relationships and that workplace culture can affect how people behave. We understand that beliefs and motivators drive behaviour and that the ability to communicate effectively with, motivate and influence team members are essential skills for managers.
All our trainers specialise in employment law and have up-to-date in-depth knowledge and deliver training in a very user-friendly and effective manner, often using interactive case studies to reinforce knowledge.
Our training is highly rated and here’s what some recent delegates had to say:
“This was a stand-out, for the quality of presentation, quality of content, and
“I thought it was excellent. The points were clear and presented in an easy to understand
way. I was inspired into action.”
“Excellent value for money. Corresponding handouts are also very good”
“The modular programme, which ‘Potential’ delivered to our management team, has exceeded
all of my expectations and is very highly thought of throughout the business. The
‘Potential’ programme was enthusiastically received by the company management group, and it
is my intention to re-run the programme each year as a mandatory new managers’ event”.
For further information on Potential Management Training, click here and for
further information on our tailored in-house employment training, please click here.