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Defending an employment claim can be a time consuming and negative experience which detracts from the main business of running your company. The employment team at Vardags can work with you to protect your company against employment claims through a preventative strategy. Where claims happen, we are here to help you tackle them confidently and professionally.
Our team is highly experienced in dealing with both Employment Tribunal and High Court litigation. We can pursue claims on your behalf, for example, where an employee has breached restrictive covenants, or defend claims made against your business.
We always take a well thought out, tactical approach to litigation from the outset to achieve the best outcome for our clients.
The first you may know about a potential employment claim against your company is that an employee or former employee has made an early conciliation notification to ACAS. This would then trigger contact from ACAS to your company.
You are not obliged to take part in early conciliation with ACAS. You may want to take a “wait and see” approach in terms of whether the employee will proceed with a threatened claim. However, you may consider that early settlement is in your company’s best interests to save the time and expense of litigation. We can advise you on immediate tactics at the ACAS early conciliation stage.
If you elect not to take part in ACAS early conciliation, ACAS will issue a certificate with a reference number which the employee would need to enter on any future claim form to confirm that ACAS early conciliation has taken place.
There are many proactive steps that can be taken to promote claim avoidance. Training for managers can be invaluable so that managers can spot the warning signs of employment law issues at the earliest possible stage. Where managers understand the importance of involving Human Resources teams quickly, claim avoidance can be achieved.
Being alert to employment issues before they escalate is the key. If an employee appears to be disgruntled, you may wish to take the initiative of investigating the matter and going down a grievance route with a view to resolving matters early.
Ensuring that there is a thorough paper trail documenting processes followed and discussions at meetings is also an important part of claim avoidance. We can assist with drafting the relevant documentation which offers your business the best possible protection against legal risk.
Whilst we can take a tough approach to our cases where needed, we also understand the benefits of mediation to resolve issues. The upsides of mediation are clear in terms of saving time, cost and preserving important working relationships or guarding against reputational damage.
We have strong relationships with excellent private mediators and can make recommendations about who is best placed to run a mediation. We also have considerable experience of participating in judicial mediations with our clients to bring employment claims to a sensible conclusion.
We recommend that you contact us urgently if you receive an Employment Tribunal claim as there is a strict timeline of 28 days to enter a response. We can help you to prepare the ET3 response and put forward your best defence to the claim.
It is important to put your best case forward from the start. Your company will be bound by the contents of its defence and the position it has taken in response to the claim which has been issued. Contradictions further down the line could damage credibility and ultimately result in losing the claim against your organisation. We can help you get the ET3 right.
It is important to get input from all persons named in or involved in the claim from the outset and to have a clear case strategy. We can work with your Human resources team on this and will support you at all stages of the litigation.
We know which barristers work best on our cases when it comes to representation at Employment Tribunals. Choosing a barrister is a key decision and we recognise that different barristers will suit different cases and clients.
Your case may be document heavy and we can work with you to organise and list your documentation to ensure that document disclosure is an efficient and streamlined process.
Key decisions will need to be taken as to whether documents are relevant and you should also be alert to not disclosing privileged documents containing legal advice.
Document disclosure will require you to disclose all documents which are relevant to the issues in the case whether they are helpful or harmful.
Employment cases are won and lost on witness evidence.
The evidence of the company’s witnesses must be their version of events. We can add value by ensuring that witness statements are well drafted, comprehensive, and clear.
We can also arrange witness familiarisation sessions for our client in advance of Employment Tribunal hearings.
Most hearings are open to the public, and therefore the press are free to attend and report on the hearing. However, any press report must be fair, balanced, and accurate. If the press are mis-reporting the outcome of a hearing it is important to push back and have it corrected, before that mis-information becomes part of the narrative and is repeated elsewhere.
If you believe the other side is leaking false information to the media it is important to act quickly, which would often involve us engaging with the other side and the media to have untrue allegations corrected.
Employment Tribunal judgments are now published online. This increased accessibility is naturally a cause for concern for employers as the risk of adverse publicity is now greater. Judgments will contain details about the nature of the allegations and the conduct of the parties, as well as confidential commercial information regarding the company.
It is therefore vital from the very outset of proceedings to have an eye to what information is contained in your pleadings and thinking about requests to the Tribunal for reporting restrictions / redactions where appropriate.
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If you need to speak to us immediately, our confidential enquiry line on 020 7404 9390 is staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year.