Ignorance of the law is no defence

As every lawyer knows, ignorance of the law is no defence. In the past week or so, I have found myself irritated by the press and politicians’ inability to refer to employment law without making a hash of it. In fact, their tendency to misunderstand the law (deliberately or otherwise) is not peculiar to the employment law field, but, as an employment lawyer, that is what riles me most. Continue reading

The self-interested whistleblower is not dead

You have to feel a bit sorry for ‘pale, stale males’, who seem have come to personify everything that is archaic and staid everywhere from parliament to the boardroom. More recently, I have seen them blamed for changes to whistleblowing law coming into force this month. Continue reading

Swap your rights for shares?

George Osborne has announced plans for a new type of employment status: ‘employee owners’. Employees will give up their rights to protection against unfair dismissal, statutory redundancy payments, and the right to request flexible working hours and time off for training, in exchange for between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares in the company for which they work. These shares will be free from capital gains tax when they are eventually sold. Continue reading

When is a partner not a partner?

One of the first things I am asked to advise ‘partners’ is often whether or not they are really employees.  Sometimes this is so they can evade onerous post-termination restrictions, sometimes so that they can bring an unfair dismissal or a whistle-blowing claim in the Employment Tribunal and often for both reasons.  Generally the answer is that they are not employees but sometimes they are….

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Become a partner and lose your rights…

When I was a junior lawyer, every year I would go to drinks parties at which the newly made-up partners would ironically toast taking on unlimited liability.  Now most law firms have converted to Limited Liability Partnerships, the risks of becoming a partner (or, technically, a member of an LLP) are substantially reduced but people are still giving up significant rights, often without realising it.  As more and more people are becoming members of LLPs (often simply so that their employers no longer have to pay 13.8% employers’ national insurance over and above their salary) employment protections are being eroded… Continue reading