Employment

As a top-ranked and highly respected employment team acting for employers and employees in equal numbers, we bring a depth of experience and creativity to help you solve the problems that can arise at any stage of an employment relationship.

The employment team stands out for its work with senior executives across a wide range of sectors including financial services, advertising, fashion, sport and charities. We are known for our tenacity; whether you are negotiating a golden handshake or a difficult exit, we commit to getting you the best deal in every case. We obtained the biggest whistleblowing settlement to date in the UK for an individual client. Recently we advised Jürgen Klopp on the terms of his move to Liverpool FC.

In the US, our employment litigation team acts for US based and global employers as well as top-tier executives, helping them to get the best from their working relationship. Where disputes arise we think tactically, creating a strategy to defend our client’s needs.

Trusted advice to employers and employees

We have long-standing relationships with many well-known employers, including Anya Hindmarch, Tate and Winton Capital Management, who call on us for everything from advice on contracts to crisis management when wrongdoing by an employee is discovered. Our solutions are creative and commercial: for example, we represented the senior management team of Candy Crush Saga’s owner King.com when the business was acquired by Activision Blizzard. We coordinated a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional team to support King’s CEO, COO and other senior executives on the negotiation of their new long-term contracts and remuneration structures. The deal appeared on the front page of the Financial Times.

Global reach

With offices around the world and lawyers qualified in more than one jurisdiction, we are well placed to help senior executives and employers with cross-border matters. Recently we coordinated employment advice across Europe, the US, Asia and the Caribbean for a global IT company.

As a full-service firm, we can also call on colleagues to help with associated matters including tax, pensions, regulatory issues and reputation management.

For further help or information

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Employment tribunal fees are unlawful and will have to be repaid by the Government


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Recognition

Top ranked firm for senior executives

Top tier firm for senior executives

Leading firm for employers

Leading firm for employment (2015-2017)

Clients

‘‘

Having used Withers for my personal tax advice, Graham Webster and Meriel Schindler were best placed to assist in relation to my move to the UK, to become CEO of the private equity backed company which owns the ‘Agent Provocateur’ brand. They not only gave clear, commercial, advice but were able to marry specialist employment and private equity expertise in relation to a bespoke incentivisation package, something that was particularly valuable in navigating the private equity environment for the first time. They were also always available and reacted very, very fast.

Fabrizio Malverdi
‘‘

As head of Goldsmith Chambers I asked Meriel Schindler and her team to act for Chambers on HR and membership matters. Her clear, strategic thinking has helped chambers deal effectively with some sensitive and confidential issues.

Anthony Metzer QC, Head of Chambers - Goldsmith Chambers
‘‘

I have worked with Meriel Schindler for many years and she is a superb lawyer. Thoughtful, insightful and when necessary bold. We have been involved in many situations together and charted excellent courses based on her fine judgement and counsel. I have no hesitation in recommending Meriel.

Harriet Green, former CEO of Thomas Cook
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I have instructed Withers on several occasions and referred work to them – they never disappoint.

Julia Chain
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I hold the Employment team at Withers in particularly high regard.  Elaine Aarons runs a strategic and pragmatic practice, which is results orientated.  I have been particularly impressed by the quality of support provided by Hugh More and consider him to be a high potential member of the Withers team.

Nick Ulycz, Group HR Director - Domestic & General
‘‘
The stand out areas for me were: very quick response times; exceptional advice, personal support and guidance at a moments notice. Their expertise and support were second to none; access to a huge range of expertise within the team was very reassuring and the breadth of expertise and cover at all times was offered. I never felt I was on my own.
Joy Youart - Healthcare Consultant
‘‘

Not only did I find the service impeccable, they worked really hard to ensure that my interests were taken care of and that I got the best possible outcome from what was a difficult and personal situation for myself. I would not hesitate to recommend the services of Withers LLP and Claire and her team. Well done guys, and thank you again.

Andrew Bartle, Founder of Quarters Developments Ltd
‘‘
Withers are a formidable team of professionals, for sure! It’s a remarkable record – in fact in terms of goals met it’s a 100% hit rate. Expectations, high and rightly so, constantly well exceeded every time.
Nick Luke
‘‘

I have benefited from a range of the firm’s expertise, covering family and employment law and have in fact already recommended them to friends who are happy with the service as well.

Senior financial services executive
‘‘

I was introduced to Withers by one the UK’s most significant and successful entrepreneurs. He advised me that to develop my business I needed the best lawyers. I took his advice and since then have worked with Withers on several aspects of my business. What I hear from them is, “Kev, we are here to protect you”, and protect me they do very well. Their advice spans further than just legal, they have a network of professionals and high net worth clients and often bring them together. Withers have proved to be a very valuable partner of Checkatrade and nothing at any hour of the day is too much trouble for them. If you need the best on your side, then look no further.

Kevin Byrne - Founder and CEO of Checkatrade

Meet the team

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How the employment team can help

Track record

Harriet Green, CEO of Thomas Cook

When Harriet Green stood down as CEO of Thomas Cook in 2014, she turned to Withers' experienced team to help her develop and implement an exit strategy. The situation became more complicated in May 2015, while she was on garden leave, and had to deal with an onslaught of negative press coverage around her alleged handling of the death of two children in Corfu in 2006 (six years before she joined Thomas Cook). We developed a clear strategy and we closed the matter down to our client's satisfaction.

Jigsaw

Jigsaw is a leading name in the UK's retail market, offering high-quality, elegant clothing. John Robinson, the founder, and Robinson Webster (Holdings) Ltd, contacted Withers when a former finance director claimed sexual discrimination, unfair constructive dismissal, pregnancy and maternity discrimination as well as less favorable treatment as a part-time worker. We successfully argued at an employment tribunal that she had been treated fairly and the claims were dismissed.

Jürgen Klopp

Withers has a strong track record in representing high-profile and high-net-worth figures in the world of sport. When leading football manager Jürgen Klopp was approached by Liverpool Football Club to become its manager, we represented him in the negotiations for his move and the extension to his contract.

Italian fashion designer Max Mara

Max Mara is a renowned luxury Italian fashion house with stores around the globe, including across the United States. The group approached Withers for help with its employment needs, advising on the implementation of employee policies and risk management strategies. We were also pleased to suggest and develop store manager training sessions, and we successfully assisted in defending the company against wrongful termination claims.

Two US senior executives moving to Europe

As a firm, we are best known for helping globally successful individuals to protect their interests internationally - in this recent matter we helped secure water-tight contracts for two C-suite directors as they relocated from the United States to the United Kingdom, while our transatlantic team reviewed their changed tax circumstances.

Successful financial services senior executive

Withers was called on to act for a well-known managing partner of an international investment firm when his reputation was under threat. Our robust approach to reputation management prevented the filing of false statements in a form U-5 (Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration) that would have had a detrimental effect on his future career and earnings.

The CEO and COO of a publicly held US retail brand

This well-known speciality brand has annual revenues in excess of $400 million. We advised its chief executive and chief operating officer in a complex transaction to structure the buy-out of their equity interests by a private equity firm and allowing them to rollover their remaining interests into a newly formed holding company. We have developed a particular reputation for our ability to protect successful individuals in negotiations with private equity houses.

The CEO of a globally recognized jewelry brand

This well-known, publicly held brand has more than 1,200 retail outlets throughout the US. We negotiated a new package (valued in excess of $2 million annually) on behalf of the incoming chief executive.

A tobacco company CEO

Our senior executive team negotiated a favorable severance package for the outgoing CFO of this major global brand, ensuring that the payout was made tax efficiently and that other terms were met.

An international family

Withers represents many successful families who live and work in countries around the world. We are sometimes asked to advise on contracts for personal staff who travel with the family, in this particular case when there were immigration issues to address.

Winton Capital Management

Winton is a global investment management and data technology company that uses scientific methods to develop intelligent investment systems. The company contacted Withers for advice on internal restructures and mobility issues between its various locations. Our global reach and knowledge of multiple markets meant we were ideally placed to advise on issues in London and Oxford in the UK, and also in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

SSAFA, the armed forces charity

Withers has had a long and very successful relationship with the armed forces charity SSAFA and we have acted for them on many issues over the years. We are immensely proud of our continued association with this worthwhile organization. Our team was on hand to advise when the charity went through a redundancy exercise and TUPE transfer in Germany. We successfully negotiated when two senior executive roles were terminated, alongside more junior members of staff, one of whom brought a disability discrimination claim. In another notable instance, we advised an Employment Tribunal in the UK over whether the charity could be held liable for an allegedly discriminatory decision taken by the MOD. We secured a ruling in our client's favour.

Co-op bank CEO, Barry Tootell

When director and CEO of the Co-op Bank Plc Barry Tootell stepped down in difficult and controversial circumstances, Withers's team demonstrated our in-depth knowledge of difficult situations to advise and negotiate his exit. Since 2013, our team has continued to act for him on arising issues and enquiries related to his time at the Co-op.

Senior executives at King.com

Candy Crush Saga has become one of the major global success stories of the free-to-play mobile device games, with more than 93 million players worldwide. Withers was proud to act for the founders of the company that owned it, King.com, in the high-profile sale of their business to Activision Blizzard for US$5.9 billion, achieving a very satisfactory outcome for our clients.

Informa Plc

Informa is a highly successful multinational publishing and events company, based in London. When the company needed to enforce post-termination restrictions and wanted advice on the consequences of business sales, Withers' experienced team was on hand to successfully resolve any problems, including the potential enforcement of obligations in other jurisdictions (Germany, USA).

Advising a senior executive on his partnership exit in Hong Kong

Advising a senior executive on the termination of his employment in Hong Kong and his simultaneous removal as a partner from a UK LLP, including negotiating his severance arrangements and advising on potential claims in both jurisdictions.

Senior banking departure from New York and relocation to Hong Kong

Advising a senior banker in New York on his departure from his US employer and his relocation to work for a competitor in Hong Kong, including advising on the buyout of complex deferred compensation arrangements and extricating him from onerous restrictive covenants.

California–based recreational vehicle company

Our US corporate, corporate tax and wealth planning groups worked to close this deal, which included a purchase price allocation for personal goodwill and post-closing installment payments under promissory notes, secured by underlying shares subject to a voting agreement. The deal pay-out also included employment arrangements, insurance-related payments and a potential dividend payment.

US micro-venture capital fund

We completed the formation and private offering of a US micro-venture capital fund focusing on the business-to-business digital marketplace and have advised on its investments in three portfolio companies: a platform providing athletes and parents with a suite of online tools to streamline the recruiting process; a platform providing restaurants with a trained food delivery staff and system as well as an app which communicates orders received by restaurants; and a platform that allows manufacturers and distributors in the IT sector to communicate with resellers of their products.

Global entertainment conglomerate

Assisted in the transfer of US employees to China for a global entertainment conglomerate.

Employment visas and green cards

We routinely represent individuals of extraordinary ability in business, sciences and art in obtaining employment visas and green cards.

NTUC income insurance co-operative

We advised NTUC Income Insurance Co-Operative on a range of employment related matters in Singapore.

Outside general counsel for luxury brand

Represented luxury brand as outside general counsel in all areas of employment including counseling, compliance with employment laws, leave-related issues, terminations, and defending discrimination actions.

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