Disputes, discrimination and severance
When navigating the difficult terrain of disputes or claims of discrimination, it can sometimes seem impossible to locate a solution.
Whether you are an employer or a senior professional, we offer tactical and strategic legal advice to break the deadlock.
Senior executivesFor executives, this can be a very difficult time and people often come to us in an enormous amount of distress. In light of this, we always do our utmost to find an effective solution.
In one high-profile case in the UK, we handled the departure of Harriet Green, the CEO who had transformed the fortunes of Thomas Cook, as inaccurate press coverage emerged of a crisis that predated her employment at the travel operator. We were instrumental in salvaging her exit package and reputation.
EmployersEmployers rely on us for our tactical handling of commercially sensitive situations, as in one case where we acted for a gallery that suspected a senior employee of selling artworks privately, in breach of his contract. We helped the gallery to gather proof so decisively that the executive, when called to a meeting, admitted his activities, apologized and offered a repayment.
We act on both sides of discrimination claims, for example acting for the female partners of several law firms who believed their careers had been held back by their gender, and successfully defending an employer in an unusual case where marital discrimination was alleged.
A number of our cases involve bullying and we derive a great sense of achievement for standing up for our clients, because they have not been able to do it for themselves.
Global reachWithers’ global reach means we often help with cross-border employment matters. In our Hong Kong office, we recently acted for an American client who was being dismissed from a British company in Hong Kong, advising on their rights in all three jurisdictions.
Where possible we aim to avoid the financial and personal costs involved in going to trial. However, should litigation become necessary, we have an excellent track record in court and the employment tribunal.
CEO and MD of a brokerage company
Acted for the former CEO and MD of a brokerage company in his claim in the High Court and Court of Appeal against the company involving numerous factual and legal issues including restraint of trade and the legality of provisions prohibiting solicitation of employees. The Court of Appeal decision is the leading case in Singapore on restraint of trade.
Anya Hindmarch (t/a A.S.H.S.)
A.S.H.S. is a well-known English fashion house. We have provided strategic advice to the luxury brand on a number of high level employment issues.
Renault Sport F1 Team
Since Renault Group's cross-border acquisition of Lotus F1 in December 2015, our employment team have provided continual support to the Renault Sport F1 Team. This work has included: advice in relation to a TUPE transfer of employees; drafting and negotiating employment contracts/consultancy agreements with senior employees and key contractors - many with cross-border elements; advising on the disciplining and/or exit of employees; and advising on arrangements with contractors and the termination of such arrangements.
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, we demonstrated our in-depth knowledge of difficult situations to advise and negotiate his exit. Futhermore, our team continued to support him on arising issues and enquiries related to his time at the Co-op, after his exit.
Harriet Green, CEO of Thomas Cook
When Harriet Green stood down as CEO of Thomas Cook, she turned to Withers' experienced team to help her develop and implement an exit strategy. The situation became more complicated 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 (six years before she joined Thomas Cook). We developed a clear strategy and we closed the matter down to our client's satisfaction.
SSAFA, the armed forces charity
Acting for SSAFA over several decades. We were 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. We also advised an Employment Tribunal in the UK over whether the charity could be held liable for an allegedly discriminatory decision taken by the MOD, securing a ruling in our client's favour.
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