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.
For executives, this can be a very difficult time and we will do our utmost to find a solution. ‘People often come to us in an enormous amount of distress,’ says Meriel Schindler, a leading partner in the employment team. ‘Their lives may be falling apart and I will say to them, you are in a very big, dark hole, but we will get you out of it.’
Our lawyers are strategic thinkers with experience acting for senior executives and directors from privately owned firms and major FTSE and NASDAQ listed companies. 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.
Employers 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.
Withers’ global reach means we often help with cross-border employment matters. In our Hong Kong office, Helen Colquhoun recently acted for an American client who was being dismissed from a British company in Hong Kong, advising on her 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.
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