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In a world where employment is complex and fast-changing, getting it wrong can damage both employee relations and the reputation of your business. Our employment team work hard to guide businesses and employees across the North West through a range of challenging employment law issues in order to reach a resolution.

At Butcher & Barlow we take the time to understand your business, the challenges it faces and your commercial objectives. We aim to build long term, personal relationships with those responsible for the HR function of your business, whether that be a dedicated HR Manager, a Partner, or a Director. These relationships are underpinned by trust, respect and a common goal. Working collaboratively alongside our colleagues in the corporate and commercial and commercial dispute resolution teams, we aim to become an integral part of your professional support network.

With our core teams located at our dedicated commercial office on Gadbrook Park, Northwich and in our Bury head office, our partner-led, Legal 500 recommended, service ensures that you receive the quality of advice you would expect from a city firm but at a lower cost and, in the case of the Gadbrook Park office, from a convenient business park location.

How can we help you?

Given that directors generally have significant authority and day to day control of a business, and in the case of SME’s are also often shareholders, it’s important to have a clear agreement in place between the director and company. Covering aspects such as salary, bonuses, responsibilities , key duties and dismissal procedures a well drafted contract will ensure that you are well prepared for contingency situations.

We can also advise upon and draft restraint of trade provisions to protect your business from departing directors, who, without well drafted restraints are generally free to compete and to use their contacts and knowledge obtained from your business and at your cost.

We have many years of experiences in advising on, drafting and negotiating director’s agreements which means that we have a deep understanding of the motivations of both parties and are able to quickly grasp the issues. We would discuss your requirement, ascertain your needs and produce an agreement that meets your objectives.

Disciplinary issues often arise from a failure to have in place a well drafted disciplinary procedure, or a failure to follow the disciplinary procedure correctly. The courts and tribunals can hold an otherwise perfectly good dismissal as an unfair dismissal simply as a result of a failure to follow a fair process – and this can be costly for a business.

Accordingly, a thorough and robust disciplinary procedure should be in place for your business to prevent issues from arising. We can work with you to produce a tailored disciplinary procedure for your business, as well as providing legal advice before and during the disciplinary procedure to ensure compliance and avoid a tribunal room.

We can also review your existing procedure to ensure that it complies with relevant employment legislation and suggest improvements to reduce the likelihood of issues arising in the future.

We understand that when it comes to employment contracts, only a bespoke, tailored contract will work for you. Unsuitable or poorly drafted template employment contracts found online can cause serious financial and personnel issues for your business in the short and long term. An employment contract tailored to the particular business or even employee will reduce exposure to potential disputes and possibly therefore tribunal claims. A properly drafted contract of employment is an investment. We will work with you and your business to ensure that you have employment contracts that meet your needs, for every level of worker that you employ. A senior manager contract is unlikely to work for a shop floor operative and vice versa. To complement a well-drafted employment contract we can assist you in preparing policies and procedures, either as stand-alone policies or as part of a staff or employee handbook.

The process of redundancy needs to be handled sensitively and in accordance with the law. There are a number of complex processes that need to be followed and failure to follow this could open your business up to claimso f unfair dismissal or discrimination.

For employers, we can guide you through the process of ensuring a well-managed redundancy process. We will work with you to ascertain whether the dismissals can be avoided or, if not, how to handle them effectively. We can advise on individual or, where necessary, collective consultation requirements and work with you to seek to avoid disputes and ultimately costly tribunal claims. We can provide advisory clinics on site should this be in the best interest of your business and its staff.

For employees, if you believe that you have been unfairly treated in a redundancy process, have not been properly consulted or believe you have been unfairly selected, we can review the process undertaken by your employer and provide advice and /or guidance on any remedies that might be available to you.

It can be a daunting task for an employee deciding whether to agree or negotiate the terms set out in a Settlement Agreement (previously compromise agreement) but our team will provide you with the practical independent legal advice and guidance you need to be able to proceed.

There is often an urgency in receiving the advice and therefore, where possible, we can meet with you on short notice or deal with advice remotely. To ease any financial concerns, we will rarely seek to charge you more than the legal costs contribution from your employer for reviewing and advising you on your settlement agreement. If this is necessary we will be very clear on this and only proceed with your agreement.

For employers, we can advise on the merits of and draft settlement agreements either on a one off/individual basis or, for large numbers of employees (such as in redundancy situations where enhanced terms are offered). We can advise on tax treatment in relation to payments made under a settlement agreement and on post-termination restrictions that might be included in a settlement agreement in the case where employees are being offered enhanced terms in order to protect your business.

The Transfer of Undertakings Regulations (TUPE for short) applies if your business is going through a change of ownership or a restructure of operations and its purpose is to make sure employees’ rights are protected during the change.

Early legal advice is essential to ascertain if TUPE applies. If it does, our aim is to understand your business objective and help you plan accordingly to avoid any expensive legal disputes.

As an employer, the last thing you will want to do is to unintentionally discriminate against employees who are increasingly aware of their rights in this field . Our team will advise you on the measures you can put in place, such as written policies and procedures, which seek to avoid discriminatory conduct or practices.

However if something does go wrong or you are unfairly accused of discrimination we can assist your business in defending claims of discrimination and seek an outcome which minimises any loss or reputational damage.

As an employee, if you are concerned about your treatment at work and believe you are being unfairly discriminated against it is essential that you seek legal advice and representation as soon as possible. We understand that discrimination in the workplace can often be all encompassing, affecting every aspect of your work and personal life but if you decide to pursue a claim our team will provide you with guidance, advice and representation to help ease the emotional burden.

In a progressively litigious society, and with ever increasing knowledge of employment rights by staff, employment disputes and tribunal claims are becoming more or a problem for employers. Disputes and claims can have serious reputational and financial consequences for an employer.

Equally, for an employee an employment dispute can be emotional and affect every aspect of their financial and personal affairs.
It is therefore imperative that whatever side of an employment dispute you find yourself, you are able to source quick and accessible legal advice.

Our team represent clients in a varied range of employment disputes. We work quickly to understand the situation and identify the best solution early on, considering options such as mediation and conciliation to avoid the need for tribunal proceedings. Our team are able to assist in both bringing and defending a claim where this is unavoidable.

Full cost information can be found here.

To find out more about how we can assist you or your business or to arrange a no obligation discussion t, whether by video, telephone or in person, please get in touch with any member of our team. Alternatively, complete our Enquiry form by clicking the link and we will call you back as soon as possible.

an image of Justin Kelly, a Butcher & Barlow LLP employee

Justin Kelly

Partner & Notary Public

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Employment Law & HR Team

Our people are what makes Butcher & Barlow what it is. Each one of our team is committed to building a solid, long-lasting working relationship with our clients across Bury, Manchester and Cheshire.

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What our clients say about our Employment Law & HR Service

Yet again you have guided me/us successfully through a potentially very difficult situation. Well done and thank you.

Mr G Cheshire

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