Circumstances

I acted for a medium sized solicitors practice employing 80 in total. Promises of equity partnership had been given to three salaried partners over the last few years. The current equity partners had a change of heart and asked me whether they had to honourperformance management their promise to all three when they felt that one of the salaried partners was not really partnership material. The challenges facing the firm were greater than before, but he was a nice guy and a loyal member of the firm and they did not want to upset him.

Legal issues

Performance management and targets, capability procedure, breach of promise.

Outcome

We explored the following options:

Informal discussion However, this proved to be ineffective as the Practice Manager and the GPs skirted around the issues but got to no resolution as the Practice Manager felt that there was little understanding of her predicament.

Disciplinary proceedings – As the Practice Manager had been employed for so many years and was a trusted and loyal employee there was little appetite for this.

Flexible working – I suggested to the GPs that they encourage the Practice Manager to consider using her right to request to a way of working flexibly. She was eligible to request flexible working under section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996 as she was a carer for her mother. This would allow her to seek a change to the hours that she worked to suit her and her mothers needs. I explained how I thought that having a set pattern of working would benefit the Practice and the Practice Manager. At first there was some resistance on both sides, but by guiding the GPs through the statutory flexible working procedures it became apparent that this was a very positive solution for all.

The Practice Manager changed her working day to start one hour later and leave one hour earlier on a reduced wage. She was able to look in on her mother three times per day (including lunchtime) and felt relieved that she could do this legitimately and with the knowledge and support of her colleagues. The GPs found that other members of staff were more than willing to cover the missing hours and the Practice returned to the efficient and harmonious team that it had previously been.

Most people are aware that the the right to request flexible working applies to parents of children up to the age 17, but there is still ignorance of the rights of carers of adults to request flexible working under the statutory procedure. This is despite the fact that there are around 6 million people in the UK who act as carers for other adults. Interestingly a large proportion of carers of other adults are women over 50.

For advice about flexible working or any issues discussed here or any employment or HR related matter contact me on 0114 272 1884 or Jay@taylorbracewell.co.uk or visit www.taylorbracewell.co.uk.

Ask about our new fully inclusive Bulletproof Protection Plan covering all your HR and employment law needs – we are specialist employment lawyers Circumstances

I acted for a medium sized solicitors practice employing 80 in total. Promises of equity partnership had been given to three salaried partners over the last few years. The current equity partners had a change of heart and asked me whether they had to honourperformance management their promise to all three when they felt that one of the salaried partners was not really partnership material. The challenges facing the firm were greater than before, but he was a nice guy and a loyal member of the firm and they did not want to upset him.
Legal issues

Performance management and targets, capability procedure, breach of promise.
Outcome

In my opinion – no they did not have to honour their promise. There was no legally binding agreement and my advice was that the current partners can and must exercise their discretion in light of the current needs of their business.

Gone are the days when solicitors can expect partnership simply because of time spent. We had some honest discussions about what was expected of equity partners in that particular firm. What value should they add? One would expect an equity partner to be a good lawyer – that is a given. They also need to have some business acumen, practice development skills and interest, be motivational, have the ability or potential to lead and manage, and have an understanding of finance – this and much more makes the difference between a salaried partner and an equity partner in today’s world.

performancemanagement2We discussed performance management and in this particular case when the three salaried partners were put through a rigorous selection process based on these criteria, the weaker salaried partner himself bowed out recognising that the role was not one he could fulfil. In similar performance managementsituations setting targets (not just financial targets) and undertaking managing performance and expectations proactively is key to getting the most out of people. Performance management is essential and having a robust capability procedure and knowing how to follow it is key in dealing with situations where the high expectations we have of our staff are not met in a way which meets the needs of the business as a whole.

For further information and advice about any of the issues discussed here, including performance management, dismissal or any employment or HR related matter contact me on 0114 272 1884 or sara@taylorbracewell.co.uk. Ask about our new fully inclusive monthly retainer package covering all your HR and employment law needs – we are local lawyers and we tailor our service to fit your business needs.and we tailor our services to fit your business needs

Circumstances

My client (Jane) was employed in the role of Senior Manager in an IT company. She was directly responsible for 10 managers after a recent restructure, having previously been on the same level as her colleagues who had now become her subordinates. Jane had very little training to prepare her for her new role and not surprisingly relations turned sour. Jane was faced with resistance and hostility from the team of managers. She had no support from the directors and was expected to get on with it’. In particular one director made unilateral changes to the manager’s terms, imposed impossible deadlines and humiliated Jane at every opportunity to make her the scapegoat for complaints by the managers.

Jane started to suffer with panic attacks, sleeplessness and low mood resulting in her being signed off sick.

Legal issues

Bullying and harassment, sickness absence, constructive dismissal

Outcome

Jane felt that her position had been made impossible and resigned. She raised a grievance against the director who had bullied her and made a claim for constructive dismissal. To her surprise her team of managers supported her with witness evidence and an 11th hour settlement was agreed. This gave Jane a clean reference and an opportunity to move on with 12 months pay. As I often see with my clients as soon as she could close the door on this chapter of her life, her health and confidence improved dramatically.

For advice about any of the issues discussed here or any employment or HR related matter contact me on 0114 272 1884 or sara@taylorbracewell.co.uk.

If you employ people you should ask about our new fully inclusive monthly retainer package covering all your HR and employment law needs we are specialist employment lawyers and we tailor our services to fit your business needs.

Circumstances

I was instructed by an accountancy practice to deal with the exiting of a senior manager. Having 10 years service he had full employment law rights. My clients were very professional and fair but felt that the manager was not fulfilling his role in a way that best benefited the business, causing issues with staff morale and client complaints.

Legal Issues

Unfair dismissal on capability/conduct grounds; appraisal and performance management

Outcome

I asked my clients what they wanted to achieve dismissing the manager or improving his performance and behaviour. Their preference was to keep the experienced and skilled manager within the workforce but they were so frustrated that they thought there was no option but to dismiss him.

We implemented a series of performance management meetings, setting targets and objectives and clearly setting out what was expected of the manager. This had a positive effect as, for the first time, the practice had open, full and frank discussions with the manager, creating a turn-around in his performance and conduct. He was able to address matters which had never been brought to his attention previously.

Dismissal is not always the best option exploring new methods of managing the workforce often resolves problems without the need for expensive litigation.

For further information and advice about any of the issues discussed here, including performance management, dismissal or any employment or HR related matter contact me on 01302 3411414 or sara@taylorbracewell.co.uk. Ask about our new fully inclusive monthly retainer package covering all your HR and employment law needs- we are local lawyers and we tailor our service to fit your business needs.

Circumstances

I was instructed by a female Sales Director of a Multi National Company. She informed her employer of her pregnancy at 13 weeks after a scan. My client’s excitement about her first pregnancy soon evaporated when she found that she became the victim of a subtle but very deliberate campaign to manoeuvre her out of the business.

The attitude of her fellow Directors changed. She found that the best quality leads were kept from her and she was told on a few occasions that in order to ensure continuity it would be better to pass on her contacts to colleagues at an early stage. She took maternity leave and unsurprisingly before her return to work she was informed that her role was to become redundant.

Legal Issues

Redundancy selection pool and criteria, pregnancy related dismissal, sex discrimination, preferential treatment of woman in redundancy situation.

Outcome

It is so disappointing to see this sort of discrimination still prevailing. With more women achieving senior positions and with technology allowing much more creative and flexible ways of working it is inexcusable, particularly for a large employer.

My client appealed the redundancy decision. She had not been placed in any pool for selection despite her transferable skills, the actions leading up to the redundancy all pointed to an inference that the redundancy was manipulated.

What ended up costing the company a large settlement payout in this case was the added failure to understand that the law allows a woman on maternity leave to be offered suitable alternative employment in preference to other employees.

For further information and advice about any of the issues discussed here or any employment or HR related matter contact me on 0114 272 1884 or sara@taylorbracewell.co.uk or visit www.taylorbracewell.co.uk.

Ask about our new fully inclusive monthly retainer package covering all your HR and Employment Law needs we are specialist employment lawyers and we tailor our service to fit your business needs.

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