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Reforms to IR35 and taxation of consultants: what steps should you be taking now?

As we reported last year, the Government is introducing fundamental changes to the tax rules (often referred to as IR35) that apply to consultants engaged through intermediaries (such as personal service companies) in the private sector. On Friday 11 July,...

Tillman v Egon Zehnder Ltd - Chopping not changing

Clarity is the best policy when drafting post termination restrictions Employers can breathe a collective sigh of relief this week as the ongoing saga over the enforceability of post termination restrictions in the case of Tillman v Egon Zehnder has...

Harassment complaints in a post #metoo world: Four key guidelines for conducting an internal investigation

The effect of the #metoo campaign continues to ripple across industries. The recent International Bar Association Us Too publication reported on bullying and harassment within the legal profession and concluded that more than half of legal professionals in...

10 top tips for DSARs: What do employers need to know when responding to Data Subject Access Requests?

We’re now one year on from the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation ( “GDPR” ) and one of the consequences for our clients has been a significant rise in the number of data subject access requests ( “DSARs” )...

Suspending employees: what does HR need to know?

The courts recognise that being suspended from work can have a severe reputational and psychological impact on an employee. The Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Agoreyo v Lambeth BC represents a stark change in attitude in assessing when an...

Consultation on confidentiality clauses in situations of workplace harassment or discrimination - What are your views?

The Government has announced that it is consulting on certain measures to prevent the misuse of confidentiality clauses. This is in response to some recent high profile cases which have given rise to concerns that confidentiality clauses in employment...

Brexit and the changing immigration landscape for EU and non-EU nationals - what should you do now?

Qs and As from the Fox Williams Lexology webinar, 14 February 2019 Thank you for your interest in our webinar with Lexology on 14 February 2019. A number of you raised questions during the webinar and here we have set out below the questions you sent in,...

Agile working policies - top tips for employers

As agile working becomes increasingly commonplace among UK businesses, it is important for employers to be aware of the issues to consider before introducing agile working arrangements. If you are planning to implement agile working policies, here are our...

Love contractually - managing relationships at work

What is a love contract? “Love contracts” are used to protect employers should a romantic relationship arise between two of their workers. They typically take the form of agreements between the amorous couple and the employer which confirm...

The Modern Slavery Act: is your business at risk of failing to comply?

The Home Office is currently issuing letters to organisations registered in the UK that have not yet published anti-slavery and human trafficking statements on their websites. Many businesses who have received these letters were unaware that they might be...

Jane Mann contributing to the use of non-disclosure agreements in discrimination cases inquiry

The Women and Equalities Committee is holding the third evidence session as part of its inquiry into the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in discrimination cases on Wednesday 23 January. The Committee will question legal experts with direct experience...

Bonus awards: Five top tips

Bonus season is looming and with it, the possibility of disgruntled employees challenging the awards they receive, if any. To mitigate against the risk of successful challenges, employers should observe the following top tips when making their awards: 1....

Register for our Immigration Webinar, 14 February 2019

The UK government has clarified the position for EU nationals in the UK and has proposed in its recent White Paper a new system for all EEA and non EEA nationals coming to the UK after the proposed transition period, i.e. from 1 January 2021. In this...

Brief summary of post-Brexit immigration changes

The UK Government has published its long awaited White Paper for a post-Brexit immigration system. The Government has largely accepted the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). These changes will come into effect from the end of the...

Letting your hair down: the many legal pitfalls of the office Christmas party

The office Christmas party looms large in the collective psyche of the workplace, for better or for worse.  The usual clichés of staff misbehaviour are often comical and in most cases written off as harmless fun.  All too often, HR risks...

Hiring EEA and non-EEA employees in a post Brexit world

In the coming months there will be profound changes to the UK’s immigration system. With Brexit fast approaching, the Government is aligning the immigration system to its long term industrial strategy. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which...

Action needed by employers using master trusts

By guest editor Anne-Marie Winton, partner at ARC Pensions Law LLP Employers who use a master trust to provide pensions savings for their employees (often for automatic enrolment purposes) could get a nasty surprise on 1 April 2019, because that is the...

Law firms should now expect the SRA to investigate discrimination claims

The #metoo movement has opened a Pandora’s box for professional services firms.  In the legal profession high profile and public senior departures at Latham and Baker McKenzie demonstrate that firms are responding to pressure to hold their hands...

Use of consultants: how exposed are you under IR 35 or otherwise?

In the Budget on 29 October, the Chancellor announced fundamental changes to the tax rules that apply to consultants engaged through private companies (often referred to as IR 35). There was widespread speculation that the new rules would be implemented as...

Protected conversations - proceed with caution

When should employers use them? ”Protected conversations”, or “pre-termination negotiations” as they are sometimes called, provide both employers and employees with an off the record forum for confidential discussions to explore...

How to have "without prejudice" conversations with employees

For many employers, having a without prejudice discussion with an employee is a convenient way to try to resolve a difficult problem, whether it is dealing with underperformance, a staff member with a grievance, or a tricky redundancy issue.  In...

Improving gender pay gap results - top tips for employers

According to a recent study , the majority of people failed to properly understand published gender pay gap figures. Employers should be using the gender pay gap reporting process as an opportunity to improve diversity and equal pay, to educate their staff...

Fox Williams successfully represents appellant in key decision on legal privilege

In a case where Fox Williams represented the successful appellant, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has made an important decision which calls into question the reliance lawyers and their clients can place in the confidentiality of legal advice. The decision...

Worker status - top tips for employers

It was hard to miss the recent Supreme Court decision in June concerning Pimlico Plumbers in which the Court decided that a plumber, who worked for the company in a purportedly self-employed capacity, was in fact a “worker” and entitled to...

Immigration: What's new for EU nationals - an update on Brexit

Achieving “settled status” in the UK – phased roll-out expected In June 2018 the Government announced further details of the new “settled status” scheme for EU nationals. Whilst these still need to be approved by Parliament,...

Helen Farr quoted in Financial Times: Several fund companies to set up additional offices as part of Brexit contingency planning

Employment law partner  Helen Farr  is quoted in the Financial Times on how Brexit is prompting asset managers to reassess their global distribution strategies in response to Brexit. If you are a registered user, you can read the full...

Is enforcement of employment contracts by way of injunctions impossible?

The purpose of restrictive covenants is well known. Employment contracts are often (or at least should be) carefully drafted to ensure that they protect the legitimate business interests of an employer. Should a wayward employee ignore the restrictions on what they cannot do during and after employment, employers may be able to enforce the employment contract by way of interim injunctions.  However, the recent case of Tillman v Egon Zehnder Ltd seems to have significantly weakened an employer’s ability to enforce covenants.

GIR Practitioner's Guide to Global Investigation: Employee Rights: The UK Perspective

The second edition of  Global Investigations Review (GIR): Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations  has now been published. James Carlton, Sona Ganatra and David Murphy of Fox Williams’ dispute resolution and employment teams...

Pre-nups and employment: the potential for a royal mess?

While Prince Harry may not have entered into a prenuptial agreement with Meghan Markle, some employers are demanding that new hires do so as a pre-condition of employment. Aside from the complexities surrounding the enforceability of pre-nups, are employers running the risk of discrimination claims from candidates who aren’t willing to enter into one?

New partner and director promotions demonstrate Fox Williams' core values of great client service and its people

City law firm Fox Williams LLP has made two internal promotions to partner. From 1 May, Mary Elliott becomes a partner in the Corporate department and David Murphy becomes a partner in the Employment department.

Investigating sexual harassment in the workplace: top tips for HR

The evidence given recently at the Women and Equalities Select Committee has emphasised the fact that there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with allegations of sexual harassment.  Whilst there are different ways of handling complaints, seeking to...

More than a thousand businesses miss gender pay gap deadline. Jane Mann quoted in HR Magazine

Head of Fox Williams' employment team Jane Mann quoted in HR Magazine. High proportion publish in final hours, revealing 78% of businesses have a gap in favour of men An estimated 1,500 businesses failed to publish their gender pay gaps by the...

Aron Pope quoted in Personnel Today: Employers should have legal duty to prevent sexual harassment

Aron Pope has been quoted in Personnel Today commenting on the recent recommendation from The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that the Government places a legal duty on employers to take effective steps to prevent sexual harassment, and an...

References - top tips for employers

Recent press reports have concerned employers hiring employees with murky backgrounds, or allowing employees to leave quietly following serious allegations of sexual misconduct. Should this information be revealed during the referencing process? Taking or...

Shared parental leave, paternity, maternity and pregnancy: How to avoid discrimination claims

HRLaw training webinar Thursday 15 March 2018: morning and afternoon sessions Employers are often aware of the legal rights relating to pregnancy and maternity, paternity and shared parental leave, yet recent research found that "one in five...

Recruitment - top tips for employers

Whilst nothing should prevent a business from hiring the best person for the job, recruitment can be a legal minefield for employers. This article highlights the potential pitfalls that an employer faces when it decides to recruit and considers the top...

HRLaw's need to know guide to the GDPR

There are now just over 100 days until your business needs to implement the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"). It is becoming increasingly clear that lots of businesses are focussing on the impact of the GDPR on their processing of...

Buying insolvent businesses: the key employment issues

Carillion has fallen over in spectacular fashion. Some fashion brands are teetering on the edge of insolvency after poor Christmas trading, exacerbated by the march of online competitors and the impact of Amazon’s cheaper (cheap, that is, until they...

Update on Brexit and what EU nationals living in the UK should do

Head of the Fox Williams immigration team, partner Sacha Schoenfeld, provides a brief update on Brexit and what EU nationals living in the UK should be doing now. How can EU nationals living in the UK protect their status and residency? Click here to...

Need to know guide: Extending the Senior Managers and Certification Regime to all financial services firms

The Financial Conduct Authority is changing how people working in financial services are regulated. The Approved Persons Regime is being replaced by the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) for all financial services firms, not just banks. This...

Private life at work: how far can an employee's right to privacy restrict your ability to investigate suspected misconduct at work?

A recent case before the European Court of Human Rights ( Barbulescu v Romania ) involved an employee who was dismissed for using his work computer to send personal messages to his brother and fiancée during work time. He was aware that personal use...

Ask Auntie: suspending an employee

Dear Auntie, I am a HR manager and we have an employee who has been accused of assaulting another member of staff at our Christmas party. I am proposing to suspend this employee immediately before commencing an investigation into the allegations. What are...

Does failure to enhance shared parental leave pay amount to sex discrimination?

When shared parental leave was introduced in April 2015 many employers with enhanced maternity pay policies grappled with whether or not they should provide a similar enhancement to shared parental leave pay ( “SPP” ). The particular concern for...

Redundancies: navigating tricky issues

Employers often view redundancy as a relatively simple way of ending employment. However, redundancy dismissals are often deemed to be unfair because employers have overlooked relatively simple requirements or they have been caught-out by a more tricky...

Employment Partner Mark Watson quoted in Drapers on how the Taylor Review may hit zero-hours contracts

Large retailers using temporary contracts or agency staff in their supply chains could face employment law changes brought in by The Taylor Review.  Former Labour party official Matthew Taylor spearheaded the 115-page report, published on 11 July,...

Dress codes in the workplace - handle with kid gloves

Should we have a “bee in our bonnet” about dress codes in the workplace? This should in theory be a fairly straightforward concept, however, the highly publicised case of the female agency worker who was sent home without pay because she...

Ask Auntie - What are the new tax rules for salary sacrifice and termination payments?

Dear Auntie I have a couple of tax-related questions. We offer salary sacrifice scheme for employees so that they can increase pension contributions, take more holiday and access certain flexible benefits. I’ve been told we will need to change this...

Need to know guide: The Modern Slavery Act

By now, nearly all large organisations conducting business in the UK (including overseas entities) should have published their first slavery and human trafficking statement. And for those with a 31 March year end, it is less than three months (30 September)...

Whistle blowing policies - why have them and what to put in them?

Whilst most employers have a staff handbook (or at the very least, a collection of core policies for staff), many have yet to put in place a specific policy about whistleblowing and what employees should do if they discover wrongdoing within their business. ...

Myth buster - giving notice and notice periods

Following on from our look at the top five myths about fixed terms contracts ( available here ), this month we look at some of the common misconceptions about notice and notice periods. The employer can refuse to accept an employee’s resignation. ...

Brexit - what should employers be doing to help their EU nationals?

A lot has happened in politics since the June 23 rd Referendum, but there has been considerable inaction on the issue of EEA nationals living and working in the UK. Despite this, employers can be taking steps to increase the chances that employees who...

GDPR: what should HR be doing and how can we help?

There is a lot to do to prepare for the introduction of the GDPR. In many organisations, HR is taking the lead in managing the process of achieving compliance by May 2018. Read our Top tips for HR on GDPR here .  ...

Brexit Survival Guide

Are you an EEA national living and working in the UK and concerned about Brexit and what this may mean for you and your family? Read our Brexit Survival Guide  for individuals, families and employers....

Court of Appeal decides employers must make more effort with subject access requests

Back in November 2015 we reported in our HRLaw newsletter that the High Court decision in Dawson-Damer v Taylor Wessing brought cautious optimism for data controllers when the judge refused to make an order for compliance with three subject access...

Ask Auntie: Can I enforce my restrictive covenants?

Dear Auntie I run a chain of bakeries and six months ago I bought a bakery business from one of my major competitors, Baking Bad. I paid a lot of money for the business and didn’t want the previous owner of Baking Bad, Ms Patty Cake, to set up a...

Social media - what's your policy?

Social media is increasingly becoming an issue for employers due to its evergrowing popularity and inclusion in people’s personal and professional lives. Whilst social media is without doubt a valuable tool for businesses, it can also be a headache for...

Dos and don'ts when recruiting

Recruitment can be a legal minefield for employers. Job applicants are protected from discrimination on grounds of sex, race, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation and age. The protection provided by the Equality Act applies in respect of the...

Five myths about fixed-term employment contracts

When used correctly, fixed-term employment contracts are an effective tool for matching staffing levels with the needs of the business. However, there are some surprising myths about fixed-term employment contracts that can lead even seasoned HR...

Ask Auntie: Do compliance officers benefit from whistle blowing protection?

Dear Auntie We have just announced bonuses for 2016, and our Head of Compliance is complaining that his bonus is lower than it should be. He believes this is because he “blew this whistle” about various regulatory breaches when he gave his...

Gender Pay Gap Reporting and the Diversity Agenda Webinar - Wednesday 14 December 2016

Fox Williams Partner Audrey Williams  and Aon Hewitt Associate Partner Andrew MacLeod, provide an update on the Government's mandatory Gender Pay Gap Reporting regulations. They reflect on the final laid regulations , the legislative process and...

Gender Pay Reporting: the Final Regulations

At long last we have the final Gender Pay Reporting Regulations, due to be implemented by 6 th April 2017. The final Regulations are significantly different from the original draft proposals. Many organisations will have begun analysing their gender pay...

Ask Auntie: How should we exercise discretion in determining bonus awards?

Dear Auntie I sit on the Remuneration Committee of my company and we’re in the process of determining discretionary bonus awards for employees.  The language in the bonus scheme says that awards are discretionary and so I think the Committee has...

Need to Know Guide: The Apprenticeship Levy

If you are an employer operating in the UK, and have (or expect to have) an annual pay bill in excess of £2.8 million, then you need to be thinking seriously about the apprenticeship levy and its implications for your business.  It is now clear...

Practical tips on how to manage sickness absence

Managing sickness absence can be a thankless task for any manager or HR professional.  This article gives practical tips based on our experience as a team advising on these issues. Adopt a consistent approach to return to work interviews Most...

Mandatory Gender Pay Reporting, New Obligations and Issues for Partnerships

Overview of provisions   New obligations to report on gender pay gaps will apply to large employers through new Regulations to be implemented by the end of 2016. The reporting will apply be each legal entity with 250 or more employees. For professional...

Ask Auntie: Is it a reasonable adjustment to maintain pay rates indefinitely? Five Top Tips

Dear Auntie We are a small energy business and we have an engineer who injured his back so he can’t do his job properly anymore. We can’t offer him another engineering role as they all involve heavy lifting which he can’t do.  We...

Employer fined for its response to subject access request

A £40,000 fine for a data breach at a GP surgery in Hertfordshire was the direct result of an organisation’s response to a subject access request (“SAR”) that had gone wrong.  In responding to a SAR the surgery revealed...

The SMCR Checklist

The Senior Managers and Certification Regime is now in its seventh month. As firms continue to adjust to the first phase of this new regulatory landscape, we set out the key changes coming up over the next 12 months and how you should be planning for them. ...

An Inside Job?

Last month a disgruntled Citibank employee was sentenced to 21 months in a Texan prison after he issued commands which left 90% of all Citibank branch offices without network or phone access. In court, the employee admitted “They [were] firing me....

Claiming for career loss in discrimination cases

Where the impact of an employer’s behaviour is such that an employee believes they will never work again, employees can try to recover “career loss” from the Tribunal. This means they demand compensation for the loss of salary and benefits...

All change? Taxing termination payments from 2018

Last Summer the Government consulted on proposed changes to the tax treatment of termination related payments. This included proposed changes in relation to non-contractual payments in lieu of notice ( “PILONs” ), the £30 ,000 tax...

Now they have it, now they don't - the dos and don'ts of withdrawing job offers

There might be a number of reasons why an employer would want to withdraw an offer of employment.  For example, its business requirements may have changed so it no longer has any need for the person/role it had offered a job to.  Or, one of the...

Audrey Williams writes for PM daily on gender pay gap reporting rules

Audrey Williams writes for PM daily on gender pay gap reporting rules, and how they are being extended to the public sector. Please click here to read the article . ...

Commitment to, and Action on, Modern Slavery, More than Words

Whilst we were mulling over the pronouncements from our new Prime Minister about corporate governance and more responsible business and what this may mean for employers, Theresa May issued a call to action to address modern slavery: ...

A new approach on Corporate Governance and Employment laws

Radical proposals and changes to some of our employment laws may arise in light of Theresa May's premiership: corporate governance, executive pay, collective rights and inclusion responsibilities look set to change. None of these proposals, outlined in...

Focus on residence and nationality post Brexit - what happens now and what to think about

Although the consequences of Brexit on free movement of workers in the EU is an unknown, there is a possibility that EU nationals living in the UK could have their right to live and work in the UK removed or restricted. Following the EU referendum...

Implications of Brexit: process and timescale

Employers must now plan for the consequences of the EU referendum decision. The uncertainty is likely to impact economically but for HR and HR legal the questions are what is likely to change and when? To start the process the UK Government issues a...

Gender Pay Gap Reporting and the Diversity Agenda Webinar - Wednesday 27 April 2016

Fox Williams partners  Audrey Williams  and Jane Mann , with Aon  colleagues Andrew  MacLeod  and Jackie Waller , provide an update on the Government’s  draft  regulations for mandatory gender pay gap reporting and...

Gender Pay Gap Reporting Webinar - Wednesday 24 February 2016

Fox Williams partner Audrey Williams and Aon  associate partner Andrew MacLeod  discuss their views and perspectives on the Government’s draft regulations for mandatory gender pay gap reporting. The Webinar was chaired by HRLaw ...

Gender Pay Reporting, New Obligations and issues for Employers

Why, what, where, when? But the real question now is how? We now have the draft Regulations from Government detailing what employers will need to do in order to comply with new obligations to publish gender pay gaps in their organisations. On 12...

Gender Pay Reporting: next steps and more detail

The Government issued today more details in the form of a second consultation on how and when large employers (250 or more employees) must report on their Gender Pay Gap publicly. The reporting will be mandatory and we will be responding on behalf of clients...

Bonuses; Traps for the unwary

With bonus season upon us again it is timely to remind ourselves of some of the more tricky issues that should be considered before announcements are made.  Of course the starting point is always to be familiar with the rules of your scheme and clear...

Can a settlement agreement waive claims of fraud?

As all HR practitioners know, the key feature of a settlement agreement is that the employee waives the right to pursue claims against the employer – usually (but not always) in return for a payment.  The Court has recently considered the...

Point of reference: Top tips when taking or giving references

1.    Generally there is no obligation to provide (or request) a reference  The general rule is that employers are neither required to request a reference for a prospective employee, nor to provide a reference for a former employee....

Fox Williams launches new HR Law Training programme for HR teams

The employment team at City solicitors Fox Williams has launched a new service for HR professionals, managers and in-house legal teams who wish to develop and test their practical employment law related knowledge and skills in a safe environment, in...

High Court decision brings cautious optimism for data controllers

A recent decision of the High Court has highlighted the difference in approach taken by the Court and the ICO in respect of compliance with subject access requests. The Data Protection Act 1998 gives individuals the right to request that data controllers...

We have moved

We are now located at our new office at 10 Finsbury Square, just a few minutes’ walk from our previous location in Dominion Street. 10 Finsbury Square is a new, environmentally friendly building, well positioned for our clients and with excellent...

Will there be gender pay reporting from 2016?

The Government has just issued its Consultation paper “Closing the Gender Pay Gap”, in which it outlines plans to implement Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010. This provision has lain dormant for 5 years. The new provisions will require...

Immigration: Control in a crisis

HR Law looks at recent and expected immigration changes, and their context, and offers some top tips for employers on staying ahead. Ports, airports and rail terminals geared up for the busiest travel weekend of the year expecting immigration troubles....

New remuneration rules - are you caught?

On 24 June 2015 the PRA and FCA issued the “Strengthening the Alignment of Risk and Reward: New Remuneration Rules”.  The new rules apply to Banks, Building Societies and all PRA-regulated investment firms i.e. the same businesses as...

Directors' duties and responsibilities

In the latest instalment of our “need to know” guide for employers, we summarise the complex area of directors duties, including: analysis of the types of individuals who owe the duties; what the duties entail; the liability which directors can...

How public does a 'public interest disclosure' need to be?

The legal background   Whistleblowing legislation is important because it encourages workers to raise important issues such as breaches of legal obligations or health and safety concerns with their employers, without fear of being subjected to a...

New online reporting requirements for share plans

Companies operating employee share plans (whether tax-advantaged or not) and other equity incentive arrangements must take steps to comply with new HMRC online registration and annual reporting requirements by 6 July 2015. Action may be needed...

Shadow directors and de facto directors - do they owe duties of care?

The day to day running of a company or a business is often overseen by a person who has not been formally appointed as a director, and many people believe that unless you have been formally appointed you will not owe the usual directors’ duties to your...

Need to know guide to monitoring employees emails

The vastly increased use of email over the past few decades has transformed the way we communicate at work. This has resulted in the monitoring of emails becoming one of the most common way employers monitor the conduct of their employees. Through storing...

#itsnotfair - Social Media Dismissals

From our own experience in practice, it is clear that the use of social media by employees is becoming more of an issue and employers are also giving more thought as to when social media activity can be used to justify a dismissal.  This is also...

A level playing field?

David Murphy is an employment lawyer at City law firm Fox Williams.  This article first appeared on Reed Global . ​ For the first time parents will be able to take significant amounts of time off work with their partners in the first...

Ask Auntie - TUPE/Collective Redundancies

Dear Auntie It’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with a  TUPE  transfer but this year our company is going to be acquiring a business and we’re expecting 30 employees in York to transfer to us as a result of  TUPE...