Employment and labour
‘Employment and labour is one of the core areas of this firm's practice, and it continues to earn its reputation as a top name for this area.’
Chambers Global, 2012
Our global employment and labour team is highly regarded for its work across all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law around the world. With expertise in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Central Asia, all of our employment lawyers have experience across a broad spectrum of work.
We have a diverse client base of in-house lawyers and HR managers, including senior executives, charities, world-wide financial institutions and large corporates from our key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and pharmaceuticals and life sciences. We work for international businesses and coordinate advice throughout different jurisdictions. We aim to provide thoughtful legal expertise and creative thinking to ensure productive workplaces for our clients.
- Substantial transactional and contentious experience; we have significant employment and labour litigation experience and have had regular exposure to matters ranging from sensitive severance issues and boardroom disputes through to issues of corporate governance and more standard disciplinary and grievance issues. Our transactional experience includes business transfers and cross-border mergers and acquisitions.
- Representation of management in trade union disputes and negotiations including labour board and arbitration advocacy, judicial review applications to higher courts, collective bargaining negotiations and strategic advice pertaining to all of these.
- Advocacy before the courts and various employment and human rights tribunals with respect to workplace disputes, dismissals, health and safety issues, pay equity and a variety of other workplace issues.
- The benefit of working with a full-service international legal practice; We offer one of the largest networks of international employment specialists. As well as our cross border expertise we can draw upon the expertise of our specialist lawyers in corporate, litigation and dispute resolution, tax, and other practice areas to provide a complete offering to all of our clients.
- Practical commercial advice; by understanding our clients’ particular industry needs and strategy and culture we aim to assist them in achieving their commercial objectives.
Our areas of work include:
- recruitment issues
- contracts of employment
- employment policies (ranging from performance, sickness and misconduct procedures, maternity and parental leave schemes to internet and email policies)
- boardroom disputes and severance claims (including team moves and post termination restrictions)
- advice on non-solicitation and non competition agreements
- advising on achieving diversity in the workplace and at board level
- alternative dispute resolution including arbitration
- corporate reorganisations and restructuring (including harmonisation of terms, redundancies and dismissals)
- privacy laws and data protection
- employment litigation (including all areas of discrimination and breach of contract claims in all courts and tribunals)
- executive remuneration and corporate governance
- general employment issues (including labour and employment standards and general contractual issues)
- international mobility including dual contracts and international secondments
- collective issues, trade union and other industrial and labour relations issues
- health and safety in the workplace
Our recent work:
- Advising a leading pharmaceutical company on the employment aspects of a 12 to 18 month phased transfer of employees, pursuant to a transfer of undertakings. This project involved the co-ordination of advice across 12 jurisdictions including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Poland, Finland, Canada, Australia and Mexico.
- Advising HSBC on projects to introduce standardised employment documentation for its 50 most senior global executives and its highly valued international managers. These projects involved the co-ordination of advice across over 25 jurisdictions including the UK, Hong Kong, Brazil, Canada and Australia.
- Advising QIAGEN on a European redundancy exercise and reorganisation affecting employees in Germany, France, Italy, UK and Switzerland.
- Advising Stena Line on employment law issues in the acquisition of several Baltic Sea routes from Scandlines.
- Advising Wüstenrot & Württembergische on post merger integration of the employees of Allianz Dresdner Bauspar into Wüstenrot Bausparkasse, including on the standardisation of working conditions.
- Representing a Canadian bank before the Federal Court of Appeal, which confirmed an arbitrator’s decision that an employer does not have the obligation to relocate an incompetent employee to another position.
- Advising one of Canada’s largest integrated oil and gas companies in a labour arbitration case where the union contested the validity of Shell’s drug and alcohol policy under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The case constituted an important development in this area of law as it clearly recognises the right of an employer to carry out systematic drug and alcohol testing of applicants for safety-sensitive positions.
- Advising entities such as Chaucer, HSBC Insurance Brokers and Enstar on restrictive covenant and team poaching issues in the UK.
- Advising a major state owned enterprise in South Africa about the solution of its dispute with the dismissed Chief Executive Officer of one of its subsidiary companies, liasing not only with the Board but also at Ministerial level.
- Advising a national food manufacturer in South Africa on numerous matters including the employment law consequences of an adverse finding by the Competition Tribunal and the nature of the relationship with its outsourced drivers.
- One of the partners in the South Africa office was appointed as chairperson in an internal disciplinary matter in respect of a senior employee of the SA Parliament.
- Advising Bechtel, a global construction and engineering company with 53,000 employees, on employment and industrial relations issues on major projects in Australia including aspects of the US$20 billion Australia Pacific LNG Project, US$18.5 billion Gladstone LNG Project, US$20.5 billion Queensland Curtis LNG Project and A$29 billion Wheatstone LNG Project.
- In the wake of their global merger, provided ongoing advice to HP and EDS in Australia on the bringing together of two large workforces. As the trends to outsourcing and insourcing of IT services continue, we advise on consolidation of employment terms and conditions.
- Advising ASX-listed retailer, David Jones, in relation to its recent high profile sexual harassment matter.