Our team includes an advocacy unit, who provide a cost-effective “start to finish” service in Tribunal litigation. We also have strong links with renowned Chambers, allowing us to ensure you have the right representation for each case.
How can Capsticks help?
- Advice on employee relations processes
We advise on the full range of employee relations issues, such as misconduct (including those where there is police, counter fraud or regulator involvement), breakdowns in working relationships, ill health capability and performance management.
We also provide “best practice” training for HR and managers on how to manage internal processes, investigate concerns, prepare a case for hearing and conduct meetings.
For our NHS clients, we have a particularly strong reputation in advising clients on conduct and capability processes involving doctors and dentists and we have acted in many of the key cases in this area.
- Workplace diversity and inclusion
We work with clients to take a pro-active approach to diversity and inclusion, offering thought leadership and sharing best practice across our sectors, and assist clients in responding to any challenges that may arise. We create and review HR policies to ensure that they are Equality Act compliant and to encourage the recruitment, promotion and retention of those with a protected characteristic. We also advise regularly upon on equality impact assessments, how to reduce the gender pay gap and options available to use positive action to increase the diversity of workforces.
Our work with public sector clients means that we have significant experience of supporting, advising and training clients on the legal and practical issues that arise in respect of whistleblowing. We have supported clients in the development and implementation of programmes to encourage staff to ‘speak up’ and embed a ‘speak up’ culture.
We have handled many complex whistleblowing cases. Our experience is not limited to supporting clients with the internal management of issues that arise and Employment Tribunal (ET) proceedings:. we also support them on wider issues which arise, such as reputation management in the ET and more widely, including public statements and debate online, in the press and even in Parliament.
- Issues relating to pay and benefits
We advise clients on the many differing contractual arrangements that they have with staff (such as nationally agreed terms, agency and bank workers, volunteers, self-employed individuals and those under personal services companies) to ensure that they are consistent with developments in case law, legislation and HMRC guidance.
Nationally, we advise NHS Employers (as the appointed negotiating body for the national terms and conditions that apply across the NHS workforce) on negotiating strategies and also on draft terms and conditions themselves. We can also draw from this work to assist clients in other sectors who have large workforces subject to nationally-agreed terms.
There are times when, irrespective of how an employee relations issue has been handled, it can result in an Employment Tribunal claim. Claims can be time-consuming and involve significant financial exposure. They can also impact on your relationships with stakeholders and your organisation’s future public sector tenders.
We have a superb track record defending claims from the straightforward to the very complex, securing early withdrawals and costs at levels above national averages, protecting your resources and discouraging unmeritorious claims from proceeding. We have developed a bespoke Employment Tribunal case management system, which allows us to manage claims efficiently to a high standard, avoid duplication of work and ensure value for money.
We have particular expertise of large-scale multi-claimant cases, which we are able to run efficiently and effectively.
- Volume litigation and equal pay
We have extensive experience of volume litigation and in particular equal pay. Several members of our current team were heavily involved in the national NHS equal pay litigation following the introduction of Agenda for Change. This included participating in the national steering group and acting in the leading case of Emmanuel v City and Hackney PCT.
In other areas, the team has acted on behalf of clients in multi-party claims, including challenges to job matching outcomes, abatement policies and annual leave in light of the Bear Scotland decision.
- TUPE and organisational change
TUPE can be complex and difficult disputes can arise. We have a bespoke TUPE service delivered by lawyers who are immersed in this work within our sectors and are able to support you with every aspect of your transfer. In negotiating a way through with other parties we are always alive to the sensitivities involved, including retaining staff engagement and maintaining strong relationships with key stakeholders.
We understand that organisational change (whether it be by way of internal restructures, outsourcing or service redesign) is often prompted by financial challenges and constraints. We advise on matters where difficult decisions have to be made and which have a significant impact on wider industrial relations and staff morale.
- Collaborative working
Many of our clients increasingly look to work collaboratively with other organisations to improve service delivery and achieve efficiencies. We therefore regularly advise on the implementation of shared services and collaborative working arrangements. The majority of these changes involve careful negotiations with trade unions and some of the changes have a significant political and reputational dimensions.
- HR policy and contract reviews
We regularly review the full range of HR policies (including sickness, capability, disciplinary, performance management and grievance) to ensure they reflect not only current legislation and best practice, but any sector-specific issues. We draft and review all types of employment-related contracts, from contractor agreements and bank arrangements to Director and Non-Executive Director contracts. Again, our vast sector experience ensures that contracts we review reflect sector-specific issues in addition to best practice and the law.
- Workplace investigations
We have particular expertise in conducting workplace investigations and preparing reports on very complex and sensitive issues. Our expertise ensures our client and the individuals involved have confidence in the process as the matter is being investigated by a party that is external and therefore ‘independent’, and by someone who had extensive experience of workplace disputes within numerous organisations across a variety of sectors.
In certain cases, it may be advisable for any investigation and subsequent report to be kept, and to remain, completely confidential. Confidentiality can be preserved through legal professional privilege in circumstances where a lawyer led investigation is undertaken for the purposes of providing legal advice.